Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How a pink slip, a video game, and a little bit of luck led me back to horses

Life works in mysterious, amazing ways.    I had given up horses after my favorite horse, Royal Edition, passed away.  I felt the guilt of not being there (I was living elsewhere at the time), and I felt like it was my fault.   I felt like it was time to move on in life.  

And so I did.   I got older, went to college, graduated, got my first teaching job.  I hadn't really thought about horses at all.   I had the "grown up" life to live.  

But life does work in mysterious ways.  

Three years after I got my first teaching job, I was let go due to overstaffing.  It was not because of my performance; we just had too many teachers and not enough students.  I thought my life was over, and that this was the worst thing that could ever happen to me.   I loved teaching at that school, and I still cherish the memories I made there.   I was completely devastated when I had to leave.  

My first year at my new teaching job was rough; I didn't have my own classroom and had to travel on a cart to use someone else's room each period.  I had an "office" which was really a windowless closet on the second floor.   I wondered why I was there.  Why I had to leave my dream teaching job.   I wondered when it would get better.  

One day as I was walking through the guidance office, I noticed a quote on the wall.  It read, "obstacles are opportunities in disguise."   I kept this as my motto, and kept telling myself that there was a reason why I was here.  

There was a reason, and I promise it leads to horses.  Bear with me!

For Christmas that year, I received a copy of the Sims 3 Pets.   I remember loading it up on my computer for the first time, and adding a horse to my household (of course, who wouldn't).   But something just stopped me in my tracks.   The sound of the horses in the game-the sound of hoofbeats and tack that jangles when you place it on the horse.   The sighs and snorts and all of those familiar sounds that I hadn't heard in so long were so accurate on this game that I literally sat there and cried for about thirty minutes.  Yep, a grown adult crying over a video game.   I'm not even ashamed.

But still, I figured that my time was up.  I mean, a horse wasn't going to fit in my backyard.   But I couldn't shake it.   I felt like there was a part of me missing, and I needed to get it back.  

And on January the 5th, 2014 I sent out a tweet.

I had asked if anyone knew where I could ride, and one of my students was quick to respond. She recommended the LEC.  when I checked the map location, I discovered that it was just a few minutes from my work.  If you all know me you know I don't like to drive to places I don't know.  This small distance from a familiar location seemed manageable.   And so that day I sent an email to schedule a lesson.  

And my life has never been better.

If it weren't for me losing my job, I would not have been teaching at a new location that is close to the barn, which means I wouldn't have felt comfortable driving there that first lesson.  If it weren't for my new job and these new students, one of them would not have recommended the LEC.  If it weren't for the video game, I never would have heard all of those familiar sounds that drove me back to horses quicker than I ever had imagined.

So why do I tell you this?   Sometimes, these obstacles in front of us seem so insurmountable that we are not sure how we will move on.  We focus on the difficulties that lie in front of us.  We focus on the sadness and pain.  

but life has an incredible way of working out, and will surprise you when you need it the most.