I never really knew growing up what I wanted to do or what I wanted to be.

For the most part, I knew school was important and honor your parents.  I wasn’t always fully enthused by school because I was a shy person and I also didn’t like to share out about myself.  But for all the years of my life, I always knew those were important.

So for decades–I got good grades, played some sports, dabbled with music, the arts, and maybe a little too much fun while I was in college.   I liked a lot of things, but never really fell in love with many.  I liked hanging out with friends, listening to music, writing on Xanga, riding bikes or roller blading, Gameboy Color… and I kinda liked playing the piano, reading books, and getting Pizza Hut with my family when I read enough books.  I was a pretty low-key kinda chick, but mostly because I had a curfew until probably I was 20, and I didn’t like the spotlight.  Was there anything I loved?  Not many things, really.  (Hell if I even knew what love really was at that young age, haha.. this is getting too deep).

However, through it all, I always made my education a priority as well as made sure to make my parents happy.  Besides, it was always made known that you have to “finish school first.” (I always wondered if finishing school meant I’d no longer have a curfew and gave me a rite of passage to finally do whatever I wanted).

Though fitness is such a large part of my life currently, it was never a central part of my childhood aside from the regular outdoor play, recreational sports and grade/high school teams and well… okay, Co-Ed Cheerleading was pretty serious in my senior year of high school!  So much so that I actually first became a cheerleading coach in the summer of 2009 when I graduated.  That was my first shot at coaching.  I sort of kick myself in the butt sometimes about how busy I was in high school… I was busy all the time.  It was a double-edge sword when I found out my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  I liked being busy–it meant less time to worry or think about what might happen every time he laid down for a nap. but looking back, I always wish I wasn’t though–I wish I just laid down to take a nap with him.

Losing my father to pancreatic cancer during my teenage years was a trying time.  In the moment, though I was 15, I still had trouble fully accepting that I no longer had one of the closest people in my life with me anymore.  I never got a chance to grow up with who would probably become my kid’s grandfather, or my future husband’s best friend, and as always, my one and only dad.  It only emphasized for myself that I couldn’t let him or my mom down… I just wanted to show them that they didn’t work so hard and make all those sacrifices for nothing.

It wasn’t ALWAYS this way, especially through some darker days, but eventually, I realized I needed not to act on a basis of pleasing my parents, or others, but I needed to act on the pursuit of excellence–doing the very best for myself, and settling for nothing less.

In 2013, I graduated from the University of Illinois in with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and became a middle school teacher in language arts.  Naturally, I also took on the role of one of the school’s cheerleading coaches!  Around the same time in 2014, I also began coaching CrossFit classes to pay off my expensive. after-school hobby.  In 2016, I graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a Master’s in Education, and I was honored with a Lighthouse Award for Middle School Teacher by my colleagues.  So then… the un-imagineable happened.

In 2017, I left the field of education, and formally became a full-time coach at CrossFit Des Plaines for Group Fitness and Nutrition .  While school had always held a place near and dear to my heart (more than ever before), and I always knew I needed to honor my parents, clearly this was quite the dilemma.

However, I became conscious about my energy, my thoughts, and my actions–I knew that there was a fire within that grew each time I stepped foot in the doors of the gym.  I could talk miles on end about the importance of nutrition and lifelong health with others.  I started to spend more time and energy on my hobby than on my work.

Now, I’m working to pave my new path outagain with diligence.  Though this new journey was not necessarily what I had envisioned, a year ago, or several years ago when I was a child and we were asked to share “What do you want to be when you grow up”?  I have re-mapped my goals, set up plans and establish personal and professional focal points for each week, and while there will still be a handful of uncertainties and unknowns, I’ll be ready to take them on.

Yes, school is important, and yes, I still honor my parents.  However, I have a broader understanding of my values, now that I’m older.  Many of these values, with a tie to health and fitness, will be shared through my stories and experiences on this blog.  Hope you find something on here worthy of your time.  If not, here’s at least a cute picture of my dog, Mr. Murphy!