Friday, February 10, 2012

Follow Your Heart...

First of all let me take a moment here to admit that I have a bunch of different posts started but for some reason I never get around to finishing. I can’t even count how many days I think of something and then make a point to blog about it, unfortunately either the kids, the house, the family or training get on the way and I never get to finish them. BUT this one has been on the ‘works’ for a couple of weeks now and I wanted to post it before I realize is too late and I don’t want to talk about it anymore.


Follow your heart! You're more likely to succeed at something you love.

How many times have you heard that quote or a variation of it? But really, is it that easy to find what you love?

I am going through what some people might call mid-life crisis, I find myself almost at 40 living a life that I would have never imagine for me and yet I keep asking myself ‘what ifs’.

Growing up I always knew I wanted to have kids, 4 to be exact. I was not so thrilled about the idea of meeting somebody, getting married and spending the rest of your life with that same person. I would say at times I was against marriage, up until I was in my late 20s I would have never thought I would end up marrying somebody. Then I met Sami, fell in love and the rest is history.

Part of my aversion to marriage was the fact that I have always been so independent. I don’t like to think my life and future is on somebody else’s hands. I come from a culture where people grow up, get married, have kids and live their whole lives in the same town.

I obviously was not part of the norm. At the age of 24 I came to the States and made it my home. Needless to say it was not easy to make my parents and family understand that I was not like everybody else back there, I wanted a different life and I was not happy with what I had. Instead of waiting for a change to come by I made the change and moved here.

I studied psychology back home with the hopes of one day being able to work with kids. I came here in the middle of my studies, once I came I knew I wanted to do something different. So, I studied marketing. I worked full time to put myself through school, I come from a rather large family and as much as my parents would love to accommodate all their kids’ wishes supporting my new life style across the Pacific is not something they could afford.

Before moving here and while in school I did pretty much everything; started by coaching swimming, waited tables, direct sales, telemarketing… you name it. I am one of those people that has no problem rolling my sleeves and doing whatever it takes.

Yup, I was one of those annoying people that calls at wee hours

Not an actual pic of me but you get the gist :)

It wasn’t until I graduated that I had an official job (corporate America). I graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor in Marketing and BA and LOVED my job at MCI as a business analyst. After 7 years with the company I decided to make a move and started working for a British company doing marketing research, lets just say that was not my best career move, but I got pregnant soon after I started working there and I have to admit that they were very accommodating to my new lifestyle once I had Marc.

I never thought I would be a stay home mom, I love kids, specially mine, but again the idea of having to depend on somebody else’s paycheck was not something I wanted to do. After having Marc I went back to work and although crazy at times I was able to be what I consider a good mom and have a career. Then I had Nora and stared thinking about getting a nanny, I didn’t want my kids to have a ‘crazy’ life, going from one place to another without really being able to be babies, toddlers or little kids. I wanted to offer them the closest thing I could to what I had when I was their age.

So, I figure if I couldn’t be with them I wanted them to have someone who they could go to when mommy was not around. You can see how this was not a good idea, after we started interviewing for the position I quickly realized I was the only person I would consider for the job. I didn’t want to miss those precious years, and if I had to have second thoughts I would much rather ‘regret’ that I put a ‘pause’ on my career than having to regret I didn’t get to see my kids grow up. 

So, the natural thing to do was for me to quit working, stay home with the kids and once they got older go back to work. What I didn’t want though is to become my mom, my parents married young and she never worked after having her first child, four children and many years later her and dad became empty nesters, and as much as she loved being with us sometimes I wonder if she would have rather had a career to go back to once we got older. I look at her and dad and often wonder what their life has turn into, she was so active taking us from swim practice to swim practice, to gymnastics to swim meets… whatever it took, now there is an ‘empty’ look about her as if she is missing something. I don’t want to be 50 years old and find myself on her shoes.

I hear ‘bigger kids, bigger problems’ all the time and I wonder when/if there is a good time to go back to work.  I keep looking at my options and I really want to find something I LOVE so that I can help the family bringing in some money but at the same time I get to spend time with the kids (I know, probably asking too much).

There are two things that come to mind, one of them is coaching; we all know how many coaches there are out there, some people think that because they attend a two day course and have a diploma is enough to call themselves ‘coaches’. I think I still have some things to learn, yes eventually I would love to have a SMALL group of athletes who I can coach, but I would like to be able to dedicate the time they all deserve and not do the old ‘copy paste’ many coaches do. I feel as if I am ready to coach swimming, I have done that a million times and not to say that I can’t learn anything about swimming but I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on the topic, but I would like to have one more season under my belt before I can start helping others with the whole swim/bike/run.

Also, as I said I am not planning on starting a big coaching company, which means I prob wont be able to make a whole salary out of this. The other thing that comes to mind and I have thought about it on the past is teaching, I can’t think of any other job that would allow me to spend as much time with the kids. I have plenty of friends who teach Spanish and a couple that teach ESL, I think I would enjoy either one but will I really love it???