It was right around the time I started working at my first full time out of grad school that I began having a very distinct knot in my stomach all the time. Not just related to the anxiety of being a full time social worker and dealing with life or death issues on a daily basis. No. This was a different knot. A sinking feeling. It came about around the time I filled out my retirement paperwork with a good friend who started at work the same time I did. We were eager to be putting our hard earned masters degrees to work. Kicking ass. Saving lives. Conducting rigorous assessments with our expensive book learnin. We sat in an office with a retirement specialist as she discussed our earnings, contributions and educated us on investments. Then she pointed to a row on the paperwork that indicated the year we were eligible for retirement. 2045. Yeah. Let that sink in for a moment. 20-freaking-45.
My newfound enthusiasm was crushed. 2045 I thought?! No doubt by then the Jetsons will be my neighbor, my student loans will still not be paid off and I will surely have collapsed into a giant ball of stress by then. 2045. 2045. I walked around in a depressed haze for the rest of the day.
It was around that time that I started thinking bigger. Bigger than working for someone else for the next bazillion years of my life. As my career in social work has progressed, something very clear stood out for me. I do not fit in with government work. I am frustrated on the daily with red tape, bureaucracy and the often daunting feeling of helplessness as I try to improve people's lives. It's not what I signed up for. So I began my journey to become a yoga instructor. I came, I posed, I conquered. I started this website. I came, I frustratingly put it together, I conquered. I learned about essential oils, became a reiki practitioner but still something was missing. All of these facets have helped me become a better person. They've been integral in my self care and I think without these things, I would have crumbled under the weight and stress of my job.
But still, something was missing. Through this journey to build a career of helping others in a holistic non traditional way, I went to social media as one does in this time we're living in. I started seeing post after post of "fitspo" and "good vibe tribe" and people living a life I had been desperately trying to figure out how to live. No time cards. Not living out someone else's agenda. Travel. Health. Financial Freedom. I, of course, rolled my eyes and kept scrolling. Yeah right. These women aren't like me. They don't have debt. They're not supporting themselves. They started out gorgeous and successful. I could never be one of those girls.
Then I started seeing friends of mine sharing their stories on social media. Posting their transformations. Revamping their health, opening their own businesses, ditching the rat race to help others. I rolled my eyes a little less hard this time. They're married, they have a fallback if they're not successful at this business they have a spouse to help them financially. So I rolled and scrolled past pictures of cute puppies, babies and engagement pictures.
Then I started to see people who looked like me getting involved in this community. Social workers, teachers, single ladies. Broke. Looking for something new. I didn't roll my eyes this time. So I looked into this community to see what it was really all about. Fitness. Nutrition. Shakes. Workouts. The dreaded...MLM. I was hesitant, but desperate, so I signed up. I wanted to be fit. I wanted to feel beautiful. I wanted financial freedom. I started, I tried, I quit when the shit got hard.
I went about my life. Working, stressing, dreaming about travel, fitness, financial freedom. Then I began to take notice of the women I'd connected with at the beginning of my journey who didn't quit. Who stuck with it. What did I notice: they were fit. They were building businesses. They were living the life that I wanted and quit on. I wasn't rolling my eyes anymore I was kicking myself. Damn! This is possible. What does it take? Getting out of my own way. Ditching my ego. Putting in effort. I realized what this community was about. Growth. Change. Starting with me and helping others along the way. I realized that it wasn't so bad being "One of those girls" posting pictures of their shakes, workouts and motivational quotes on social media because a funny thing happens when you do that. You spread positivity. You encourage change. You become vulnerable and put out into the universe that you're wanting this lifestyle of health, freedom and happiness. I have linked up with my why. I ditched the fear of judgement on "being one of those girls." Why? Because the people who are judging me aren't living my life. They're not paying my bills and they might not have my goals. I realized that I can't let the fear of judgement stop me from living my passions and pursuing my dreams. I didn't do it when I decided to go to grad school, live in Ireland or move to California so I'm not stopping now. I am proudly "One of those girls." Being healthy, living my life and working to live a life by design.