Have you ever had the feeling that the thing you were chasing was the thing everyone else wants, but it doesn't actually satisfy your definition of success?
Everyone else seems to sink right in, but maybe it doesn't feel right in your bones? Maybe you wonder why you’re rebelling in your heart, feeling a bit like a misfit.
I thought my life was supposed to look a certain way.
As a recovering people pleaser, I used to be a master at following the rules. I did precisely what I was told, and got the grades and promotions to validate that conformity was the celebrated path.
We get caught in the negotiation of what our parents want for us —maybe a bit of their own unfulfilled dreams?— what we see others do around us, and what we are fed by a constant stream of media.
So I chased the thing. I made the money.
I bought so much stuff that a bigger and bigger house was necessary to hold all my endorphin-inducing accumulations. At some point, the pursuit of it was the thing that kept me fulfilled, because it was distracting enough to keep me going.
This isn't wrong if it left me happy and fulfilled. Or if it didn’t wake me up repeatedly with 3 am insomnia. Or if I wasn’t sacrificing everything and everyone in my life to achieve it.
Even on the surface, I knew all of my acquired things were not enough.
The truth was, the things I had chased, that I had wanted so badly... Well, I wanted them because I was conditioned to want them. I'd been spoon-fed this story my whole life, and I had always obediently followed the path most-traveled.
I'm supposed to perfectly pursue my career for 40 years, make money to buy all the stuff, keep my opinions (and my voice) quiet, marry a man to create mini-versions of ourselves with, and eventually get that shiny retirement plaque alongside a large sheet cake.
I woke up at some point to realize I had fallen asleep at the wheel of my entire life.
I decided from there, I had no choice but to walk away from every part of it. Actually, I burned it all down because I needed the exquisite drama of it all to find my way to me again.
I got divorced, quit my cool corporate job, and moved into a teeny tiny studio. I also got new tattoos just for good measure.
I won't pretend I've figured it all out, or that I don't question myself sometimes. What I can say, is in this journey of tearing my life apart, I feel more awake and more alive than I've ever felt. I know that I’m intentionally choosing each part, and I have permission to choose a new piece when one stops serving me.
I’m discovering all these new sides of myself, and leaning into inner desires I may have pushed off because I thought they didn’t fit what I was supposed to be.
Maybe you already feel blissfully on the right path and have everything you want unfolding in front of you. Or maybe like me, you feel like you've been wearing a costume starring in someone else's play this whole time.
Maybe you, too, want to tear up your script and write something new.
I haven't found a formula for defining success, and honestly that's what makes me feel free. I figure if I can't find a consistent answer, this confirms the definition (which is always evolving) really is up to me. In the midst of this two-year sabbatical, I've tried on new versions of myself. I've slept 9+ hours for 4 nights in a row. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. I've learned how to re-frame ambiguity as exhilarating possibility.
I've stayed up too late, indulged in impromptu adventures, said yes repeatedly, and maybe fell in love with myself in the process.
I’m really liking this new brand of success.
Maybe you can join me, and we can write / erase / re-write together, applauding and loving each other all the way.
Maybe we can inspire each other to continue questioning and thinking differently, to dive into discomfort and uncertainty.
Maybe we can remind each other that the point is to connect and to laugh and to find ways to make ourselves and the world around us better.
Have the courage to pursue your path, even if it looks off-beat and unconventional. I promise, we're all here rooting for you.
This definition of success is yours to write, and most importantly, yours to live out loud.
After a lifetime of muscling my way up the corporate ladder I found myself a VP only to find my body stagnant and my soul hungry. I dove into a year sabbatical to explore the reality that I felt most alive on the mat. I decided that more than one version of Jean existed, and without a backward glance my path to Bohemian was nothing short of divine.
When a student says to me, “The outside world didn't exist, I sweated hard...and btw, I so love that Drake song," I know I have met my mission. Get down with me for a powerful and dynamic workout, and let's laugh out loud while building a deeper relationship with ourselves. And yes oh yes, do I love a good playlist—I get in a groove when I'm tiny-dipping and not able to tell the difference between the burn or the beat.
No other movement makes me smile the way barre does! Want proof? Once it's over... I want more. Was that dancing or bicep curls?
I'm a geek about anatomy and mobility, we get to have these bodies for a lifetime. More than that, I'm passionate about helping my community feel at home in their skin. Your movement journey is never too late... Join me!