Hi. I’m Jessica.
And though I am a bona fide Georgia Peach, I somehow never developed that trademark Southern drawl (Praise the baby Jesus of verbal communication). I still don’t know if it is my lack of accent or something completely different, but most people think I’m from the Midwest.
However, contrary to anyone guessing my roots are in Chicago or Michigan or anywhere else where it actually snows, I was born in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. My little home used to be a tiny, quaint little town that, at one point in time, was safe enough where, at night, you could leave your front door unlocked and if a kid went missing, they were probably out in the woods, playing – not “out in the woods, raise the missing child posters.
I grew up and substituted high school and all of its teenage angst for playing in the woods.
The woods were way less judgy.
High school was mostly uneventful…other than the storm that blew in right as the valedictorian began to make her speech. A giant gust of wind blew her notes right out of her hand and scattered them all over the football field. Then, as the valedictorian (should that be capitalized?) was racing all over the field trying to collect her speech, everyone was evacuated back into the same building we were all trying, desperately, to leave, because of the impending storm and concerns of electrocution (read: metal bleachers).
We marched back into the cafeteria and then, after the danger had passed, processed back out to the football field to try and graduate – again.
Then? I did the traditional college thing. For some reason, I never really had a “dream school” that I just HAD to go to. As long as I could continue to play basketball, I’d go wherever.
(Oh, right. I played Varsity basketball all through high school…guess I forgot to mention that)
Anyhow, “wherever” ended up being LaGrange College – thanks to a complete and total fluke.
The head coach of the LaGrange Colleges basketball team “discovered” me only because she happened to be early one afternoon during her scouting duties during our end-of-the-year high school tournament, fate allowing her to catch the end of my high school game while waiting for the one she really wanted to see to begin.
I received a letter in the mail soon after, asking me to play basketball for LaGrange. I visited the school with my mom, liked it well enough to say ‘yes’ and off I went that August to start my collegiate career.
(I’m not entirely sure why my coach told me how she “found” me, since, technically, it was like I was sloppy seconds, but I guess she figured honesty was the best policy….?).
Three years later I left LaGrange with a BA in Psychology and more basketball accolades than I will ever feel comfortable mentioning.
(as in, I have boxes upon boxes upon boxes full of basketball award hardware that would fill a small house)
Oh, wait. You’re confused? Three years…not four? Isn’t college four years?
Usually. Except, I got a wild hair one day during my freshman year and decided I wanted to finish college in three years.
I really don’t know why I do things like this to myself. It’s like I thrive on pressure and challenges. The harder, the better. So, now, instead of sitting back and coasting through each semester, I went into overdrive and attended school all year long – including the summer while everyone else was taking a break or going on vacation or doing any multitude of interesting things.
Then, because apparently I hadn’t challenged myself enough, during my senior year, I decided I didn’t want to have to experience – again – the agony of the get-back-into-shape basketball conditioning, so I ran cross-country for my school during the summer and right into the fall when basketball conditioning started.
Let’s just say, as much as cross country kicked my ass, my decision paid off and I was less than winded during those first few hell weeks.
If nothing else, my cross-country experience is notable because it taught me that if you run to a point past your perceived ability for an extended period of time – to the point where you start to feel like you’re going to die if you don’t stop – that you definitely will not die but you will most certainly pee your pants.
After college I didn’t have a job because a person with a BA in Psychology is expected to continue their education somewhere to get an advanced degree.
In my defense, I tried to apply to schools all over the country but when it came time to write the essay on why I was a good match for their school, I didn’t have an answer. I didn’t know if I wanted to be a counselor or a psychiatrist or any of those things. All I knew is that I was supposed to do something and I didn’t know if it was really the right choice for me.
So, instead, after graduation, I moved into an apartment with my then-crazy-boyfriend in a small town called Newnan. It was sort of close to LaGrange, if you consider an hour drive “close.” I’m still not sure why we decided on Newnan, since he still had a year to go in school at LaGrange, but Newnan it was.
This boyfriend always had outrageous ideas and Newnan blossomed into the pet sitting business idea…that actually worked…but only because I spent every waking minute on the business. We eventually had a healthy number of clients and I actually had to go out to a farm and feed horses.
Now, let’s just get this straight: I’ve never cared for or had a horse in my entire life – despite my pleas for a pony every year until I was 12. Yet, crazy-then-boyfriend would tell potential clients that he knew all about horses and birds and reptiles and anything else one could possibly keep as a pet – including a goose (I’m so not even kidding).
Except, the time of day that these pets needed care was while he was in school, which left me – the inexperienced – to do the caring.
I had no idea what I was doing or how to care for any of those animals…so I’d go, do the best I could and pray they didn’t die.
That relationship ended in an explosion a few months later and I walked out without saying goodbye and haven’t seen or spoken to him since.
I do not regret this ending. At all.
Since I still did not have a job, I decided to move in with my dad while I started looking for a reliable form of work.
This was a huge adjustment. I had been living on my own for three years. Now I was back under the proverbial parental roof. Yay.
My job search took on fervor that one would not understand until they’ve lived with their parents. At the age of 21.
In addition to looking for gainful employment, I was also perusing the online dating scene, since most of my high school friends had scattered to the wind and I wasn’t super interested in reviving any kind of old flames.
Seven months after I graduated college and while I was still living with my dad, I met my husband, Tim.
Tim and I had our first blind date, hit it off immediately and have been together since. When you tell the whole story, it almost seems too good to be true. Maybe it is maybe it isn’t but it is wonderful either way.
Tim and I also have an age gap of 13 years, with me being the young one in this relationship. Some people do not understand marriages like this, some do. The gap comes with its own challenges, but so does every relationship, so, we’re not all that different from anyone else.
I did finally find my first job with a test preparation company. I was a manager of things I didn’t fully understand and was only hired because the two men who interviewed me had an entirely different opinion on “experienced.”
I ended up moving in with Tim around the same time I got this job and was driving four hours to and from work each day – two hours there and two hours back. After a year or so, I had had enough of the commute and all of the shenanigans and quit.
Six months later, I found another job closer to our home and stayed with that company (minus one, brief four month hiatus where I tried to write a book, which is chronicled somewhere on my blog, booshy) until Tim was offered a new job with out in Denver, Colorado.
After 27 years in Georgia, I was finally going to get to live somewhere else!
I was ecstatic. As in: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love, love LOVE the mountains like most people love the beach.
Now, after six months (and counting) of living in Colorado, we have learned what a low humidity climate really means (dry everything) and we’re trying to enjoy as much of this beautiful place we can before we have to move again (a known, albeit unfortunate, contingent of Tim’s job). I’m currently trying to figure out if I really have the book writing chops or if I’m just another one of millions who want to be called a “writer” but never quite make it…
Less than a year into this whole Colorado experiment…what happened?!
I GOT KNOCKED UP.
Now, we’ve been in Colorado for a year (as of October 2011) and on top of everything else (which, truthfully, isn’t much), I’m growing a new tiny life…inside of me. This knowledge tends to freak me out daily and come February 2012, this little life form will be on the outside.
God help us all (all being me, mostly).
Oh, wait…did I mention?
(the baby, I mean)
(and five months old at the time of this writing….)