Choose Well.

I sell commercial real estate.

At least that’s what I thought I saw when I drove past a sign earlier this evening on my way home from work.

There was a contact name and phone number, and while I couldn’t make out the last name as I passed by, the first name was “Lauren” and the last name was something short — and started with a D.

I instantly did a mental do-over of my life. If I was really that name on the sign, then I:

Probably wouldn’t have majored in advertising.

Definitely wouldn’t have gotten my master’s degree in advertising, either.

Likely wouldn’t have interned twice in a corporate marketing department, nor interned at an ad agency.

Wouldn’t have been lured into the world of racing as part of my job, wouldn’t have moved to Connecticut for a stint in sports marketing, and probably would never have lived in Redondo Beach (since I moved there at one time to be closer to work).

Since I lived in Redondo Beach, I would never have started shopping for condos in Palos Verdes, which has since led to a non-stop love affair with the peninsula and its little mini-climates.

I definitely wouldn’t have met the people I’ve met over the years, and probably wouldn’t have dated the guys I dated, either, since they were in large part connected to my life inside an ad agency.

On the other hand, I assume I would still have the same hobbies — I just don’t know how much time I’d have to write, to play and create music or to take classes in screenwriting, playwriting or dabble in wine education.

As quickly as I ran through the scenes of how different my life would be if I was in any other profession than the one I’m in, I stopped and snapped back to reality. Nothing really seems to fit quite like advertising does for me — regardless of whether I’m at a full-service shop or a smaller, more focused agency.

I can’t fathom knowing all the rules and regulations surrounding commercial real estate, and I don’t know that I’ll ever want to learn them.

I can’t imagine the paperwork that I’d need to know inside and out.

I can’t picture myself showcasing buildings and being in a decidedly uncreative field.

Fortunately, there are others who can. And I was relieved that I don’t ever have to be one of them if I don’t want to be.

Tonight, for as much as life can and has changed in the last 15 years, I’m thankful to still enjoy the career that I picked when I was 20 and I’m thankful that I can see myself staying in it in some capacity or another for another 20 years. I’m grateful for every step of the journey that I’ve been on, including every misstep along the way, because it’s all led me here to this day where I was reminded that I chose well. I always hoped that I would.

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