When I was growing up, I always had the dream of becoming a medical doctor. But after I started higher math in middle school, that dream began to change. When I reached high school, I didn’t have aspirations to go to college or start a career right away. I am sure that was due in part to the fact that I loved spending time with my friends more than concentrating on homework. But the one thing I always had in high school was a job. I started babysitting at the age of 13 until I was 15 and old enough to start working in a restaurant as a hostess. After graduation, I enrolled in a community college because that is all my family could afford and, quite frankly, my grades from high school didn’t qualify me for anything more. After a couple of semesters, I decided I was not interested in that style of learning, so I started waiting tables to make extra money. The skills I learned working in a restaurant carried me for the next 15 years of my life. I could work in any restaurant, serving or bartending, and make the same or better income as another person would in a traditional 9-5 job. I have a love/hate relationship with the business. I would try to get out, but it always reeled me back in. And anyone who has worked in a restaurant knows what I am talking about.
The money I made while in the business kept a roof over my head and my children’s heads as I was navigating being a single mom. But I was tired. I was really tired. Physically, emotionally drained. Years into working in restaurant business, I began a yoga practice and became inspired to teach. So I went through a teacher-training program, eventually made teaching yoga my full-time job, and let go of working in a restaurant.
After a few years as a yoga teacher, I now sit with the question of whether I can do this full-time for the rest of my working adult life. That has got me thinking about what it is that I do, how much money I make, and whether I am happy doing it. For the most part, I am happy. There are aspects of this business I don’t like, but there were aspects of the restaurant business I didn’t like. I made about twice the income bartending than I do as a full-time yoga teacher. Do I need to earn more? No, not necessarily. I am remarried with a dual income now, and my children are happy and have their basic needs met – and then some – most of the time. I am happy with what I do, but is it enough? I believe so. But I also believe that it’s ok to question it. I believe it’s ok to walk away and rediscover what it is that you want to do even if that means taking big risks. So I invite all of you to do the same. Re-evaluate every once in a while. Don’t stay in a job that makes you miserable. Don’t do something that doesn’t make you happy – or know that if you do, it is for a greater cause like taking care of your children or saving for that big vacation. Your life has meaning and it has purpose. Make the most out of it because we work most of our adult lives, and those years should reflect the person that you truly are and the person you aspire to be.
Tiffany (RYT 200®) is a student and teacher of yoga living in Baltimore, Maryland.
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