When I was 17 my life ambition was to be a pastry chef. It was my dearest life’s ambition. I even went as far as to apply to the Le Cordoun Bleu school in Scottsdale, AZ. I was accepted and I was so excieted to embark on the path to becoming a famous chef. I wanted to win competitions and maybe even have my own show on the Food Network. I totally ignored the fact that the cost of the 9 month certificate program was nearly $90,000. I was young, idealistic, and had no idea the value of an education. I also didn’t know that there was a community college in St. Paul, MN (200 miles from my home, rather than 1500 miles from my home) that had the same program for a fraction of the cost. In fact, I have since considered getting that certificate. I believe it would cost a grand total of $2000.
It was a month before school started and I had had my drivers license for about a month. My parents had decided that I had obtained enough driving experience to drive to a church function about 30 miles away on my own. My sister and two of our friends from church were on our way to Hoyt Lakes. We made it there just fine, had an uplifting experience, and drove home. After we dropped our friends off I decided to take a different way home. It was more out of a desire to not get back onto the highway for 30 seconds, more than anything. Unfortunately, it was a way that I had never taken before. It was really dark and I took a corner way to fast. What happened next seems almost unbelievable. One of the tires slid on the gravel on the side of the road, the car somehow flew into the air and flipped. It landed on the roof. Luckily a man driving by in his pickup saw the whole thing and called the police. That was definitely lucky, because neither one of us had a cell phone. Unluckily, M was not wearing her seatbelt. There was a slit second where I thought she must be dead. Luckily she was not. Also luckily, her car window was open. Otherwise we would have been trapped in the car. The police and an ambulance arrived on the scene. The guy in the pickup gave me my cell phone so I could call my parents. I can honestly say that it was the worst phone call of my life. I was so hysterical that the police officer had to take the phone because my dad couldn’t understand anything I was saying.
In the days that followed my parents informed me that I would not be moving to Scottsdale when that school year ended. No way could I handle something like that. My dreams as a pastry chef were ruined. No more fame or fortune. No more student debt that I wouldn’t be able to handle.
If you had asked me then, I would have told you that my life was over. I was a fairly dramatic 17-year-old. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I knew I wanted to go to college, so I just kept taking classes and now I’m finally figuring out what I’m doing and where I want to go. Maybe fame and fortune are still within reach. And maybe, just maybe, my dreams will be able to make a difference for someone else.
I can imagine that had I gone to Le Courdon Bleu my life would be a lot like Big Dan’s. Working in a diner, living vicariously through others, and crippled with the knowledge that I could do better. In short, that car accident is possibly the best thing that ever happened to me. Now I’m making my own dreams, walking through life with people I love (and who love me), excited about the future.