Remember that time a few months ago where I wrote so definitively about my plans for the future? Well, you know the joke about making plans right?
Yes, six months ago I graduated with my Master’s in mental health counseling and I had it all figured out. I had big plans to work as a counselor while earning a PhD to ultimately work in schools and with families as a counselor, coach and cheerleader for women and children.
goal dream has always been to create a space for, what else, reinvention. A safe place where women (and families) could come to recharge and reset to really find the life they love. Over the years this dream has shape-shifted from a tutoring facility, to weekend retreats, to a health studio, and finally to an holistic services center where people could one stop shop to get what they need to get on their feet. Pipe dream? Maybe, but always the dream. The consistent thread is the name, Toni’s House, and the mission: help women heal and rebuild to find their true path. I’ve never been totally sure how it would happen, but I’ve always been sure that every step I’ve taken in my life has been leading me toward figuring that out. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew someday I’d build Toni’s House and be a helper on a larger scale.
This fall, a funny thing happened. I was introduced to (really reminded of) an organization that is very much in the business of reinvention. Even the company name screams reinvention. It started with a few courageous women who would drive their own cars to help survivors of domestic violence leave and start anew. Over the years, this organization has grown to include counseling services, legal advocacy services, a teen helpline and many more programs that help families recover from and rebuild after domestic and sexual violence.
Wait, it gets better.
When I was reintroduced to this organization it was in the context of a grant proposal for a Family Justice Center. In short, a one stop shop for survivors of abuse to come and get the help they need to navigate the legal and social services necessary for them to reinvent their lives.
Seriously. That’s what they wanted to build.
Toni’s House by any other name…
I started looking into ways to volunteer. I began the process of carving out time and worked on how I could still get my counseling license hours in while also doing whatever I could with this company.
Then, a job opening popped up on my email string of zillions of jobs a day. Court Advocate/Community Outreach for Sexual Abuse Survivors with none other than this reinvention company.
Seriously. That happened.
I applied. I interviewed. I sweated through the weeks of waiting. Then I accepted the job. I start next week.
And all the other plans suddenly don’t feel as secure anymore. I feel like all the steps I’ve taken in the past have maybe led me right to this job, which makes looking forward at the pre-planned steps a little more muddy. Is the path still the same or have I just taken a fork in the road that changes what was supposed to be next? Do I even need what’s next or have I already found where I wanted to go? I’m trying not to overthink it and just stay in the here and now.
But there is the hitch that in the moment, I’m not sure if I can handle two jobs and a PhD program if I ever want to see my children again. They’re growing up fast and while they don’t need me here all the time, they also won’t be here all the time for much longer. So, it may not be necessary for me to do everything all at once, but instead postpone school or licensure, or both, while I work full time and enjoy being a mom to school age kids. Life is long, school isn’t going anywhere and neither are the problems I’m hoping to study and help solve. Maybe that frantic need to get it all done now needs to be asked to take leave.
I haven’t quit anything yet. Quitting is not my strong suit (hence the reason I often have at least two jobs!). However, I have been agonizing over the future more than I tend to and that is never good. Reinventing is fun, but it is never easy. I’m pretty sure that’s why they call them growing pains. I for one can’t wait to see how this particular growth spurt ends.
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It will be exciting to see what you decide to do. Isn’t life about constant reinvention? 🙂
Wow! Wow! Wow! You never cease to amaze me with your drive and passion. The world is a better place because of you! Big hugs!
Jennie Perillo says
Life is just one big balancing act of what we need vs. what we want, right? None are easy decisions, but I know you’ll figure this out. You have an amazing husband to support your choices, and your kids are awesome, too. It’s not a bad thing for them all to see that mommy & wife needs to be Cristie, and pursue her passions. Just stay focused on what makes you mostly happy. Big hugs.