Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Calling

Wow. What a wild ride the last three months have been. At the beginning of January mrp and I first began tossing around this radical idea that I might quit my job.  I have worked very hard on establishing my career and I really never thought much about possible deviations from the straight and narrow path.  Of course, I was able to imagine that raising kids and working a full-time professional job would be hard. But, it was hard in a much different way than I originally imagined.  It's less about the day-to-day time crunchy stress and more about ditching the most important job one can ever sign up for, for one that suddenly means very little besides a steady paycheck.  At least, that's how it is for me.

I spent so many years trying to find myself and figure out what I was meant to do.  Back in high school we had to take a career aptitude test.  I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up so I was more than happy to fill in the scantron bubbles and wait in line for my results.  For every kid in front of me the dot-matrix printer swept back and forth across an entire page or two, listing myriad jobs suitable for each one.  Finally, it was my turn.  The teacher loaded the sheet on which I painstakingly and very thoughtfully had filled-in.  The dot-matrix began it's crawl, but strangely stopped after just one pass.  Then the sheet of paper rose from the printer reel and there on the page was one lonely entry. I took the paper and there on the sheet was two words.  Private investigator.    

Ever since that day, I thought I was some sort of freak--that there was no perfect career for me. It took me 8 years and 4 colleges to get through undergrad because I felt so lost.  In between schools I was working at one horrendous job when the idea of becoming a lawyer came into fruition: it would be the perfect marriage of my math talent and skill in interpreting literature.  It made sense and I loved law school.  But on November 21, 2008 I learned where my real calling was. I'm meant to be a peanut's mom. The dot-matrix got it wrong.  Of course, I really do enjoy practicing law and I have every intention to keep it up and pick it back up with a vengeance in the future. But on that fateful day in November, I learned that for right now there is nothing more meaningful, more enjoyable, more necessary than being a mother full-time.  So, with that I jumped off the big scary cliff on Monday and quit the job preventing me from being a full-time peanut's mom.

My last day will be May 1.  It's tough to go through all the motions to pack peanut and myself up so I can tie up all the loose ends at work.  It's surreal in a way.  We really were just getting into a rhythm with everything.  I am much happier now though. The weight of the decision is lifted off my shoulders and I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Soon, little guy, we will be together!

* * *

In the meantime, my running is really coming along.  On Friday I ran from home to the park and did a 4 mile tempo.  It was my first real tempo and I was more concerned with finishing it with dignity and less concerned about running an awesome pace.  I decided to take it out easy and just see what happened.  After a 2.5 mile warm-up I hit the first mile of the tempo at 7:21 and it felt comfortably hard.  I maintained the pace for the second mile and ran 7:20.  I felt great at the half-way mark and very certain that I could finish all four miles so I picked it up.  I thought maybe I'd run a 7:10, but even with the turn-around I ran a 7:03. I still felt totally fine, so I picked it up a little for the last mile which is the hilliest and hardest mile of my route. I was shocked when I rolled through with a 6:44! It felt comfortable! The real kicker is that I was just trotting along home on my cooldown and I looked at the Garmin and it said I was running 7:40's! Maybe it was a fluke, but I like to think it means I'm getting in shape. I guess we'll see how this week's workouts go before calling it a trend!

Last week by the numbers:

M: 6 on the treadmill (8:40's)

T: Off

W: 9.25 track workout (6 x 800 and 4 x 200 all with 200m jogged rest)

Th: 7.5 easy with guys from work to a track while E did a workout (8:10)

F:  9 including 4 mile tempo (average pace 7:45!)

Sa: 6 easy no watch on roads

Su: 14.25 from home to the park. Ran about 5 on the roads and 9.25 on the trails. (8:14)

Total: 52

Weight: Don't know. Afraid to weigh myself after Easter pigfest!


JenC said...

I know it wasn't an easy decision, but I'm sure it was right for you. I keep hoping you'll seriously consider watching my kid too when I have one. You'll get spending money while spending time with Peanut and I'll get a trustworthy friend to watch my kid. Think about it. No pressure though and of course, I have to create a kid first, so plenty of time.

CoyoteGirl said...

When you feel all that stress just fall off of you...you know that it was the right decision. All that running around that you have to do, and compartmentalizing your life...it's just not a recipe for happiness. I don't know how I did it for so long!

Don't think of it as an ending but as a beginning for new things to happen in your life.

Your workout times sound great - all those negative splits say that you're strong and fit - way to go!

DaisyDuc said...

Those are some great runs you are getting in. Glad you can move forward past the weight of this decision finally!

Mnowac said...

Awww what a sweet entry! And congrats on the running, it really sounds like you are right back where you need to be. I bet you totally kill Akron in the fall.

Mindi said...

Lucky for you, life does not follow dot matrixes either. You are many, many wonderful things. You must prioritize them for what fits with your life. This is right for you now and I'm sure you will cherish it and succeed. Congrats again.

DC Running Mama said...

I was just reading an article talking about how women need to think of their careers as a "lattice" rather than a ladder...move around, try different things, anything to make it balance, really.

Also...I was telling my hubby about you...trying to figure out what to do with your life and how you quit your job...and he said "hey, that sounds just like you!" I think I went through about 4 majors in college, studied for the LSAT, GMAT, GRE, and eventually ended up getting a Masters rather than a JD. Anyways, it was an eternity of "trying to figure out the PERFECT career" and now...I realize a career can be a means to an end...and that being a mommy is a much more well-rounded definition of who I am (runner, writer, analyst, non-profit president, friend, reader, wife, mother, outdoor and travel lover, artist wanna-be, etc.). Just defining yourself by your career is so limiting.

solarsquirrel said...

I am SO proud of you. I have experienced first hand the differences between stay at home parenting (me) and working mom (my 2 sisters). The developmental years cannot be recreated. You are making a life-long investment in Peanut that will evolve into intangible successes over and over again.