I used to be addicted to finish lines and meeting goals. I am still recovering. I spent life searching for the next thing to accomplish. I had no idea how to be present and enjoy the life right in front of me. In school, I loved seeing those A's on my projects, test and report cards. With high school, it really became more severe. ACT scores, college acceptance, GPA, scholarships and more. I lived life like a race car. I worked constantly, was constantly in extracurricular activities, and was proud of being a "hard worker." I fed off the praise I received and took great pride in being a hard worker, so I kept going.
College meant more finish lines to cross as quickly as possible. Graduate with a double major in 4 years, drive home every weekend to work 40+ hours managing a bar/restaurant, more A's, more praise. I started getting tired, but felt so proud of myself. I pushed through. I needed another finish line to cross, so I got married a couple of weeks after graduating college.
My first year teaching was super tough., I taught students with emotional/behavioral disabilities who came to school half days and spent their entire time with me. My husband worked out of town a lot. I was lonely. I decided I wanted to have a baby. We headed toward another finish line. I really had no idea how much work was too much. I pushed myself to the max constantly. I decided to also start to pursue my master's degree. I was honestly addicted to these finish lines. I graduated with my master's in reading while 8 month pregnant with my 2nd child, and in my 3rd year teaching. I was tired, but I still fed off of that external praise telling me I was doing a great job. Now that I look back, my body was telling me to slow down, but I didn't know how to listen.
I loved teaching reading. I poured my heart and soul into it. I loved the students, the parents, my fellow teachers and co-workers. I gave too much of myself to it. I didn't know how to do anything less. I was used to doing things big and with everything I had. I couldn't help but see the big picture, and wanted to impact everything. I wanted to change the world. Then, one day, I saw this quote by Mother Teresa, "If you want to change the world, go home and love your family." I repeated it to myself regularly. I realized I couldn't teach full time and love my family the way I wanted. I didn't know how to excel like I had been used to all of my life at both. I didn't want to be superwoman at everything anymore. I come from a family of workaholics. I was really proud of that, until the day I realized I didn't want to be a workaholic anymore.
So I stopped. Well, I had some help. I took a class with the amazing Michelle Anthony from BlissTonic Yoga and Movement arts. We did yoga, journaling, meditation and mindfulness. She helped guide me to the place I was meant to be right now. This is what led me to teach yoga, mindfulness and meditation. I always wanted to be my own boss, but never knew what I wanted to do. Now, I know. I want to help guide people to finding peace and living the life of their dreams. A life they love. A life where they can enjoy the journey without worrying about crossing any finish lines.
I don't regret any of these finish lines. I have met amazing people along the way, and am so thankful for all I have learned. I am grateful to be slowing down now. I am learning to be present. I am learning that life is a journey, and I no longer care about reaching the next finish line. My only goal currently is to find joy in every day. I take time for meditation and mindfulness each day. I listen to my body and am being more true to myself. I'm not saying everyday is amazing and easier, but things are a whole lot better. I can handle stress that used to break me. Consequently, I have a lot less stress in my life. Truth is, I realized that I created a lot of the stress I endured.