This is why I have so many hats and shoes

Yesterday I had the opportunity to get together with my childhood best friend of almost 30 years. She no longer lives in the Washington DC area but she has family that still does. Once a year she come back to this area and we always get together. Over times of get togethers have moved from it being "just us" and staying up late and talking about coming-of-age topics to it including our daughters, her mom and grandmom, and us drinking red wine and talking about being-of-age and what it's like compared to what we thought it would be like. Our lives couldn't be more different even if we tried to make them that way. 

She is a a stay-at-home mom, married (almost 20 years), with two kids in private school, and living in a big house with marble counter tops. She is going to Ireland (soon) and New York City and any place as she might like to go in the remaining time of this year. 

Me, on the other hand, I'm a work out-of-the-home mom. I tried so hard to stay married (and even make it to year seven) but I barely made it even that long because of a textbook domestic violence and abusive situation that I had no idea was so bad until after there were serious interventions. I don't know that I will ever live in a home bigger than I could clean in less than two hours. My travels for this year will be limited to what will be required for my day job OR to meet with my parents who help as much as they can to help me try and be a hardworking, committed to my goals (for being a mom and still having a career) despite all I have been through. 

Give a woman the right pair of shoes and she can conquer the world.

Yesterday the topic came up (from my best friend's mom who has known me since I was school-aged) of why I didn't go from teaching K-12 to teaching at the college level. She is working in higher education and I have talked to her a lot of times (through the years) of best practices for teaching pedagogy and how that can be used in visual art and design curriculum. Since I have my Masters in Education and used to work as a teacher and department head of an art and design department in K-12 education, I've done my best to share what I have figured out works in education to help her with her college-age students. 

She asked me, "Are you really going to stay in construction? You really and truly should be teaching at the college-level. Seriously."

Just to clarify things, I do work in construction management but I work in corporate construction management and I work in regional operations and business development in a very corporate environment. When I first transitioned into the industry (after working independently in consulting and prior to that being what I thought was a career classroom teacher), I was working in "the field" and not in a corporate office where I now work. 

This is a bathroom selfie of what I am more likely to wear to work even when working in construction management. And, to really be fair, I don't normally dress up so much like this. I wore this because I forgot to do laundry to wear what I would have rather worn. #keepinitreal

I have and I do wear my safety and construction get-up if/when I go out to the field because (on occasion) I still do that. This includes steel toed boots and a hardhat and a safety vest...

I wear Skechers Steel Toe Boots for women in a size 6.

Does the fact that I don't wear my construction get-up on the daily mean that I don't work in construction management? Uhm no. Actually, I almost always have my hardhat and safety vest and boots with me just in case I have to run out to the field for anything. It typically doesn't happen that I have to do impromptu trips to job site but you never know so it doesn't hurt to be prepared like that.

But, circling back to what my best friend's mom asked me, why don't I do teaching anymore? And if I love art so much (because I really do), don't I miss working everyday in the arts? And doing what I do for my dayjob work, am I shorting myself of what I really really love?

Requisite Father's day artwork I created for my dad in oil pastels on cradled Aquabord.  I have been seriously studying (and within that teaching) visual art since the early 2000s. The key to getting good at something is to never give up on yourself as much is never give up on trying to learn more, refine the skills you will develop, and practice as much as you can.

Uhm. No. I actually really enjoy my dayjob because I consider working in corporate construction management to be still working in the art and design world but on a much grander scale.

I also really enjoy my day job because (unlike the teaching position I used to be in), the work I do is appreciated and respected far more than it ever has been. And in the work I'm doing now? I have more time AND energy to be the mom I always wanted to be while still feeling like I actually have a legitimate career path to invest and apply myself. I also still can enjoy doing artwork (see picture above) and share it with those I love as much as help them experience art appreciation on a personal level just as much as I used to do with the students I worked alongside.

I'm not too caught up in whether or not I will eventually go to teaching higher education or how long I will do construction management work. If there is one thing I have learned through the many things I have gone through, it's that those sort of details aren't nearly as important as the big picture of how/who/what things really are.

Ultimately, I want to be able to feel like I made a difference in the day I lived and the work I did and I want to (always) be able to look in the mirror and say that I did everything I did, with everything I have, and any opportunity I have been offered. And that, blog friends, is why I don't mind wearing whatever hat (or shoes) I might ever have to.

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