My Dream Life

When I started working at AIG I was pregnant, I had just lost one of my dream jobs, and I had lost a sense of self.  Walking in on the first day I felt insecure not knowing exactly what to expect and not feeling like I was my true self.  I did not know who I was and who I wanted to be.  I never expected to be working at a company like AIG.  Never thought I would tell people I worked in Life and Retirement at an 8 to 5 job.  I was grateful for the opportunity, it was a great job, but it was not what I had planned out for my life.  

I graduated from Pepperdine with a degree in Psychology and a minor in social work.  All through college my dream was to either go into the full-time ministry at my church or to get my Master's in Social Work and eventually work with children who have cancer.  Right out of college I got hired into the full time ministry and at the time I believed that I was living my dream, that I was working the job I would be working the rest of my life.  My husband and I were both leading our Youth and Teen ministries and we loved the impact we were able to make on those around us.  However, a year and a half into our jobs, I had learned that my husband was not completely honest about his schooling and this caused us to lose our jobs.

So here I was, a year into our marriage, pregnant with our first child, and needing to find a new job.  My world flipped upside down and I did not know how to move forward.  I lost all dreams I had for my life.  I no longer had goals of who I wanted to be or what I wanted to do.  I had lost so many hopes, dreams, and expectations for my future and because of this I felt I lost who I was.  I began living day to day instead of planning out my future.  I started to live in the moment, which was a good thing, but I was too afraid to even think about what the future could hold.  This is when I was lead to AIG.

Although AIG was not what I considered my dream job at the time, it was the perfect job for me.  For those of you who read the Bible, there is a scripture that says that God is "able to do immeasurably more that all we ask or imagine."  Working at AIG was immeasurably more than I could have asked God for.  I thought I had my dream job in the ministry, but truth is I did not.  The ministry was amazing and I respect those who are able to serve the church full time and still prioritize their families.  However, I was prioritizing my job over my marriage.  I was not investing in my personal friendships the way I should have been.  We were not spending as much time with our families as we should have been. The little free time we had was spent in front of a TV.  Looking back, this is not the lifestyle I would have wanted to bring my unborn daughter into.  It's almost as though I needed something so drastic to happen in my life in order for me to open my eyes and see where my life was headed.  I needed to refocus my priorities and I needed to live more in the present moment.  

So although I would not have thought so when I got hired, working at AIG was my dream job.  It was the perfect job for me in the time I needed it the most.  During my time at AIG, I was able to reprioritize my marriage.  We were able to spend more time together, we spent less time in front of a TV, we were able to learn more about each other, we created goals together, we learned how to support each other's dreams, and we learned how to pick each other up in our lowest moments.  During my time at AIG, we had our first child.  We fell so in love with our daughter, we were able to learn to prioritize our time with her and we have gotten even closer to our families in the process.  During my time at AIG, we faced financial troubles and victories.  We moved in with my parents for a year and once we moved back out we were able to reestablish our life in a new city.  We built stronger friendships than we had before, friends who can guide us through our marriage and parenting, and friends we can just have fun with.  It is during my time at AIG that I began to dream again.  I realized my dream of becoming a Stay at Home Mom and a Grief Recovery Specialist, and it is because of my husband working at AIG, that we were able to make that dream come true.

It's amazing how losses can occur through the roughest times of our lives, and in the best.  Grief can come through significant life changes and quitting my comfortable job four weeks ago was a change.  I am so very excited for the journey ahead.  Starting my own business is scary and it has not been easy, but I love that I now know who I am, who I want to be, and I am beyond excited to be able to spend my days doing what I love.  Instead of working my dream job, I am trying to focus each day on living my dream life.  Without AIG, I wouldn't have learned this lesson, I wouldn't have met the incredible people that I did, and I wouldn't be living my dream life.

 

Jessica O'Connor