My life is unique and yet relatable to many of you out there. I didn’t grow up knowing who I wanted to be, I only knew who ‘they’ wanted me to be. I didn’t plan my future because I knew what the designated path was ‘supposed’ to be. Deep down, I think I knew I wouldn’t remain happy on that path.
I did fairly well in high school and went on to college. There I hopped from one major to another, mostly based on what I was interested in at the time — music, humanities, design. Sadly, my relationship choices were not focused either, and I made poor decisions that left me a divorced mother with a baby at age 22. Not long after, I dropped out of school to move to a different state, because, you know — the grass is greener.
By the time I went back to school to finish my bachelors degree, I was 28 and my daughter was 6. We lived in my parents’ basement for that academic year. I changed my major to Sociology, which I loved, and made the dean’s list my final semester with a 4.0. But then what? I didn’t know. I applied for jobs here and there, but none that paid very well. I wanted to do grad school but didn’t feel I could afford it, or that I could handle it, or that I would even pass the GRE. Sound familiar?
I wish I could say that I soon figured things out. I didn’t. Not for a long time. I remarried, had 2 more awesome kids, raised them and started a photography business. That’s when I realized my perfectionism was sabotaging my success. You may have heard the phrase “Perfectionism is either the fear of success or the fear of failure.” I think I had both. I spent so much time editing photos to make them ‘perfect’ that I didn’t have time to grow my business. It just wasn’t a cost-effective way to do things, nor did it make for a balanced life.
Eventually, a friend told me about her career– speech-language pathology. I ended up pursuing it, going back to school at age 45 to get my second bachelors and a masters degree in Communication Disorders. Going back to school that second time was much harder! My brain felt sluggish, my body felt sluggish, my kids had needs, my marriage was rocky, and my aging parents were beginning to struggle with health and dementia. Not to mention I was working in the public schools throughout the program. But I did it! I finished my second bachelors with a 4.0 and my masters with a 3.9 something, and began working full-time as a school SLP.
By now you may be tired of reading about my unique-yet-universal life, but I have more life transitions to describe. A year after I graduated, I went through a difficult divorce. Leaving the 17-year relationship was necessary for my mental/emotional well-being, but the process was very hard. No matter how or why you do it, changing up a family is full of challenges.
On to a few years later, when I met and married the love of my life. I finally got it right! I learned what to look for, what really matters, and who I needed to be to make it happen. Blending two families is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard either. I really enjoy all my ‘step-kids’ and ‘in-laws’ and the richness they bring to my life. You know the saying, “There’s the family you’re born into, and there’s the family you pick.” Both are valuable.
One year into my new marriage, I experienced what some call a ‘faith crisis’. This is the term people use to describe having doubts about a long-held religious belief system. For me, I was raised Mormon and had been very active in that religion for 53 years. I won’t say I hadn’t had doubts about certain aspects of doctrine or policies, but I dutifully had put those things on a ‘shelf’ and believed people who told me we’d figure it all out ‘in the next life’.
Time for cliché saying number three: ‘When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I was ready and the information appeared. In two days time, my entire worldview was turned upside down. It was shocking and unsettling. It’s hard to describe it to somebody who hasn’t experienced leaving a high-demand religion. The next few years, my husband and I went through the process of deconstructing what we had believed was true and affirming what values we could still hold on to. Choosing those was not hard for me — Love and Kindness, Truth and Honesty. To me, that’s what we’re meant to learn and practice in this life.
The year 2020 brought some very unhappy life transitions — the Covid-19 pandemic and the death of my elderly parents that summer. They died within an hour of each other, at their home, in their bedroom. I guess you could call it a blessing that they could go together in that way, but there were some traumatic undertones for me. I spent the next year working through the grief process and developing some beliefs about death, dying and what comes next.
An unexpected result of that Covid summer was that I quit my job with the school system to practice speech therapy online from home. Nothing like a world-wide pandemic and the sudden loss of your parents to make you question the meaning of life and what you want out of it. I decided I wanted more time at home with my family and flexibility in my schedule. And I also wanted to pursue life coaching to help people through life transitions similar to the ones I’ve experienced. I’ve always enjoyed learning about people and figuring out what makes them tick, and this additional career brings me back to my sociology roots.
I hope this helps you get to know me on a personal level, and will help you feel more comfortable sharing your story with me. Together we can make good things happen!