When I was in high school, I knew I wasn’t going to go to college after graduation. On the one hand, I didn’t have the resources to make that happen, and on the other – I didn’t know what I wanted to be…aside from a rich and famous pop star who would never have to wash her own dishes…
I recall having an eye-opening conversation with a man who was delivering Frito chips to the gas station my mother was working at in Sandpoint, Idaho. He had a teaching degree and was delivering chips because the money was better. I didn’t want to be like him. I didn’t want to put that kind of time and effort into something I wasn’t going to use. I wanted to know what I was going to be when I grew up before I went and got the education required to do it. I wanted to love what I did and do what I love, I just had to figure out what that was exactly.
I’m glad I waited and I’m glad I went. The experience I gained prior to attending college, made my college career more personal and in a lot of ways, it made it easier. I didn’t have to predict what life after college would look like, I’d already been out in the real world.
However, college gave me something I may not have ever received, had I not gone. I discovered a belief in myself that I’ve never known. In the beginning of my first English class, I so badly wanted my professor to tell me I was a great writer — I needed her to tell me that because I didn’t believe I was good enough. By the end of the quarter I no longer needed her to tell me I was a great writer, because I knew I was. My professor had put me through the ringer with writing assignment after writing assignment and I’d come out the other side in one piece. Having my own cheerleader was helpful too (Thanks Jenny).
Dream Big & Dream Often
I’m an optimistic dreamer and it’s lovely. Until reality slaps me upside the head, which it often has. Nonetheless, I keep chugging along like the little engine that could, because I can. One writing class wasn’t enough so I took more. I have always loved writing and have always wanted to be an author so I just kept going and once I’d started I just couldn’t stop. A few more writing classes and half a novel later… I had a newfound love of research and technical writing in addition to my other genres. But could I really do what I love and make it? Why not? Of course, I can be an author and a grant writer and a mom and wife all at once. It can’t hurt to try right?
Plan to Color Outside the Lines
Plans are great and I’m definitely one who prefers to be prepared for everything just in case the impossible happens. Life doesn’t always go according to plan and some of life’s greatest gifts can’t be planned. GPS systems are great and they definitely make getting from Point A to Point B a little easier but don’t forget to go off grid and explore sometimes. One of my very best friends (You know who you are) reminded me once that, “some of the best places on this earth are only found when we get lost”. If we never get lost, we miss out on the discoveries we would’ve made. Those little hole in the wall diners with the best burgers on the planet are hidden gems just waiting to be discovered, or how about that little antique shop that took you back in time just for one glorious moment. Those moments are worth living, just don’t take a Wrong Turn — I’ve seen how that movie ends.
Go Ahead & Try It On
I don’t have everything figured out and I’m sure I never will. Most of us are all walking around winging it and faking it till we make it anyway so I just do the best I can, some days are better than others and no two days ever look the same. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever been told is this:
“Just because you love kids, doesn’t mean you should be a teacher, just as a love of animals doesn’t necessarily mean you should be a veterinarian.”
This is SO TRUE! Thank you, Kelly!
I love kids and I love being a mom but I am not cut out to be a teacher. I “tried it on” and I’m not made of the special stuff it takes to go down that road. That path takes special people and YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING. Seriously. Our children deserve and need great teachers.
So, here’s a quick shout out to the amazing teachers I know:
Ms. Kuhn. Mrs. Lokkins, Mrs. Esiyok, Mrs. Clarke (soon) keep doing what you’re doing. Our kids’ futures depend on wonderful teachers like you and our world will be better off because of your effort. Thank you for what you do.
It’s okay not to know what you want to do, but try on a few things and see where your heart takes you. You have nothing to lose and only experience and knowledge to gain, so go ahead and try something on and see if it fits.
If you haven’t seen or heard Mandy Harvey’s song, Try, yet…you should do so as soon as you’re done reading this article.
She’s amazing. You’re amazing – it’s a perfect fit.
Love It or Leave It
Life is way too short not to love what you do. Don’t be irresponsible and throw in the towel before you’ve lined up something new but don’t be afraid of making a change either. It’s too easy to give up and it’s way too easy to get stuck in a dead end job. Find your happy medium and go for it. You deserve to be happy and you should do what you love and love what you do.
Having an incredible support system is extremely helpful. My husband is awesome, my friends and family are so incredible, and my boys inspire me every day.
Having a job you love doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy. I know an attorney who loves her job and is amazing at it. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have bad days or that she doesn’t get stressed out. Finding balance when we love our work is hard. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, life is hard and most of us are just trying to survive and make a difference if we can.
Follow your heart, but don’t silence your mind. Dare to reach for your dreams and don’t ever stop reaching. Make a plan but don’t force yourself to stick to it so much that you forget to live. You don’t have to know everything, but you do need to explore your options. Be daring, be brave, plan ahead and plan to waste time too. Life is a journey, make it a good one.
What are you going to do this week? Any fun plans you’d like to share? A trip to the middle of nowhere? Let me know what you’re up to this week and if you need any extra encouragement… I’m full of it.