"Hold on tight, we are gonna go really fast."
I've been on a lot of flights in my life, but no flight attendant ever lead to take off with that. Although he might have been cracking a joke, ironically the statement had been ever so true. My life is changing... and fast!
I was thirty, comfortable, and happy... or I was telling myself I was. I had the same job for the past eight and a half years, working for a celebrity who I admire and learned a great deal from, and a radio show that was peaking interest among women everywhere. I lived for Tuesday nights when I'd get on air to interview an oncologist, or a woman who has been fighting for her life, or survived disease under extraordinary circumstance. Soon after turning thirty, I realized there were six other days of the week that I was feeling empty. I thought developing a radio show and writing for countless publications would be the ultimate fulfillment, but I was wrong. The joy I got from the numerous emails and feedback from my articles was absolutely humbling, but at the end of the day I was still spending 8 hours a day in an office feeling as if I wasn't making a difference in anyone's lives. I started to feel like Clark Kent living between his ordinary life and that of his extraordinary alter ego Superman. That being said, job hunting was never on my radar; I loved my work family. I appreciated and respected them for the opportunity they had given me and the many lessons I had been learning along the way.
Frankly to be honest, I wasn't looking for change. I had feared change my whole life, so why would I seek it out by leaving the one thing that had been so stable for so long... my job?!
My dad always said "whatever is meant to be will be." It wasn't until I flew to Chicago to meet an incredible team of people working so hard to help people fighting the same disease I had lost so many to, that I ever thought about leaving what I knew, or the company of people I had grown so close to. On November 8th 2014 I flew halfway across the country for a meeting that I thought would be similar to the many meetings I had with numerous cancer foundations before. I'd talk to them about what they do, grow to admire them, then interview them on my radio show. I was wrong. That three-hour meeting at the office of Imerman Angels in Chicago that day has forever changed my life. I left there inspired, more so than I had ever been in my life. This team of people was connecting cancer patients with cancer survivors everywhere, providing the one thing so many people battling cancer and their caregivers didn't have... SUPPORT. When they called a couple weeks later asking me to join their team, and bring the program out to Los Angeles, I was humbled. I finally understood what my dad meant... and what I would do to be able to tell him he was so very right! The opportunity to be a part of a team who worked so selflessly to help the so many people battling such a devastating disease that I had been so personally affected by, was the light I was looking for the other six days a week. I wanted to be part of Imerman Angels, even if it meant leaving everything that was comfortable to me, my work family, my lifestyle, my routine, it was OK... I knew in my heart that this was a leap of faith that would be so very rewarding.
My father's short but very wise advice of "whatever is meant to be, will be" was being proven correct in all areas of my life. I had spent my entire twenties chasing love. From LA to Chicago to Florida, and everywhere in between, I had traveled and worked hard to meet or date "the one." After a series of geographically undesirable relationships and some local heartbreak my father gave me some more short but sweet advice: "It shouldn't be this hard." He didn't need to explain himself, I knew what he meant. Stay put, stop chasing it, and there shouldn't be any drama. I remember looking at him when he would say that and rolling my eyes -- what I would give to tell him, he was so very right... again. He always said it should be easy, and finally it is easy. I'm sharing my life with someone who makes the simplest moments incredible, who keeps me laughing and smiling, and most importantly makes me feel supported through any change or life decision. Ironically he does the same embarrassing John Travolta Saturday Night Fever dance my dad always did... but hey, I choose to believe that's a sign that my dad completely approves. None the less he was right... love found me. Just a few freeway exits north of where I had always been.
Shortly after accepting the position as Regional Director of Imerman Angels, I told my mom that I had chosen to become a part of this amazing non-profit organization. Like any mother she asked me if I was sure this was the path I wanted to take. Without any hesitation I said yes and explained to her why this was so very important to me. That week she locked in an appointment with our trusted medium, and came back with a message: Dad wants you to do this for you, not for him. I thought about that for days, and came to a conclusion. I wasn't doing this for him. I was doing this because of him, but for me. Because this position and this role in an organization that I so believed in, and could help grow, would give me the ultimate fulfillment. This opportunity to connect with so many people fighting the same battle he did, and giving them support through it, is a way for me to carry on his legacy and share my story.
So as I fly into Chicago tonight to learn the ropes from the inspiring Imerman Angel team at the home base, I'm entering completely unchartered territory but so ready to start this journey. I look forward to this change. I'm humbled by this opportunity. With the amazing support of my family and friends, and remembering my dad's advice along the way, I know I'm ready to thrive!
Touchdown... to this first day of the rest of my life!
If you are a cancer fighter, survivor or caregiver in need of support, please go to www.imermanangles.org