When a little kid dreams about becoming an astronaut when she grows up, nobody ever responds to her lofty aspirations by telling her to consider finding the ideal time for a trip to the moon — an adventure put off until she has completed her education, maybe comfortably sandwiched between college and having babies, perhaps carefully plotted out for the moment all her kids are in school — or, maybe, if she’s still physically up to it, penciled on on the day she and her husband become empty nesters.
I mean, why would they? It’s not like NASA lets you schedule these things. It’s not like a six year old understands these things. It’s not like ANY of us want to think about how these things can determine whether or not we meet our career goals.
And yet, the past two years have taught me that “these things” do, in fact, happen.
The universe might not let me schedule the moment when all the stars will align and my perfect job will happen, and it sure as heck doesn’t check my calendar, let alone my season in life, to determine the timing is right.
For the past two years, I have had the opportunity to fulfill one of my long-time BIG dreams: going back to my old high school to coach the dance team I was a part of as a student from 2001-2005. Dancing on this team was hugely formative for me; I went from being an incredibly shy kid without much confidence to, in my junior and senior years, not only dancing in front of the entire student body, but also standing up in front of 35+ of my peers to help run daily practices as a captain. I grew in countless ways, and I was (and still am) passionate about helping other young women find themselves through an activity they love and alongside teammates they love even more. If you’ve been a coach before, you know it’s probably one of the hardest jobs there is. That being said, while coaching brings you the lowest lows…it also has the highest of highs! Although they probably don’t realize it, watching the dancers on my team grow so much in the past two years has been one of the highlights of my life thus far. I am so grateful for this experience.
While all of this was so wonderful, in these two years I’ve spent as a coach, life has done a total 180 on me. I found out I was pregnant two months into the job, which made our very early morning practices pretty rough, to say the least. I spent so much of last year excited for the time I finally wouldn’t be pregnant anymore and life would just snap back to normal. I know, I know: all you fellow moms are laughing at this point! While we have certainly fallen into the groove of our “new normal”, coaching with a baby has presented all kinds of new challenges that just make our family life a little too crazy for our liking. I resigned from my position as head coach a few weeks ago, and the job posting for the new coach closed last week.
While all of that makes me pretty sad — I went through a lot of heartache on Friday as the posting closed and my decision became permanent — I’m trying to take my friend Micaline’s advice to focus on what there is to be gained from this choice. You see, “these things” are, in my mind, the best things. While I have dreamed of coaching my own high school dance team for several years, I’ve dreamed of marrying a wonderful man, owning a home together, and taking care of our children in it for much, much longer. Spending quality time with my husband makes me happy. Making our house beautiful, comfortable, and organized makes both of us (especially my husband!) unreasonably happy. Taking care of our daughter, watching her grow, and building a relationship with her makes my heart so happy. For me, no job I have ever had matches any of that. Beyond all of that, I think it’s important to, above all else, “be Carolyn” — not to excuse myself from personal growth, but to honor my own personality, especially the things I find most life-giving. Time is currency, and I haven’t been doing the best job of budgeting that currency in the past two years. I want to be sure I’m prioritizing my “spending”.
I’m so grateful to my husband for being so endlessly patient as he let me come to this conclusion for myself (I know he saw it coming a long time ago). Furthermore, while this job has obviously had its challenges, it’s also been so much more than a job. If anything, I care about this team even more than I did before I started coaching.
This is definitely not a goodbye, but a “see you later” to some fantastic young ladies who have truly become my second family. I love you all…even when we’re all dead tired at 6:45 am! With that, I’m throwing this back to the universe. Maybe the stars will realign, and maybe they won’t. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to more simplicity in my life…and, most likely, also cheering these lovely dancers on from the stands with my little girl by my side.
All photos are by the lovely KC England Photography. Thanks for making team picture day so special for the past two years, KC!