If you’ve ever watched “Tangled” you’ve heard the unlikely hero’s voice saying “This.. is the story of how I died.” as the camera pans in on an idyllic setting in a lovely forrest. This post is like that statement for me. This is the story of how my dream died. Or rather, was reborn.
Tragically enough, I had this entire post written and it has magically (and did I mention tragically) vanished from my laptop. This, along with the fact that my right hand is still waking up (there are few sensations I dislike more than that awful tingly numbness) has made it even more challenging to write this. This is a bit of a humble pie post for me, so I initially took it’s disappearance as God’s apparent will, but here I am, paying dues to readers.
I’m just kidding. It’s a good post! (I think.)
Let’s start with a disclaimer, since it’s been a while since we’ve had one of those. I am more than aware of Proverbs 19:21, which basically says “You can plan all you want, but God’s still God.” I know that this post could become completely irrelevant within days, weeks, months, years. Whatever. You have to do stuff in between God radically revolutionizing your life right? Haha. No, really. I’m not trying to be flippant, just realistic. Regardless of the fact that this plan may never come to fruition, I still think this is the direction God has me pointed for right now.
What am I talking about, right? Don’t panic, I’ve already pierced my nose and lived in Africa, so there are only a few more rash decisions left in me. Let me explain:
I hated math class. Hate actually isn’t even a strong enough term. I abhorred math. I detested it. I don’t hate math teachers, and for some joke of a reason, God gave me a multitude of math-loving friends, and I don’t hate them either. I’ve hated math since I was a girl and couldn’t master my “9 times tables.” I have understood exactly two math lessons, and by understood I mean, my teacher taught and I was able to immediately practice. Long division in fourth grade (thank you, Mrs. Townley), and order of operations in sixth grade, at least until Mrs. Boepple told me that PEMDAS was a scam in the eighth grade. Then I just quit altogether. Every other math class I hated sitting there, feeling dejectedly dense as my classmates married numbers and letters together effortlessly. More than that, I hate math on philosophical principle. There is little in life that is black and white, so why should my intelligence be judged on my ability to perform in greyscale? Ironically, most of my math-loving friends love math for that very reason: there is always a definite answer. It’s a miracle I passed math at all. Actually my miracle came in the form of my teacher in grade eleven, Mr. Veldkamp, but that’s beside the point. Before my miracle, I still sat through a lot of horrible math classes, which more became my time of personal reflection, where I would ponder along the lines of “math doesn’t matter so what does?” And there, my friends, came about my 15-year-old-self’s life plan.
I hated math, but I love education. I believe in the power of education.
However, it became apparent to me that for every student out there hating math, there is another loving it. And when the math-hater sits in and loves English, the math-lover is probably withholding from pulling her hair out. And then there are a fair amount of students who just hate organized education or standardized testing: not every mind can conform to the same system. This became my passion, but not only did I want to correct the education system, I wanted to expand it until every child, big, little, rich, and poor, had equal opportunities in education.
You can say I was an idealist, a visionary, or I was just a teenager who hadn’t met the real world yet, but who cares? I was 15, and the idea stuck with me for a few days. Somewhere along the path of my excitedly relaying this to my parents and maybe a few others, I decided that this was what I wanted to do with my life. An honourable notion. And all would have continued had I never thrown a party in grade twelve.
Once my inner party planner bit, my whole “save-global-education” plan started to become increasingly fuzzy. When exactly had I decided that was IT for me? As I fell deeper and deeper in love with watching people come together and creating seamless environments for them to do so in, I started to second guess my whole education scheme. Let’s be real though, how shallow is it to turn down global education reform for party planning? So I passed planning off as a fad and stayed the course.
At the end of my first semester in university I started to have more serious doubts. I was 18, working a lot, paying bills. My adult life had finally snuck up on me (albeit my being an old soul since birth) and what was I chasing? And why? I think this was when I first realized that the education thing really was just some class-A math dodging, but I was in too deep to admit to myself, or to anyone else, for that matter. I was scared. I had no back up plan. I started to realize that I didn’t know myself as well as I thought I had, let alone what I wanted out of life.
A life working towards global education reform would be hard. It would mean long hours and loads of stress, but the potential of success could put my name in lights. I remember sitting in a Global Leadership Summit and thinking to myself, “if I play this right, they could be interviewing me one day!” Who doesn’t have those thoughts from time to time? We all want to believe that the world might think we’re something special, right? Before coming to the ultimate conclusion about my little save the day plan, I went through a few stages of denial; in fact, I thought I would be selfish to let go of it. How could I? There are uneducated children everywhere who need a voice! It wasn’t until a lot of other thinking happened that I realized I was being selfish to hold onto it. Not only that, I hadn’t really factored God into my plans. I was a one-woman show, and as such, all my planning had been innately and inherently wrong.
I am prideful. It’s my greatest sin in the sense that I commit it day in and day out. I constantly have to remind myself of humility, and I’m consistently fighting arrogance. I didn’t want to have to admit to everyone that education reform was no longer the path of choice for me. I didn’t want people to think I was a foolish teenager who over reached. I definitely didn’t want people to think I was too scared to go to bat over something I cared about. I didn’t want to write this post, explaining what changed. I don’t like telling you that I was wrong.
Let me tell you something though, when I finally let go of this whole thing, I felt a huge burden lifting. I felt allowed to be 18 again. I felt young and free for the first time in my life. My whole childhood I’ve been.. so mature, and so old. I don’t regret that, nor do I deny my personality.. But it felt amazing to just feel like a normal teenager, instead of trying to change the world over night. Man that’s a lot of responsibility to take on as a 15 year old, haha. With my returning to my 18 years though, I turned 19, and suddenly my 20s were looming in front of me, and with my life plan tossed over board for all intents and purposes, it was time to reinvent myself.
I’ll skip over the gory details of my endless “who am I” sessions in the last three months, but I will let you know where I’m at. A tentative bucket list to accomplish before I turn 30 looks a lot like this:
One) Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
Two) Masters in Christian Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas.
Three) Setting foot on a mountain on every continent.
Four) Seeing John Mayer live.
Five) Get my tattoo finally.
So, now you’re up to speed on “Life With Maggie.” Hope that felt worth reading haha, it was a pretty personal post with no widespread message… But I needed to write that, more for myself than anything. Thanks for loving and supporting me, and lending me your ear.
much love & many blessings,