All of my life, I had dreamed of being a teacher. My mom was a teacher and counselor, my aunts were teachers, my sister, my sister in law--all teachers. It felt like it was my destiny, or maybe just right where I needed to be. I spent 5 years in the classroom. I had many moments of joy, innumerable hugs from some of the most wonderful students, tons of those "aha! moments'' that teachers live for, lots of praise for my well behaved class and so on. But somehow...It never truly filled my cup. Was it the constant mandatory testing? The emotional/mental/physical energy required to be a teacher? The outdated curriculum that left me unenthused? Or was it something more? To be honest, I wasn't sure but I did know that I wasn't where I was meant to stay.
By my fourth year of teaching, I became quite miserable. I spent many mornings on my way to work in tears or afternoons/evenings crying on my way home. I couldn't shake the feeling that I wanted something more, that I truly needed something more. I felt stuck, like I put all of my eggs in one basket and had none left to put in any of the others. I often thought to myself..."How could this career, that I thought was my destiny, leave me to feel so empty?" or "How could I possibly start over?" I was heartbroken.
Life happened, the way that it often does, and presented me with a chance (more like shouted it at me, TBH) to gather up all my eggs and place them in a different basket (or two.) A chance to start over and to take a leap of faith. My now husband was taking a job across the country and I knew that I wanted to go and be with him, that I was meant to go. Was I sure of what I wanted to do? No. Was I sure of what I didn't want to do? Nope. Was I terrified to move away from everything I knew; family, friends, community, a career? You bet. The two things I did know however, was that I was meant to be with my husband and that I was meant to be doing something different.
My opportunity was here, but where was I even supposed to start looking? I started to think of all the things that I loved doing or being a part of; fitness, health, food, cooking with my husband and for others, crafting, sharing my love of wellness with others, being a helper and teacher, being a part of a community, having a positive impact on those around me. After some reflecting and investigating, I found the International Association of Wellness Professionals. A holistic health and wellness coach training program that would allow me to combine all of my passions into one. I hit the ground running, until I stopped. I started to fill my time with other things--the move and the sense of loneliness that came with it, a new puppy, a wedding to plan, becoming a fitness instructor, taking on different roles at the studio, volunteering to help with tasks before even being asked to, saying yes to things even though I really wanted to say no...not necessarily bad things, some of them were really amazing/life changing things. But ultimately I have come to learn that I was letting my fear of moving forward hold me back from living my purpose.
It started to creep in again, that feeling of being stuck. Although I may have seemed to have it altogether, a loving and kind husband, the most handsome dog, a home, supportive family and friends, I couldn't shake that little voice urging me to do something more. I began to feel more stuck than ever. So, I made a choice to listen to that little voice urging me to do more. I logged back into my IAWP account and I just started. One step forward at a time. I started making boundaries, making myself a priority, feeling the fear of moving forward and doing it anyway. Because I know, in my heart of hearts, it's worth it--I’m worth it.
I'm not going to say finding my new path here has been easy. It hasn't. I've stopped, I've started, and everything in between. It's been hard, lonely, and I've wanted to give up many times and consider myself a full-time dog mom (no judgement if that's your title because let's be honest, I'm quite obsessed with our dog, Goose.) It took me time to get to where I'm at today...and guess what? That's OK. It's ok to fall, to pause, to fail, to be uncertain and to stop and take an honest look at yourself and ask yourself what you want. Because all of that work will get you right where you need to be.
Oftentimes, feelings of fear come up and we tend to let them stop us dead in our tracks. We let them consume us, like I let them consume me. They can hold us back from taking that one step forward that could catapult us into a different lane. Now, don't get me wrong, the feelings of fear and uncertainty of the future are real, but what if you were able to feel that fear and do it anyways? How could your life change?
If any single part of this resonated with you, I would love to hear from you in the comments. I would also love for you to know that you're not alone. Fear can be scary, but it gets less scary when you're able to share how you're feeling with others.