In 2015 I decided to stop playing small.
For the first time in a long time I took a huge life shifting risk.
I moved back to my hometown to finish my Bachelor’s in a field I’m truly passionate about.
It’s surreal. I really enjoyed my job and was good at it! More importantly, I loved the incredible people I was privileged to work with. And I left this for what, you ask? Well, to move to a troubled city, return to my loving but demanding family, and see friends I felt I no longer knew.
I had a life that was comfortable, a good job, great friends, dinner parities and people to celebrate achievements with. But I hit a plateau. I couldn’t move forward in the way that meant most to me. So I took the time to unplug, analyze, trust my gut and plan a huge change.
To truly do the work I dreamed of.
My move in summer 2015 back to Baltimore was a rough transition. Bright sunny Texas was replaced with less lush streets laden with potholes and litter. Switching majors pushed me further away from graduation. And even though I was earning A’s in every class (for the first time ever!)… I was a 27 year old returning student who was studying alongside teenagers; kids who never worked and knew little about their surrounding world. Returning to school full time after working, paying my own bills, and living alone was… well, quite humbling.
In September I started working during school as a PRP (Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program) Counselor for a local agency in Baltimore City. I love my work. I’ve encouraged and coached friends, relatives, partners, co-workers, the list goes on, so this seems quite natural. I took immense joy in mentoring for Big Brother Big Sister and always stayed up on research in psychology and public policy. However this was my first experience counseling in a professional 1-on-1 setting. Heart wrenching stories of failures and triumphs provided context to the people and communities that once depressed me. I started to realize Baltimore wasn’t a city of failures (as it’s often framed) – but really a collection of survivors. Tough, gritty, real life survivors. I learned to face the things I ran from; the crime rate, drug use, poverty alongside my clients. And I am loving every challenge that comes from that.
I got a great start on 2016 by beginning the process of working toward my dream in 2015. Who knows what’s in store for the rest of this year but I know I’m ready to grab every opportunity with confidence and grace.
Cheers to a happier world for both you and me!