Monday, June 15, 2009

The Waiting Game . . .

Hey y'all! I thought this post would be appropriate since I am in the middle of tapering and anxiously waiting for marathon day to get here (as I'm sure you're all WELL aware of by now). What you may not know, though, is that I am waiting for some other HUGE things in life right now. NO, I'm NOT preggers. So sorry, but there won't be any Irish Jr.'s running around quite yet. Instead, what I'm waiting for is my "grown-up life," as I like to think of it.

I've been at my current job for (shudder!!) almost three years now. Never in a million years did I expect to be here so long. You see, I took the job with the (simply horrible) idea that I wanted to go to law school. Luckily, I'm not a complete moron, and I ultimately came to realize that while I'd make a great lawyer, I'd probably end up seriously miserable and completely unfulfilled were I to head in that direction. It just wasn't worth it. Rather, it was time for Plan B (again with the pregnancy references--geez!). Except, uh, there kind of wasn't actually a Plan B.

In an ideal world, that would be fine. I'd have plenty of time on nights and weekends (if not during the workdays) to explore other options. Sadly, though, my job (even more-so than other NYC paralegal gigs) demands really long, stressful hours. I work at a firm that has been extremely lucky to be staffed with really smart and hard-working litigation paralegals (like moi, obvs) who somehow manage to do the work of ten people, despite the fact that there are just three of us in the department. And because we've somehow made it work and gotten everything that's asked of us done (by basically killing ourselves--almost literally, in some cases), they refuse to hire anyone to help us out. Thus, the attorney to paralegal ratio remains WAY out of whack compared to most NYC firms, and we are pretty much destined to work long, horrible, high-stress hours as long as we're here. We don't exactly have the luxury of free time.
Still, I knew I needed to find a new direction, so I forced myself to make time to explore other options (who needs sleep, right?). It just . . . uh, took a while (**plucks grey hair from head**) .

First I entertained the thought of pursuing an interior design career. It made sense, considering I LOVED watching all things HGTV and spent countless hours rearranging the furniture and decor in the apartment. I went so far as to sign up for continuing ed drawing classes and an online intro to interior design class. But in the end, I had so little free time, I dropped out of both. But you know what's funny? Despite being so busy I had to quit classes I'd paid hundreds of dollars to take, I still managed to find time to run and blog (a little foreshadowing, perhaps?). This taught me something--that while I do enjoy interior design, maybe I wasn't quite as passionate about it as I'd originally thought. I figured it was probably yet another one of the trillions of things I was interested in that would work far better as a hobby than a career. On to the next idea . . .

Educational Policy. It was something I'd always been really passionate about (perhaps TOO passionate about). And it would be SO rewarding to be able to work towards improving our nation's schools. But somewhere along the way, I dropped this idea, realizing it might end up stressing me out FAR too much. I'm just one of those people who gets completely consumed by her work, and I knew I wouldn't be able to turn this one off when I left at the end of the day (that is, IF I ever left at the end of the day!). It would devour me in very much the same way my Summer Internship at the Central Ward Boys and Girls Club in Newark, NJ did (I put so much pressure on myself with regards to improving my students' test scores, I ended up giving myself an ulcer--oopsies!). I clearly didn't want that.

With my next direction, I decided to look into Sports Management programs. After all, I DO love sports . . . how cool would it be to work for a professional sports team or a college or something along those lines? I was getting a little closer with this one--but still not quite close enough. I gave up the idea of B-School after the economy started tanking.

FINALLY, it came to me one day as I was reading "Brain Training For Runners" by Matt Fitzgerald on the subway purely for pleasure (nerdy, right?). I was reading a chapter that was quite heavy with the physiology talk--one in which Fitzgerald himself admitted that the reader should, "feel free to skim or skip"--when suddenly it hit me. "Why didn't I think of this before?! I want to go back to school to study kinesiology and sports nutrition!!" For the first time, family members and friends actually shook their heads in agreement rather than scoffing and rolling their eyes. After all, it was the "hobby" I had stuck with the longest. And I was CERTAINLY passionate about it; although not to the point where I might lose sleep at night worrying about the subject. It sounded . . . well, too good to be true!

That brings us to now. I'm doing a little independent study about the subject while looking into masters programs--specifically programs that are willing to combine both kinesiology/exercise science and nutrition. I think my ultimate goal is to go into sports nutrition, but I want to keep other options open.

So basically, I write all of this just to put it out there. To let people know that this is my intention--so that it all becomes that much more "real". The plan is to study for and take the GRE and look into schools over the next several months. The difficult thing, of course, is that where I go to school will basically depend on where Wilson ends up taking a job. He's in an animation program right now, which should finish up about a year from now. Depending on where he takes a job (Austin, San Fran, LA, NYC, Toronto, possibly other locations), I'll have to find a program that's close by. But I'm seriously excited about both of us FINALLY being so close to our chosen career paths. We're like almost real adults!

AND? Depending on where we move (we'll almost definitely be moving SOMEWHERE in August of 2010, as we're both kind of sick of NYC), we might even get to buy a house and/or a puppy dog (or two)!!! EEEK! So exciting :) It's like my mother always said, "I hated my twenties. I had no clue what I was doing. It wasn't until my thirties that I finally felt like I had a handle on life." I, of course, was convinced that I was the exception to this rule for a VERY long time--and that I would just never figure it all out. But you guys, I finally sort of kind of feel like I'm moving in the right direction! WOOOO! Go Irish, be an adult! Anyway, enough rambling for now. Suffice it to say that I finally feel like life is working itself out. And? Only one more year of this awful job before I can Q-U-I-T!! Yippy! :)

Coming soon will be my weekend report where I disgust you with the sheer amount of pig and cow I consumed in over the course of an afternoon. Be afraid, my friends. Be VERY afraid!


Running and living said...

It's such a great feeling to figure out what you want to do during the "grown up" years. I think you will not regrete taking your time on this one - graduate school is a huge investment (time and money)! Good luck with it! Ana-Maria

Lisa said...

Good luck finding the right school. How exciting to find a direction to go in!

I really recommend going through the RRCA coaching program During the class, I enjoyed the science stuff better than some of the other stuff. It really made me want to go back to school for exercise physiology! I knew we had a lot in common (although I am pretty sure I am close to your mom's age than yours *wink*)

I do agree with your mom. Thirties are WAY better than twenties. My twenties were fun and there is a certain feeling of freedom that you lose when you become a "grown up." My thirties were much more fulfilling.

Fair Weather Runner said...

wow reading this post makes me like ya even more. especially the last sentence, i can't wait to hear about the pig and cow!! but seriously, i was so lost and miserable in my 20's, being 30 is totally where it's at! i heart it. and good for you, it took me years and years to figure out what i wanted to do... not sure i'm even there yet, but getting closer.

and uhhhh, good call on the law school thing. i actually narrowly escaped that one too. i actually met ed at a law school open house! now watching what he does every day, soooo relieved i didn't go that route! i would have been miserable.

lindsay said...

lol. i was all about law school at one point too. unlike you though, i don't know what i want to do when i grow up. i'm mostly wishing that day just never comes. well, i wouldn't mind enjoying my job and having a meaningful life. i wonder if this is a common thing for people in this generation - to want to do work they love/enjoy? i don't know how all the older people where i work can possibly ENJOY what they do, this blows.

anyway, i'm glad you have been spending time trying to figure out your wants and needs, and are on a mission to make it all happen! best of luck in figuring it all out - though all those cities sound fun!

X-Country2 said...

Aww, your excitment is inspiring! Good for you. This seems like a great path for you, and I wish you nothing but the very best. :o)

aron said...

this is so exciting and awesome :) its so hard to figure out what we want to do with our lives... its great to be excited about it when we figure out what that might be! good luck girl!

Anonymous said...

That is all very exciting news! It is great to know what you want to do and what study you want to pursue. With the upcoming possible move, you are in for a whole lot of exciting times.

Sounds great! Keep us posted.

Thank you for the book title.

Good luck on the taper and keep us posted.

Heather C said...

How Exciting! Your job does sound like absolutely insane hours - I always assumed if you liked it, then it was worth it? If not..move on!!! You deserve normalcy and something that you're passionate about. I'm so thankful that somebody pushed me during my Undergrad days to actually pursue Nutrition. Finding something where you'll ENJOY the job (which, you clearly will, with anything Sports/Exercise related!) makes such a huge difference. Keep us all posted, obvi ;)

Nitmos said...

Maybe...professional marathoner? Maybe you'll get the bug after knocking out this one coming up. Enjoy the taper!

Rachel said...

How exciting! I can totally relate to trying to find a chosen path. I sometimes think I am still going to end up in that spot again once I finish my Masters. Good luck with the new direction!!

EmLit said...

Thanks for sharing your goals! I completely agree that writing them down makes them more concrete :) I am so excited for you and I hope this new path brings you happiness and fulfillment! I have felt the same way as you, sort of bouncing around from one thing to the other, but I think we are both starting to figure it out, so yay for both of us!!

Paige said...

Ok, seriously? This is just so bizarre! I found your blog when I was catching up on my friend Jeremy's "Story of a Red Shirt" blog and decided I'd check yours out. I read your entry about Atayne (I love it when people randomly come across Atayne, so cool!) and then scrolled down to this one. I'm not even kidding, we are in the exact same boat!

I'm a legal assistant in Chicago, going on three years now and I never in a million years thought I'd still be doing it after three years, ugh! Once upon a time I thought I wanted to be a lawyer...what was I thinking?

Beginning of this year I decided I needed to make a huge change and finally try to figure out what I wanted to do. Looked into B-school, even took a GMAT study course, hated it. Thought about law school again, oh wait, I would go POSTAL if I were a lawyer! Then one day a friend asked me what I would do if time and money were no issue, and without hesitating I said I'd want to go to school to be a physical therapist and work with runners.

So, I sold my condo, moved in with family, picked my top schools, found a community college that had all the prerequisite courses I needed and signed up for classes, AND I get to quit my awful legal job in two months!!!

Lol, kindred spirits, I tell ya. Your post hit so close to home that I had to share that with you. Good luck in all you do, I think it's awesome that you're doing this for yourself. Rock on!

The Laminator said...

Oh Irish...are you leaving NY already? I feel like I've only begun to know you.

Anyway, great to hear that your life is heading on a more positive direction.

I think sports nutrition would fit you well, given your athletic prowess and love of food.

Best of luck in whatever direction the next chapter of your life leads you.