She thought they should give Germany a fair shot. But, still playing the dutiful girlfriend role, she swallowed that opinion and hightailed it to Denver. Upon arrival, her boyfriend decided that eight years was enough. The relationship was over.

Now what was she going to do? She was 29, single and aimless. Talk to your friends and you'll hear similar stories—they move their life around for a boyfriend or a husband, and after the breakup they find themselves at a loss. This other person had given their life direction and purpose, so they didn't have to ask themselves too many questions about what their strengths were, what did they want to do with their life, what was their destiny? But now, with that person out of her life, those questions crescendoed until she couldn't think about anything else.

Anna sat herself down and forced herself to ask all those destiny, purpose and "What should I do with my life?" questions.

And then a false start. Having racked her brains for something to latch onto and coming up empty, she took another temping job, this one on the TV show Cops. She was quickly promoted to an onsite producer, yet almost immediately she knew she'd made a mistake. The job had superficial trappings of glamour—this was television, after all—but, moment to moment, it grated on her. Some people get a jolt of energy from filming reality shows. They love the rawness, newness and unpredictability of it; in the language of the Strong Life test, they are Pioneers. But Anna didn't. She saw herself as a voyeur of Denver's underbelly, someone who was profiting from her subjects' suffering. When she filmed a person who was arrested for DUI, he or she was really arrested. When she captured a person being carted away to jail, he was really being carted away. Was this where her life was meant to end up? Was this why she had worked for her degree, why she had defied the advice of her parents and followed a man around the world? Her instinctive answer was no, so with no clear alternative in mind, she quit.

It was while she was weighing her future, and fending off anxious inquiries from her mom that Anna took a New Year's trip to visit her sister in Chicago. And there, at 2 a.m. on New Year's Day, she met the man who would become her husband. David was in sales for his family's printing business and was about to relocate to Los Angeles. By the time he was due to go, he and Anna were in a serious relationship, both sure they had found a life partner in the other. So, with a here-we-go-again feeling, Anna followed her man to a new city where she knew no one, had no leads, no contacts and no idea of what to do.

Back to the destiny, purpose, and "What should I do with my life?" questions. Sitting around the apartment they'd rented, she dredged through her life trying to find something, anything that might give her a clue about how to bring focus to her willingness to work hard. All she could come up with was that she was an inveterate clipper. A confessed "information junkie," she would clip articles from any publication she happened to be reading (this was pre-Internet) and stack them in file folders for, well, who knows what they were for? She just liked having information at her fingertips.


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