About three years ago, it hit me like a truck. I was turning 30 soon, was happily married, had the last of three babies and there would be no more. Basically, by age 29, I had reached most of life’s milestones WAY ahead of schedule. All that was left to do was wait for the sleigh ride in to menopause and, eventually, death. There was just one more thing I had to cross off my list between now and death; an education.
When living pay-check-to-pay-check, it can be really hard to jump off the daily merry-go-round of wake-up, get the kids to school, and drive to a job you hate so you can pay bills you hate, rinse, lather and repeat. Day-in and day-out. Heading back to school did not seem at all feasible. Then, as luck would have it, I had a mid-midlife crisis. Enter roller derby.
I had watched Ellen Page in the movie “Whip it”, I become so inspired that I started a Facebook page to see if any ladies wanted to help me start a roller derby league in my city. There seemed to be a few women in the area looking to do the same. After a brief meeting in August of 2010, we had our first official practice that month and less than a year later, our first public “bout” where 500 people showed up to watch. It was on that flat oval track, I learned a lot about myself and what I was capable of, outside of changing cloth diapers and asking “Do you need help finding anything?” I was a force to be reckoned with, both physically and mentally. I might have been going in circles, not only on the track, but also in my life. It was time I put that momentum to good use and reinvent myself.
After an entire summer spent hell-bent and determined to get back to school for September 2013, it all fell in to place and I was a student after 13 years. It was terrifying and exhilarating. I made a promise to myself to push beyond any limits and this was my one shot to attain everything I wanted: a rewarding career, a better quality of life for my family and, ultimately, pride in myself. This was it. Don’t blow it.
Knowing that good jobs are hard to find in my city and the competition is high, I needed to position myself at the top of my class, seize every opportunity I could to increase my chances for employment, and start looking for internships early, even before I was in my second year. One of my biggest hurdles was my resume. Up until this point, I had only worked in retail, albeit management positions, but still retail. It was hard to break out of that skill set.
In the spring of 2014, after completing my first year, I set out to get an entry level marketing position. There were many offers for selling motor oil in Walmart parking lots and door-to-door canvassing but I had higher hopes. Finally, I accepted a job as a Marketing Coordinator and Catering Manager at a local business. It was here that I gained excellent entry-level marketing skills, great networking connections and large scale event planning and execution. It was the perfect summer job.
Now, I am in my graduating year. I ended my first year on an extremely high note and received the “First Year Business Administration Award”. Basically, I set the bar very high for this year. The good news is, I have already have had a great start.
Currently, I am a Project Manager for my Enactus group and started a “Career Closet” tailored to help college students acquire proper work attire. I am the Food Bank Coordinator for the Student Association for the second year and I won 2nd prize at the “Start-Up Weekend Competition. Most recently, I accepted a part-time job at a weekly paper. It’s only November but, school year 2014-2015, I already own you and I’m just warming up.
It’s hard for me to say right now what my next goal is. The thought of graduating still seems so far away. Just getting back to school was a goal, and honestly, I didn’t think it would ever happen. It’s not easy to drop the routine and pick up something entirely new with next to no resources. But two very smart women in my life said to me at the start of my mid-midlife crisis: “No one grows from a place of comfort.” and “Throw yourself out a window and the universe will catch you.”
Well, it would appear that I was extremely uncomfortable and needed to move from my place of discomfort and the window was wide open for me to jump out of, figuratively or literally. But instead of the universe catching me, I caught myself. My life in 18-months is no longer recognizable from where I once stood. The roller skates are hung up but are a constant reminder to keep my momentum up and push myself to stay on track.