It was really interesting to see everyone’s New Year’s Eve posts about how far they’ve come in the last decade. For me, 2010 was the year I graduated from college. It’s safe to say a LOT changed in those ten years. It caused me to ask myself some hard questions. What decisions did I make in the past ten years that were true game changers to me? Even though some of the decisions scared the crap out of me, which ones changed my course and brought me to where I am today?
Transferring to CCSU
I spent my freshman year at Stonehill College, outside of Boston, and it was a humbling experience. Even though I was so grateful to be there, I had to work so hard to quiet the voice in the back of my head. The voice was telling me that I just couldn’t afford to be there. I was planning to leave in four years with a teaching degree and more debt than I could handle. I applied to CCSU on a whim and I couldn’t say no when they offered me a full-ride in the Honors Program. Transferring to CCSU was one of the best decisions and experiences of my life and I am forever grateful I took the leap.
Saying Yes to More Than Friends
My husband and I were actually best friends in college. We met in September of 2006 and were quickly inseparable. While it was never said aloud, we were both terrified of taking it to the next level. We knew that if we did, it meant that it was the beginning of forever or the beginning of the end. He finally asked me on a date in April of 2007 and well, the rest is history.
Investing in Myself
I was desperate to find a passion during a dark season I went through. A creative outlet and something to get me through the cold, dark winter were what I needed. One day, I was poking around on Pinterest and found a photography class that looked interesting. I had a DSLR camera that my parents gave us for our honeymoon. I knew that I needed this to dig myself out of the rut I found myself in so I decided to go for it. It was definitely an investment, to say the least, but eight months later, that investment turned into Sharon Leger Photography. I haven’t looked back since!
Taking Long Maternity Leaves
People always tell me how “lucky” we were that I could take long maternity leaves. While yes, we were fortunate my employer would hold my job while I stayed home with both of my girls for 8 months. But I definitely wouldn’t call it “luck”. We worked incredibly hard to save up enough money to fund these 8 months and to buy back 12 months of my retirement at the end. All I’m saying is, if you have the chance, take it. You never, ever get this time back – I just registered my first baby for kindergarten. You will never regret it, I promise.
Big Decisions: Working Part-Time
I have wanted to be a teacher since I can remember. To this day, I still believe it’s in my DNA. I was a full-time 5th grade teacher for 8 years and then an opportunity arose to work part-time as a reading interventionist. With two young children at home, I desperately wanted more time with them and less frantic-ness in my life. I almost didn’t go for the part-time job, until one of my colleagues told me to crunch the numbers. She convinced me that we could make it work, we just need to figure out how. I’m not sure she will ever understand how much her words impacted me and changed our family’s path. I will be forever grateful. That being said, it was definitely one of the hardest decisions of my life.
Hiring a Cleaning Lady
OK, this one is more trivial, but I am on a mission to normalize the overwhelm that is motherhood. Like many people, I am very impacted by my environment. At least once a month, I would find myself in the midst of a panic attack, triggered by the state of the house. Despite the fact that I was keeping alive a newborn, a 2-year old, a shedding dog, a budding business and a part-time job, I still had this belief that I needed to have a picture-perfect house. We brought in a local woman to give us a quote. I’m pretty sure I hugged her at the end of our meeting. I haven’t had one of those panic attacks since, and it’s worth not being able to go out to dinner as much to be able to afford it.
In conclusion, as I say good-bye to the last decade, I can’t help but be thankful for all the decisions, opportunities, love and lessons it brought. I am living the dream life 2010 Sharon fantasized about, and 2020 Sharon is ready to make some big changes, no matter how scary they seem. I am eternally thankful that you’re on this ride with me.