No 10 year-old little girl when asked what she wants to be when she grows up proudly says, “a secretary.” When I was asked that question at that age, my answer was an obstetrician. Those who know me can stop laughing. If you don’t know me, I’ll let you in on a little secret: needles, torturous-looking instruments, blood, bodily fluids, and children (especially babies) creep me out and make me want to faint and/or vomit. It’s laughable now, but I was damn serious about it back then.
Later on, my aunt worked for an attorney (as a secretary), so I thought about becoming an attorney. If you ask my family, they’ll probably say I was much better suited to argue than to operate. However, in high school I lost my passion for all things academic and college, in our family, instead of being a non-negotiable requirement was an ambivalent option. As a result, I trudged through a year of college, then attended court reporting college (in keeping with the legal theme). I finished court reporting college but never passed the certification test. In all fairness, the test had only a two-percent passage rate. I know now there was no reason, except my self-sabotaging behavior, why I couldn’t have been in that two percent.
I was young, unmotivated and ignorant in what I needed to do to get what I wanted out of life. Further, I was ignorant in what I actually wanted in life. I had no memorable, caring guidance counselor who met with me during those confusing but impressionable years “guiding” me to realize my interests, recognize my strengths, and provide me options of what I would be suited and happy doing. My parents wanted the best for me, but were just as in the dark about what I should do as I was. Where and when I grew up, women got married, had babies, and did their best to be good wives and mothers. That’s what my mother did. So I got married, took a job as a secretary because I wasn’t qualified to do anything else, and then got divorced.
Fast forward 20 years. I did manage to get a paralegal certificate from LSU a while back, so I technically moved up the ladder a peg. However, in most firms the line that separates the responsibilities of legal secretaries and paralegals is blurred. I’ve worked as both. At the same time. For the same firm. In the secretarial field, my abundant experience has only gotten me so far on the pay scale. So here I am — working at a job that brings me no personal satisfaction other than knowing that the attorneys I work for are pleased with my performance. I am grateful for that, but it’s not enough. It’s not like I just woke up the other day and realized this. I’ve known for a long time that I am meant to do something else. It’s the rut and the security of income and benefits that has kept me from making a change. I have allowed fear to tie my hands.
Because of current circumstances, I am now fortunate to be able to entertain the possibility of making a change in my career path. Don’t get too excited for me just yet. It’s not like I can quit my nine-to-five anytime soon. Since I have benefited so much from yoga, the thought of becoming a yoga instructor appealed to me. After talking to
everyone a few of my yoga teachers and friends and receiving encouragement from all and even endorsement from a few, I checked into this training. I could drag it out from six months to a year, sacrificing a couple of weekends a month. Another option is to do it all in one fell swoop, training consecutively for four weeks, and complete the certification in a little under a month. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you which one Ms. Instant Gratification chose.
I say “chose” as if I’ve already signed up and paid my money. I’m still questioning whether I would be a good yoga teacher. I read an article today that said there are three things that make a good yoga teacher. One is that you have to like people, have compassion and be patient with those who need inspiration and encouragement. The second is that you have to maintain your own daily practice because even if you’re a teacher, there is always something you will take away from your own practice to impart to your students. And unless you’ve achieved total enlightenment, you’re always technically a student. Finally, maintain your training and connection with teachers and mentors so they can help with your own self-realization and keep your ego and ignorance from blocking your quest for higher truth. Would I have these qualifications if I were to become a yoga teacher? Can I do this? I still possess a certain amount of ignorance, believe it or not. Do I have the personality to be a yoga teacher? Could I explain to people how to live in the moment of their practice when I’m guilty of going through my to-do list while in the middle of my own practice? Would I get some personal satisfaction from teaching? I’ve never thought of myself as someone who teaches. I think of myself as a very impatient person. Would I have the patience when someone is struggling with something I consider very basic? Eventually, if I do make this my sole source of income, can I live without the security I have now with my nine-to-five? Can I (and My Love) live with the decrease in income? Do I sacrifice stability and the known for satisfaction and the unknown? I’m asking myself these questions constantly.
I can tell you that I’m not getting any clear answers. No one is sky-writing the answer for me and my neighbors to see. I’m not hearing little voices inside my head (maybe this is a good thing). I keep looking for a “sign” like someone mistaking me for a yoga teacher as I peruse the aisles in Whole Foods outfitted in my Lululemon.
I know I CAN do it. I am not doubting my ability to complete the training. It will be a huge commitment, however. I am spending money that would have otherwise taken me and My Love to Paris. Regardless of the tremendous support that My Love is giving me and the assurance that he only wants to see me doing what brings me satisfaction and joy because that would make him happy as well (he is that selfless of a guy … not even kidding), I still feel guilty about suddenly using this money for “me” when it was originally intended for “we.” I will be totally devoting my time and energy for four weeks to this.
So what do I do? I know I will end up doing this. Who am I kidding? I just want to make sure I’ve asked myself the right questions and have looked at it from every angle. If I don’t change things, they only stay the same. In listening to Donna Summer for the past two days, I heard a lyric that I remember from when I had her record spinning on my little record player as I danced around my room singing through the cordless Donny & Marie microphone that was broadcasting my (I’m sure) melodious voice through the radio right next to the record player. (Coincidentally, she had a song called “On The Radio.”) Yeah, I know, how cool was that? Anyway, the lyrics are “I’m standing on the outside of the inside where I want to be.” Could that be the “sign” I’ve been waiting for?