This time last year I had just switched jobs. I had left a company that I loved after almost five years due to a hostile environment (to say the least). I had just started dating this guy that was really first. As they all are. He was the first guy that I had ever dated in my adult life that actually gave me flowers. I thought romance was dead until that moment. We got drunk and did karaoke. Later that same month we also took a day trip to a theme park. It was the first time I had done anything like that with a guy I was seeing. Now, to most people this might seem insignificant, but to me it was a step up in my dating world. This was also around the time which I got my two beautiful baby kittens. Such a wonderful month.

Fast forward to winter and I’m in total hell at work. This is around the time I realized that the company I had came to work for was not as glamorous as it seemed. I had a boss who was lackadaisical in all aspects of her job except for passing the blame onto others. That she was 100 percent efficient at. Moving into the new year the guy I had been seeing (same one from my birthday) starts flaking out. Mind you at this point we had been seeing each other for four months, when we started setting up plans with a friend of mine and his partner of the time. Gets down to the week of new year and the guy I’m seeing decides he doesn’t want to go; he can’t afford to split the hotel four ways. I was understanding at this point because we all go through those times where we almost can’t even afford to breath. So I offered to front him his side of the hotel and he can pay me back. He was not having it. We decided to just stay in and spend the new year together. The day of new year’s eve I get off work to receive a novel of a text from him; gist of the message was he wasn’t coming, I was a great person but he didn’t want to date anymore. Happy New Year, Paige.

By the start of spring I’m in a whole new deeper layer of hell that I’m not so sure the devil himself knew existed at work. I was the only manager who had been there since the store opened in the fall that was still there. My boss left, and all my other colleagues, and a few people from the salon and an arch expert had as well within the span of a few short weeks. The only two other people I had by my side in management was the amazing salon manager and an associate who had just been promoted to part-time manager during this whole commotion. The sayings of running around like a chicken with your head cut off and the blind leading the blind were both living true statements in my life at this time. We eventually got some new managers; which all but one were great to work with. I just have this to say for anyone who is a manager: don’t lead with fear, lead with passion, humility and a willingness to listen. Listen with the intent to care not with the intent to speak back or belittle. If you lead with fear or just bark orders at people it will cause talent to leave. Which is what ended up happening. I also went through a health scare of my own at this time. Everything came out fine fortunately.

Moving on to summer and I’m on Sanibel Island. After a last minute decision I finally made the jump to do something about my life. Tired of Indiana, tired of feeling stuck in dead end jobs, dating the wrong guys, I made the move. Living with my sister and her boyfriend I found it harder than expected to find a job. Real hard. I was applying for every job known to man with no phone calls, no emails for job interviews. I started to feel like I made a huge mistake. Then came August. I started working part time taking care of fur babies, and got a full time job working on the island. And started dating this guy who lets me be crazy, lets me yell, lets me cry, but who takes care of me. For my birthday he took me out to my first fancy date, ever. We got all gussied up and everything was magical. He even had the house pianist announce it was my birthday and brought out dessert. Again, to most people this is like normal but to me in my poor, pathetic dating career this was special.

And as I close out my year of 25 I close out another chapter of my life. I close out my life in Indiana, my bad luck in dating, and possibly a friendship as well. But sometimes bad crap happens in order to let you see and appreciate the good. A wonderful family, a great community, a good new guy and a new career.