About three weeks has passed since I graduated from teacher’s college. I’ve been working full time, but for someone who likes to have lots on the go and who’s been in school for a decade, I feel like I’ve got lots of newfound time on my hands. I’ve been using it to reflect and mull over where I’m at and where I want to go, and I’ve realized that I haven’t been hitting pause to check in with myself much lately.
School has kept me busy.
I have a tendency to sign up for races to keep myself busy.
I swear sometimes I buy things just so I can go return them to keep myself--you guessed it...busy!
For all the busy I bring upon myself, this comparative “slowing down” has not been so bad. In fact, it’s been kind of nice. All along, I think I was a little afraid of what might come up if I slowed down at a time where I’m sort of in-between. My job is sweet for the summer, but then what? I’ve not gotten an interview for the supply list. I’m fairly certain if I told this to my younger self, I’d be freaking out. I wouldn’t say I’m feeling footloose and fancy free, but the prospect of easing into my teaching career has opened up some possibility for me.
“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”
Ten years ago, I went to Western ready to take on--and change--the world. That 18-year-old knew she was passionate about things like health and fitness. She did some cool stuff over the decade at Western--started teaching fitness, personal training, writing and life coaching, to name a couple of things. She got discouraged, though, too. She got the idea that you had to look a certain way and be a certain type of person to help others improve their health. She got caught up in the pursuit of a perfect ideal that didn’t exist, and then she kind of gave up on it all and tried to come up with a way to get out of the world of health and fitness, but she just couldn’t help herself.
That girl is me, and no matter what I do, I end up coming back to the same thing: I have a big ol’ passion for health and fitness and things that challenge our bodies and necessitate self-improvement. I thought going to school to be a Science teacher would be a step away from a career in health and fitness--and deep down I was being driven by a fear that I wasn’t good enough (skinny enough, fast enough, etc. enough)--but I ended up in phys ed classrooms and realized that my experiences and my not-so-perfect body and history is actually a gift. The people who come by fitness or fit-looking bodies without a story might have an easier time stepping into the role of wellness guru, but there’s something to be said for working through things like growing up overweight, struggling with an eating disorder, and having to overcome insecurity. These are the kinds of things that so many people in this world have to deal with--who wouldn’t want someone who “gets it” to help them? I love teaching Science, but someone asked me why I want to be a teacher and I surprised myself with the answer that came out of my mouth, which was to be the kind of role model as a phys ed teacher that I wish I’d had. I want kids to know that there’s more to fitness than looking a certain way, and more ways to be active than playing sports. I want them to take pride in their health, enjoyment in exercise, and a genuine interest in how to be their best selves. That’s cheesy, but it’s true.
Looking back, it seems like I took the long way to that realization. Two bachelors degrees and a masters, plus a handful of certifications. Expensive, but worth it, perhaps? Over the past ten years, I’ve realized I want to help people of all ages take care of their bodies and get real about their health. I’ve gained experience doing all kinds of things to that end, and I’ve realized that just because I don’t have a job title right now doesn’t mean I’m not living out that mission and purpose. Does it look like personal training? Yup. What about teaching phys ed? Yes, that too. And blogging, life coaching, freelance writing, ride leading, volunteering, and teaching. They alllll fit in, even if they don’t all fit on a business card.
This in between place is not such a bad place to be. When I get over the fact that I don't have certainty around what's next for me, I can take that mission of helping people and I can think of all the ways I can go about it. That way, the possibilities start coming to mind--I could start a podcast. I can keep working on this coaching stuff. I could write a book. I can personal train more. Anything, really, is possible.
Where is there uncertainty in your life that you could look at as a source of possibility?
Do you feel like you have a defined purpose/mission in your life? How did you “figure it out”?