Unexpected Crossovers & Sacrifices

Life is full of unexpected turns and crossovers. A phrase I heard some years back that to this day gives me a genuine smile is, “If you want to make God smile, tell Him your plans!” I love that phrase because as humans living in the world, we often forget that God is in control. Whether we do right or wrong, our blessings are always waiting for us. I would have never dreamt that I would come to this “ahhha moment” (as Oprah would say) at one o’clock in the morning relaxing in my living room in Japan, while my fiancé and 3-year-old daughter slept. Reflecting back on the previous 3 years, a significant unexpected crossover happened when I went into labor weeks early while my fiancé was on contract in Turkey and could not get on a plane fast enough, which led me to give birth over Skype. Thank God for technology! I realized in that very moment the life I planned for myself was laughable! Ha!

After Bachelor degrees in both African American Studies and Political Science, along with a Master of Arts Degree in Political and Justice studies, my next step was going to be my first career move. Instead, I am somewhere between three degrees and a stay-at-home mom, or as the immigration officer in Japan said, “a Shufu” (housewife/stay-at-home mom), correcting my occupation box entering Japan- something I could have never fathomed for myself.

For as long as I could remember, my life has always been deeply rooted in reaching specific goals and getting to the destination I dreamt of as a child. To this day, I am still unsure of what that destination was… I just knew it was a space where I was going to feel completely fulfilled. I believe I imagined something along the lines of having my dream career and married with children! I vividly remember the happiness I felt, or thought that I would feel once I had reached that point in my life. I seriously felt as if in that moment the credits would start to roll, like sitting in a theater watching an anticipated movie end. It was not until December of 2013, that I realized I had to walk out of the movie theater and continue being, regardless of reaching the goals of my childhood.

December 2013 was seriously when I realized that there is more to life than “pointless fixtures, Instagram pictures.” Meaning, although I was not in the space that I yearned for as a child, I was in a space I never thought I would be: in Australia. It was not until so many family members, friends, associates exclaimed how they “always wanted to go there” and “how lucky and blessed” I was to go. I soon understood the excitement everyone had once my family and I were swimming in the Great Barrier Reef! The thing is, I was never the child or young adult who aspired to travel, let alone leave America and see the WORLD. Go figure my fiancé’s international basketball career would lead my life down a completely different path!

With all that being said, I think as mothers and spouses we sacrifice a lot to keep our families intact! So, a new phrase that I began to embrace in my life: “The Journey is What Brings Us Happiness, Not the Destination!” I truly understand now that I am to love, encourage and embrace my journey; it is not about the rolling credits.


Arielle Smith