I devoured the book when I was in junior high, read it again in high school, and thought about becoming a nanny a la Jane in college. (Okay, without all the gothic drama and romance.)
Me becoming a nanny is a funny story involving gut reactions and going with the heart.Â I literally have no idea how I got the job I got.Â I suppose I put something somewhere online, but to this day I have no idea where/how.Â Out of the blue I got inquiries from Pennsylvania, D.C., and Arizona.Â I couldnâ€™t visualize myself in PA so that was out of running.Â Communication from Arizona was a little slow, and I was getting antsy, so I took the D.C. offer.Â It was pretty hard to resist a summer there for a history geek like me.Â But even then I couldnâ€™t actually see myself getting off the plane there.
And then Arizona called me.Â I could see myself in Arizona.Â Maybe it was the west calling me back, I donâ€™t know.Â However, I knew I simply had to be there.Â But I was between a rock and a hard place.Â How could I, the people pleaser first-to-say-yes-and-then-to-regret, call D.C. and tell the family I couldnâ€™t do it? I was scared out of my mind and sick to my stomach.Â But I did it.Â I knew I had to be in Arizona.Â And so I landed in Phoenix on a hot day in May, starting a new chapter in my life.
I was there for 100 days.Â At the end I was getting homesick for my friends and the familiarity of college life back in Iowa.Â But I was proud that I had stepped outside my comfort zone.Â And then I took the plunge again, going back to Arizona after I graduated.Â My intent was to nanny for a year, study for the GRE, get into grad school, and become either an amazing editor or a kick ass history professor.Â (My students were going to fall in love with history.) It didnâ€™t turn out like that though.Â Funny how life is like that.
Soon after being back in Arizona anxiety set in.Â I was lonely, not quite happy, and didnâ€™t know what I was going to do with the rest of my life.Â I was a basket case inside, but coped well enough on the outside.Â I missed my friends and my family and wanted to go home, wherever that was.Â But my stepmom told me something big was right around the corner and that I needed to be where I was, that the darkest hour was just before the dawn.Â So I hunkered down and waited.Â And waited.
Fall crept up on the desert and I was doing okay enough.Â I wasnâ€™t so lonely.Â And then a friend asked for my phone number for her brother and I thought, sure why not?Â And then I waited and waited, and nearly forgot about the phone number exchange.Â The something big that was supposed to happen finally did.Â I got a call, went out on a date, and knew in my heart that all along I was right where I was meant to be.Â So much so on our first date I called home from the restaurant restroom to inform my stepmom that I was going to marry the guy.Â I was that sure and had never been surer of a decisionÂ before. We were married by the next fall, and all of a sudden Arizona was home.
My one-year stint in Arizona in preparation for the rest of my life has turned into a decade in the desert. It hasnâ€™t always been easy, but life rarely is.Â There are times I canâ€™t quite believe this is my life.Â Not in a bad way by any means.Â In an I-never-thought-my-life-would-turn-out-like-this sort of way.Â Because 10 years ago when I was listing the pros and cons of D.C. and Arizona I never thought Arizona would lead me here, to love and motherhood.Â I still wonder what my life would have been like had I taken the job in D.C.Â Iâ€™ll never know if I would have made my way back to Arizona in the end, to the life I now have and love.Â I like to think that in the end I would have made my way back home here, maybe on a longer ride.
And that is how Jane Eyre and my gut led me here.