I feel like I am finally coming into my own at the age of 40. As a person who has moved around a lot since turning 18, it’s taken me a long time to figure out the things that make me happy and that make me feel most like myself. I’m Erin.
The First Big Choice
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Although I had a happy and privileged childhood, most of the things I loved doing — hiking, skiing and being outdoors — meant my needing to be somewhere other than the Midwest. When it was time to go to college, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. So, I decided simply that I wanted to go somewhere else. Somewhere that made me wake up every morning with a smile on my face. This decision led me to the University of Colorado, where I majored in Broadcast Journalism. It’s also where I met my husband, Jake. He was in Air Force ROTC at the time, so our relationship eventually led to my being a military spouse who had zero idea about anything military related.
I quickly realized that it would be tough to pursue the career of my choice while moving around every three or so years. That led me to get a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology, as well as my teaching certificate. I could likely teach anywhere. Then we moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, and my priorities again changed a bit. Jake went on his first deployment. I had to dig deep to figure out what made me feel like myself. I became a fitness instructor and substitute teacher. And then? We had our first baby.
We moved to Tucson, Arizona, when our daughter was three months old. I started a playgroup with other moms like me and we were each other’s family through lonely times, good times, milestones, holidays, and deployments. I was a stay at home mom. My sole purpose was to make sure my family had all of its needs met. It wasn’t always easy. There were many times when that felt like a lonely place to be, but it became a little less lonely with the birth of our second daughter.
The years that followed included four more moves to California, Germany, Georgia, and now Colorado Springs. Each place we have lived has left me with experiences that have shaped me. I have been the leader of a running club, the head of the parent volunteers at an international school which afforded me the opportunity to sit on the Board. I am a podcaster, an emerging artist, and an activist and the founder of a grass roots organization here in Colorado Springs.
My first job has always been as a mom to my two girls who are growing up quickly. I want them to know that the world is their oyster, as long as they are kind humans and try to be their best selves. That our plans sometimes have to change and that flexibility can be your best friend and biggest teacher.
Now that I am 40, I feel like I am truly finding my voice. I know what gives me purpose and I feel like I have things to say. I hope to be a light to others who have had to adapt to changes of their own and an inspiration to those who are still trying to find their way.