Three years ago, I was in the middle of an art class with a local artist. I'd drive over to her home at night and together with a few ladies, we would meet to create and learn in her basement studio. I remember admiring the teacher. Her work, of course, was wonderful, but she had such a sense of calm about her. I am sure that she had everyday stresses like us all, in fact, I believe she was caring for a sick parent at the time, but I could tell that she was content with herself...something I had not felt in some time.
My kids were 9 and 7 and I was working only part time as a radio news reporter. A few months prior, I was laid off from what I considered my dream job. After only a year in the broadcasting industry, I was reporting part time for a local television news station. I wasn't making any money and it was sometimes physically tough, but it was a job where I could express creativity and tell real stories through visuals and words, and it also had value to the community, but it just wasn't in the cards. Then, something amazing (at least I thought) happened...
"I never listened to the voice that said, you cannot do it all, you don't have to do it all."
I was offered a job with the FBI! Yeah, I beat out a bunch of other very qualified candidates for an opportunity to serve my country - sort of, but for whatever reason, that was not in the cards for me either and nine months into the application process, they decided I was not the right fit after all. I remembered feeling of course, rejected, but also a bit relieved. I had only applied for the job because that was what I was supposed to be doing, looking for a long-term career to help support my family and justify my graduate level education. I applied not thinking for a minute that I'd get the job, so even though I was excited to be chosen, I wasn't quite sure it was really what I wanted. I also had a serious concern about work / life balance and let's just say, it was definitely a job that I could never get creative with.
So there I was, working part time, enjoying my family and creating, but I wasn't yet content. I mean, I felt happy, but I had so much pressure on myself to succeed professionally. I never listened to the voice that said, you cannot do it all, you don't have to do it all. If you look at the collage I was creating in my class, I call it "the queen,"it inadvertently shows the woman that I thought I wanted to be...that I felt I was supposed to be: the mother, cultured, experienced and cool. Those around me tied down by their commitments, but not feeling the same pressure to give 100-percent to every single aspect of their lives. I had it all, except professional success. Then, something else amazing happened (for real this time)...
"I had one year and a half of bliss before...it all crumbling down...but something was different this time."
I was offered another part time television reporting job with a different local station, but when I was about to except it, I was asked if I'd be interested in a full-time gig as a morning radio host. Wait, what?! It was a position that I never even dreamed about, because I didn't think it would be possible. I had little experience in that sort of work and it was a pretty prime local on air position. Of course it took some juggling, but it was easy when you loved what you were doing. I had one year and a half of bliss before there were staff changes that brought it all crumbling down, then the pandemic hit and suddenly, I was without a job once again, but something was different this time.
The pandemic inadvertently took the pressure of finding a new job off the table. My focus was on home schooling my kids and keeping them active and healthy. That's when I started to do all the things that I didn't have time to do when holding down a full time job, things like nature walks and art classes! I felt so blessed that my husband's career was still thriving and he was so glad that I could do the heavy lifting with the kids. I loved every minute of being with my children, we got a pool, we baked, we hiked, we laughed and laughed. Everyone close to me saw the change in me. I was, content.
"Like an epiphany, I realized that to be the queen for real, only requires one thing...the most important thing...being true to yourself."
That's when I decided that if I could not go back to broadcasting, I would only apply for jobs that I felt passionate about, that would provide work / life balance and keep me content. So when I auditioned to be a part of something for television, I truly thought it would be a fun life experience just to audition, I never imagined I'd get chosen. So, you think, this is where the story ends. All roads led to my being a television star. Wrong!
From the moment I began to prepare for my "appearance" I knew it was not what I really wanted to do. It didn't take long for that pressure to slowly come creeping in and as I spent hours preparing, all I wanted to do was go into my basement studio and paint. The contentment was gone, but this time, I did not ignore the voice. The one that says, you can't do it all, you don't have to do it all. So, I politely declined the invitation and just like that, the contentment was back. Like an epiphany, I realized that to be the queen for real, only requires one thing...the most important thing...being true to yourself. So the next time you are on the verge of making a decision based on what you think is the right thing to do, I urge you to really look into your heart to see if it is what you want to do, because only then can you truly where the crown of contentment.