Last year, I was invited to the White House and it really represented one of those full circle moments in my life. It hit me as I was waiting to be processed through the 1) White House security along with 2) other youth influencers to attend a 3) White House Summit on the Affordable Care Act that I was really living my dream in that moment. The icing on the cake is that I was invited as a private citizen and I flew up for the day with the baby. It was a dream that I never would imagine happening in the life that I live now, a work from home mom to two small children living just outside of Atlanta.
I need to explain the context of why these are such special moments. What most people don’t know is that I graduated from The George Washington University, located a mere 4 blocks from the White House. I spent a (long) two years of my life working towards my graduate degree in Media and Public Affairs. A good portion of the time I focused on how the media influences the political landscape. And now I was being asked to put my education into action by tweeting, Facebooking and blogging about why young adults should sign-up for the ACA and learning more about it?!? For me as a former healthcare policy geek, it was perfect.
I really had to reflect on how I got here. My first job upon graduation was working as a research associate in a center for health policy. I worked on some amazing things that had a lasting impact on the lives of Americans like HIV, rural health care and technology transfer. I loved my work and planned on learning tons more. My goal back then would have been moving to work a Congressional staffer. All that changed, when I made the decision to get move after getting married. My husband and I decided that we’d have a quality of life more in line with what we wanted if I moved. He was totally supportive of moving to DC but when we compared our 2 bedroom apartments and what we paid for them, it was much easier for me to move. Here in GA, I went to work at some great places and also worked on some great projects like emergency preparedness and autism. Over the years, I’ve also became a mother to two adorable little boys and stepmother to a college sophomore. My husband’s career has also grown so again we made the choice for our quality of life for me to work from home.
That’s the professional route that got me here but the personal route is that I after my husband’s illness last year, I made the decision to just do it. I started the blog on March 4, have attended two blog conferences, entered (and won!) a vlogging contest, and even decided to apply to attend a White House briefing. All because I started the blog and have just decided to do it!
In that full circle moment, I realized that while my career path is not the same as I thought it would have been (I would have seen myself as a lobbyist now in life), my desire to have an impact on the world around me hasn’t and it doesn’t have to look like I thought it would. I still get to work on some amazing projects that change the world with my work (I really actually do – I’m just under confidentiality agreements for most of them), I get to have a voice through the media to help shape conversations about things that are important to me AND I get to take care of my family and have the quality of life/work balance that I need, all of which are incredibly important to me.
Ultimately, this is what my life (and my blog title) is about. It’s about being able to have enough of what headband I’m wearing today. My life doesn’t have full circle moments in when I get to have an “oh wow!” moment every day but I do realize that each day is part of this wonderful and very full life that I’m creating. It’s not always easy, but it’s mine. I used to wonder if I’d look back and regret moving from DC. I can say with all certainty that while I miss some things about it, I don’t regret a single part of my life.