life is what you make of it _

by Mariel of The Learning Basket

I was the most miserable person in all my years of working in my previous career. But money, job security and fear of the unknown made me stay for more than a decade. What a waste of time, right?

It was also because I felt guilty for wanting to do away with the opportunities that my “exclusive” education has given me. I even asked my mom, in one teary conversation, if I would be wasting their efforts in giving me the education that I had if I jumped ship and took care of the kids.

But motherhood gave me the impetus to clarify my priorities and the courage to pursue my happiness. I wasn’t happy with one aspect of my life (good thing it was just my career!) and I told myself that enough was enough – I was going to fashion the life that I wanted.

I think that it is important, especially as we celebrate Women’s Month, to feel empowered to design the life that we want for ourselves. I knew in my heart that I had to be home with my kids but at the same time pursue what I wanted to do, which was to build my business.

And after finally taking the leap two years ago, I am much happier now and proud that I was brave enough to change my life.

life is what you make of it

It wasn’t an easy road. I started, retreated fearfully and just tried again. Here are some of the things that I learned as I crafted the life that I wanted.

1. Throw away the “shoulds”

I threw away the “shoulds” in my life, as in “I should slave away in the I.T. industry because that’s what I was trained for.” I threw away “I can’t quit because I should be earning this much.”

Throwing away the pressure on yourself to be something or someone is the first step in living the life that you want.

2. Acknowledge your passion

I’ve been into writing ever since I can remember and have used it as a creative outlet. My passion for early childhood education, on the other hand, was unlocked when I became an aunt and then eventually a mom.

The thought of pursuing my passions scared me at first, because after all, I did not have formal training in them. But acknowledging my passions led me to the next step, which was to…

3. Take small but consistent steps

I did not shirk away from my interests and instead embraced what came my way.

One advice that I got from a friend when I asked her about wanting to write was, “Just write. You don’t have to wait for a project in order to write.” So I made my own project (my blog) and wrote away.

It excited me and gave me something to look forward to. After almost four years, I’m still writing for it and other publications to boot!

4. Jump

All those small, consistent steps gave me a bit of confidence to say, “Hey! I can do this!” I jumped and left my old life when it seemed like I could make something of myself. I was ready to make life the way I wanted it.

Looking at the life I led before, at how I tried to brush away the feelings of discontent, I wonder what took me so long to do this.

Everyday now, I am thankful for the life and career I have fashioned for myself. I get to homeschool my children, go to the salon on weekdays (and write this on my notebook while my feet are up), and still work on my own terms.

What steps have you taken to make your life the way you want it?