Lesson 44: Everyone goes through a country phase.

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Back when I was a senior at THE Ohio State University, I had an amazing advertising teacher, Dr. Marilyn Roberts. This Texas spitfire taught us much about the business, media planning – and life. Truthfully, most of it proved to be somewhat useless for my copywriting career, but I never wanted to impress a teacher more. She had so much knowledge and passion, and she believed in us – I remember wanting to make her proud. But the two best things she taught us had nothing to do with advertising.

The first I learned to be true right after I graduated and was making multiple 6-hour solitary drives from Cleveland to Chicago, looking for a job and apartment in the Windy City.

“I swear y’all, everybody goes through a country music phase – EVERYBODY,” she told us in her adorable Texas twang.

I swore she was crazy. I hated country music. But as the hours between major pop or rock stations in the car dragged on, there was nothing else to listen to. I grew to like, then love, the sentimental lyrics and catchy tunes of contemporary country. To this day, I search for it eagerly on the dial whenever I’m out of range of NYC’s no-country fly zone.

The second lesson has taken me much longer to embrace. And though I sense it will take a lifetime to learn, I’m finally settling into it.

As we seniors were getting ready to graduate, Dr. Roberts gave us a gift: a framed quote that I have carried from apartment to apartment. It has survived three cities, two relationships, a few frames, at least nine moves, and more blood, sweat and tears than I care to remember.

“Trust the process” is all that it says.

I think I’m finally starting to believe that it’s all in perfect order – even when it’s not anything close to what I think I want.  But oh, how I wish I’d learned it sooner.

Then again – if it’s all in perfect order, NOW is exactly when I’m meant to embrace this idea.

So thank you, Dr. Roberts. I do love country music (you should see me two-step!), and am learning to trust the process, a little more each day. Wherever you are, I hope I’ve done and continue to do you – and myself – proud.

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