My life a year later

plant

When my co-worker (who became a friend and my right-hand person) started working with me in November 2010 she received a welcome basket of various plants. She kept one of the plants growing strong. When she was laid off she gave me the plant. When I left I handed the plant off to a friend but took a clipping. My little clipping has grown and is thriving.

A year ago today I left the corporate world.

(Tomorrow will be the year anniversary of my first day of FUNemployment.)

A lot happened to lead up to my decision. And I won’t go into details here why I did. But it was time for me to go. (I have talked about it somewhat in the past if you want to read undoing with new chapter and pursuing happiness and finding your paradise.)

I am not talking badly about those in the corporate world. I understand it. I lived it for more than 15 years. Because of it I am able to live the life I do now.

There were advantages to working in the corporate world. It afforded lots of amazing travel; ease of living in the Bay Area; lots of three-day weekends; a lifestyle I enjoyed; shopping for clothes, shoes and purses when I wanted; us able to donate a considerable amount of money to charities (and Uncle Sam); not living paycheck to paycheck; me the opportunity to work with many great people and learn a ton; and making some friends for life …

It wasn’t my intention to be a full-time yoga (and cycling) teacher. My plan was to continue my full-time job after my teacher training was complete and maybe sub an occasional yoga class and eventually have one or two regular classes a week.

But because I was prepared to take on something new, that helped me make the decision I did.

Curt and I both had humble upbringings. We both put ourselves through college and struggled to pay rent and buy groceries.

Because of the corporate world and our diligence with saving and investing we were able to make the decision to quit my job a year ago and Curt to quit his about two months later. Then about two months after that we packed our stuff up and drove about 600 miles to Portland to start a new life up here.

Curt decided to go to Portland Code School and learn a new skill. He is currently looking for a job with lots of great leads.

Soon after we arrived in Portland I started contacting gyms and yoga studios. I first started subbing at a local gym in Beaverton and then got on with LA Fitness, followed by 24 Hour Fitness, Turtles Yoga & Wellness and also subbing and now regularly teaching at the fitness center where we live where they offer free yoga classes to residents three times a week.

There are pros and cons to the life I have chosen for myself now.

I am happy. My stress level is extremely low. I am no longer getting up at 5 a.m. (unless I am subbing 6 a.m. sunrise yoga). I am a much healthier person physically, mentally and emotionally.

I really love what I do. I love meeting new students, having regulars keep coming back to my classes (yoga and cycle). My daily schedule is fairly flexible. I love seeing myself grow as a teacher, learning more about yoga, about the body, about my students and about myself.

I make about a fourth of what I made last year. That’s a HUGE pay cut. But I work less (though my teaching hours are considered full time) and have a much more flexible daily schedule.

I don’t get sick days. When I want to go on vacation I don’t get paid for those days off. I also have to request and find subs for classes needing coverage while I’m away. (Believe me, it’s a lot easier to e-mail your boss and ask, can I have a week off in January?)

I believe I found my true calling. When I was younger I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. But once I thought about going back to the school I knew I just couldn’t do it. I’m teaching … just not in the way I originally thought I would.

Here are some of the things students have said to me:

  • Your (teaching) style is unique.
  • I didn’t understand what you were doing … now I love it.
  • You’re a really good teacher.
  • I appreciate your teaching style.
  • We really appreciate the time you take on coming up with a theme for us every week.
  • Thank you (with a hug).
  • I really needed that.
  • I feel so much better.

Those are just some of the highlights above. I connect easily and quickly with most of my students. And I am always happy to receive feedback from them. My students have shared a lot of personal stuff with me. They have told me that things I teach or say have made a huge difference for them in their life, especially when it comes to accepting things or people. That’s pretty amazing.

I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to switch careers and try something new. It’s not always easy and can be exhausting (physically, mentally and emotionally) but I’ve found what I am supposed to be doing.

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