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A Blessing in Disguise

Life is funny. I believe the universe has a sense of humor. The powers that be set up the framework for a good old fashioned practical joke, which, oddly enough, ends up landing us exactly where we need to be...How you ask? What the hell am I talking about? Well, something similar happened to me. A fateful joke. Maybe lesson is the better term. Anyway, the humorous part was that it wasn’t anything cataclysmic. Nothing emotionally devastating, or even really a BIG deal. However, at the time, the change seemed like it was building up to be a daunting obstacle to overcome. The issue? What was it? All it was, was a simple schedule change. That’s it. That small thing, I was convinced was going to cause grave turmoil for my family, ended up sprouting into a blessing in disguise.

I’ll start at the top, as some composers and directors say. For the past six plus years I have been employed with the department of the Navy, working in a shop. In my shop we have personnel that work one of three shifts; days, swings, and graves. Pretty standard for most places. Well, for four years I had been blessed with what I like to call the “Apprentice Immunity”. Which refers to me as a designated apprentice in my shop. Management insisted on apprentices to stay on day shift until schooling was complete. Not going to lie. It was marvelous knowing exactly what time I would be starting and ending work everyday for four years. I watched with blissful ignorance as other guys and gals got forced onto undesirable shifts. As you can probably imagine, my family and I became extremely comfortable with the consistency. We always speculated what would happen if and when, until that fateful day where we no longer had to wonder.

The day the news came out in the form of a simple list with all of our names on it, I saw mine on swing shift, and my heart sank. Again, I had been SO accustomed to the same old spot. So hyper focused on the negative that I could not even begin to see any silver lining whatsoever. But before I could even let myself think positively, I had to break the news to my wife. Let's just say that she in particular was NOT happy about it. What realistically this meant for my family of four was that we would not see each other all week, and there would be only one parent home to care for the kids and other responsibilities that come from being a working parent of two kids. Not to mention that my wife works extremely hard as a 1st grade teacher. And let's face it folks, their job is NOT easy. Exhaustion was going to become her new reality. I felt awful. But I was locked in. And we begrudgingly embraced the new schedule.

Once the sting of the schedule shift decreased a bit, we were able to figure out a decent enough routine. I was able to volunteer in the school where my wife worked, and even had the joy of doing the same in my oldest son’s kindergarten class. Pretty cool! My wife and I even had a nice standing lunch date every Thursday to try and make up for all the dinners I was missing. It was by far perfect, but we were making due. I was even going as far as prepping dinner for the family so that the evening was as simple as possible for my wife after her long arduous days teaching other people’s children. Anyway. I swear I am getting to the point.

The point here after all of this preamble is while we all settled into our routine, I finally realized something about my new work schedule...For the first time in a decade, I had time. Time to do activities I wanted. Explore interests I hadn’t thought about in quite some time, like my story, for instance. One day, I performed my normal routine, finishing everything on my to-do list in an hour. Giving me five hours in the day before I was a slave to the clock once more. At last I could begin the journey to fulfilling a dream I had had since I was a kid.

I began tackling my notes and half-completed manuscript rather quickly. I regained my stance on where I was with my story, made a heading and began walking the path to a completed piece first draft. I started the manuscript again in early November of 2019 and had a completed 1st draft by January 20, 2020. I was completely elated. Thrilled to the point of tears, if I am to be completely honest.

To pile on the wonderfulness of a blessing in disguise. The shift I was on allowed me to not only find time to work on my dream of being an author, but it allowed me to be available during the day where most people who handle this sort of thing (producing a book) are open for business. With that said, any time not being spent volunteering, doing house work, or writing, I was networking. On one of my days in the early-ish morning, I thought of one of my oldest friends, Jeanne. She and I have known each other since pre-school. We of course drifted as friends do when you meet your spouse and have babies. However, we stayed in contact and would talk here and there. We chatted enough for me to know what she did for a living, which happened to be selling books for Usbourne.

I got the bright idea to reach out to Jeanne and ask her if through her job or channels she knew of someone in the book publishing business. Well, turns out she did. A woman by the name of Mary West, founder of the Mary West Network. Her network was for local entrepreneurs to get together and help one another out in various ways. So Mary West was not a publisher per se, but by golly she knew a metric ton of folks, and it turned out one of them was a man named Patrick Snow. Patrick Snow is an internationally best-selling author that just so happens to know his way around the publishing business. Mary set me up with Patrick and the rest was history. With Patrick’s expertise and tutelage, I constructed my team, a designer, an editor, and distributor and published my very first novel on Oct 30th, 2020.

So to sum it up, while traveling through this life try to be receptive to changes. Both small and large. Because you never know what might come about to inspire you. Maybe that little routine shift will change your perspective enough for you to see an opportunity to uplift your life. I now, after that last year, do my best to look hard at the things that at first seem to be an irritation or inconvenience. I take a step back to ask myself, is this issue a true blue problem, or is it really just another blessing in disguise?

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