Finding the Courage to Follow My Dreams
A Lot of Life Change
I’ve had a lot of life change in a short amount of time. In Spring 2014, I finished my Master’s degree. A couple of months later, my beloved cat of 11 years unexpectedly passed away from kidney failure and other issues.
Later that year, I married my amazing husband, Brett. I inherited my now 12-year-old stepson, who lives about five hours away.
In the same weekend, I was promoted to a new rank in the military.
Then, Brett and I made the huge decision for me to leave my career as an active duty naval officer.
In the meantime, Brett and I became pregnant with our first child together. I am now 22 weeks along. We plan to move to another state to be closer to my stepson in about a year and a half.
Therefore, in a few short months, my life will look very different than it does now, and wildly different than it did just a few years ago. A lot has changed already: my last name (which is hyphenated), my decision-making, my priorities, my personal space, my time, my weekends, and even my friends. Whew!
While As I reflect (Kiki Reflects, get it? hee hee) on my life, the biggest change, for me, is the inward one: my identity. Many of these changes are ones I wanted and therefore actively sought. And in a way, that’s scary. It’s scary because I finally became an active participant in my own life.
Living a Lie
Before I met Brett, I was at a position I hated, working in a toxic environment, in a location I didn’t want to be in, in an unfulfilling relationship. I was so unhappy, and I felt as though I had little control in my own life. As a result, I went into “survival mode.” At work, I pretended I was okay, that this career and life was what I wanted. I trudged on with my schoolwork, steadily earning my Master’s degree in a field I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to continue in. I kept myself busy, earning additional certificates and attending courses. I was very successful, earning top grades in school and top marks in my career. But it wasn’t what I wanted.
I was living a lie. I had these secret goals and desires, yet my daily actions weren’t furthering any of them. It felt like a storm was consistently brewing inside of me. I often felt like a caged animal.
Then, I asked myself, deep down, what my dreams were. I found that I wanted to get married and have kids someday. I didn’t want a career in the Navy anymore. I wanted a creative outlet. I wanted to help others, particularly in the field of pyschology. I looked at my life and began changing it to look more of the way I wanted it to look.
Taking Steps Towards My Dreams
First, I ended the unfufilling, long-distance relationship I was in at the time. The one where I was emotionally drained after most interactions. The one with no clear future. The one where my dreams were seen as silly and stupid. It was difficult to end, but so freeing. It freed up space for more meaningful relationships. It allowed me to meet my soulmate.
Then, I met Brett. When we started dating, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is amazing. This is the way it’s supposed to be.” Our values aligned and I felt as though I could be myself, and that was okay. Not to mention that Brett happened to be the most attractive man I had ever dated, on the inside as well as out. I hate to admit, but Brett was the first one I was 100% honest with about my goals for the future. One of those goals was to get married and have kids someday. To my surprise, he didn’t run!
Brett encouraged me to pursue my dreams. To do that, I needed to free up more space in my life. I stopped selling cosmetics (something that didn’t really feel like me). I stopped teaching yoga for a while. I finally finished my Master’s degree (it took me four years of being a part-time student by the way. Man am I glad that’s over).
On Christmas day, 2013, Brett proposed (yay!), and we planned a beautiful wedding.
Our wedding was the happiest day of my life… until we discovered we were pregnant. Brett and I also worked hard to pay off all of our debt to become debt-free. Once we did that, we decided it was the right time for me to put in my paperwork to separate from the Navy.
A Sense of Peace
Therefore, even though my life is currently a hubbub of excitement, with a lot of life change, I feel more peaceful than I have in years. Because I finally had the courage to say what my dreams were. Out loud. Because someone else believed in me and encouraged me to follow those dreams. And because I am finally taking steps towards fulfilling those dreams.
What am I going to do after the Navy? I don’t have an exact plan for that yet. It’s going to involve something among being a wife and mother, writing, photography, and studying psychology. For the very first time in my entire life, I don’t have an exact plan. And I’m okay with that.