“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
This is a question you are asked from a very young age- one that many people still don't have the answer to- even 80 year olds I worked with at a senior fitness center joked they were still deciding.
I think that the New Year has got me thinking on this more. A new year that brings changes for our family once again (the hubs was chosen for a scholarship to complete a master’s degree starting in the fall.)
Overall in our society- or at least among my friends and acquaintances, there is this need or desire to know everything, to focus on everything. To show that you can be everything. I felt this way once too, especially at the end of undergrad and grad school, trying to make a decision on what to ‘do’ with my life. Sometimes I still do feel this way. In a society filled with litigation you can be made to feel that you need a piece of paper proving your knowledge on something. You need to be certified or it doesn't count.
When on a whim I applied for a job in Alaska, I met the man who changed my perspective on life, at the end of graduate school. I went from finding jobs, to finding jobs near him, to waiting for a deployment to end. We got married and moved to Alaska for 3 months, then Arizona for 6-12 months (ended up being 11). In these moves I changed my way of thinking. My new priority was my family. Now don’t take me for someone who abandoned a passion and education of 11 years. I was still passionate about my schooling and career but knew I could find ways to satisfy myself in addition to or aside from my career. In Arizona I obtained my yoga teacher certification through a fitness certification program. This was enough to teach a class at a community center and I loved it! I was able to take yoga and combine it with my knowledge of the human body and rehab from being an athletic trainer. This 8-week course inspired me to one day pursue an actual yoga alliance teacher certification.
Fast forward to the next move, Virginia. I was missing work and there was a good chance we would be in the same location for 3 years. I was able to find a part time job (important to me since we had just gotten Odin) at an amazing public charter school. It was truly like working at a junior college. My colleague was also amazing. Fast forward a few months, I’m pregnant. Fast forward about a year, now with a newborn, we are moving to Maryland, just far enough away to be about an hour commute. With the last move I decided to retire. I knew that my new calling was to be at home with my family, to raise my child. I was not ready to let him go to daycare and thankfully our family does not have to make the sacrifice or choice that many families do.
Fast forward to today. Motherhood and my choice to stay home have changed my passions, my thoughts, and my path.
I am still passionate about athletic training, however I left the field after working at an amazing school with an amazing co-worker. I am not sure I could top my last experience. Why end on a bad note when you can end on a good memory? The profession is going to be changing and I am so thankful for all the opportunities it gave me. (Had it not been for athletic training and applying for a job in Alaska I would probably have not met my husband.) The knowledge I have from my schooling and experiences will never leave me.
What is my path now? Now I am focusing on what my life revolves around- natural living, motherhood, birth, babywearing, breastfeeding. I know that my path will continue to grow and evolve and I am thankful for that but I am so excited about where that leads me now!
Where do I go from here? Remember the do everything, know everything feeling? That’s started to come back up again, but then reality checks you. To develop a successful business in the birth worker field you need to set up a community and build references, something that is hard to do if you are moving around all the time; or if you are gone for 3 year gaps. This might not happen for a while with the hub’s new job, but I plan life that way. If you stay, great; but plan to be leaving. Certifications come at a cost. Part of the reason I retired as an athletic trainer was the cost of maintaining state certifications, national certification and continuing education credits. With certifications ranging from $300-$800 on average (for a 4 day course) it is hard to justify taking courses when there is no immediate business return on investment.
I have decided to focus on what I’m passionate about- what brings me joy. If I wrote down the main areas they would be: babywearing, natural birth/breastfeeding, and photography. I would also include my passion for helping others- I am starting this year to branch out and help natural health professionals and birth workers develop and design their websites.
Babywearing- my goal is to become a certified babywearing consultant. This course will give me the background to help families with their babywearing goals. The main reason I want to take this class is to learn how to best teach babywearing. Just because you wear and have watched some YouTube videos doesn't mean you can teach. Right now CBWS is the gold standard on babywearing education and consultant training. This could be an easy return on investment by offering $20 consultations to local babywearing mamas and offering to military units.
I think I would also like to become involved with a babywearing group- although I don't know if I want to become a VBE (babywearing educator, BWI credential). Maybe. BWI would be a good resource to stay connected and make new acquaintances with multiple moves. Although there is just something that is holding me back on this for right now, something I cannot quite put my finger on.
Natural birth/breastfeeding- this is a long-term goal for me. Perhaps one day when we are retired and my kids are older and own their own I can become a doula and help women with their goals. Until then I know many amazing birth workers- I refer people and I network. I research and inform. I share my passion and knowledge. I believe that education is crucial and that we need to work on bringing the education on what is physiologically, biologically normal back to mainstream.
Photography- I love taking pictures and looking back on my pictures. I would love to incorporate my other passions of birth, breastfeeding, and babywearing with my passion for photography. One day I would love to offer sessions to Soldiers and their families who cannot afford professional quality photographs. If I can pay for some continuing education courses and some equipment, my time is free. I hope to never have cost be a reason someone does not have memories captured. Sometimes at the end all you have is memories and photographs.
Right now I am practicing. I am currently doing a project 365 and working through a few manuals to improve my skills. I would like to take a few courses and perhaps reach out and do some breakout sessions with local photographers. Learn as much as I can, develop my own style and point of view.
I am also being more diligent on my family scrapbooks and my goal (yet again this year) is to make our family scrapbooks (digitally) and have them printed. I have a system in place for this and just need to commit the time to making it happen. I also need to archive my childhood, a longer term goal.
2016 is going to be a good year. I turn 30 this year and I am happy and grateful for where life has taken me thus far. I am looking forward to the next 30 years- for the adventures with my husband and family, for my personal growth and for the joy to be held.