Friday, November 04, 2011

Resolutions Recap, Part I

Maybe I’m jumping the gun a bit, but with as fast as the days move lately, my mathematically-sound guesstimate is that 2011 will be over in approximately 15 seconds. With November here, I’ve become increasingly reflective--blame the weather--and I’m thinking a lot about what I have learned this year AND what I want to work on moving forward.

I did have resolutions in 2011, and I’m glad to say that somehow--this will come as a shock--I managed to fulfill at least one of those. And, it turned out to be the least likely of the bunch: Learn to enjoy my current job in marketing at The University.

Maybe it’s just because I put it out there into the Universe, but (huge surprise) I didn’t have to work too hard to make this happen. A lot of things shifted without me doing the shifting: Some coworkers moved on and new ones were hired; I actually made some friends at work (sounds pathetic, but it took awhile); I took on a lot of new responsibilities and became (a lot) busier; and I finally had opportunities to get to know my boss better.

Prior to this year, I knew I had it good at The University--from a work/life balance, functional workplace perspective. But while I was thankful for those things, I also kind of hated it. Even in spring 2011, my job depressed me. I felt stuck.

And then, sometime during the summer, I realized that I felt different. Not only did I not hate it anymore, I was kind of enjoying it, and I had finally stopped trying to come up with a Plan B. Now, I find myself telling people what I do with some enthusiasm (?!?!?) and how lucky I am to be in such a great work environment. I find myself looking at job openings not because I plan on leaving (I may never leave), but because I feel like maybe this isn’t the end for me in this field, maybe there is a next step--a step up.

Here’s the truth: I will probably never LOVE marketing with a burning passion. But I’ve found the that enjoying my job did provide me with at least one of the benefits I was hoping for--a little more focus outside of work to make some of my other goals happen. Rather than constantly being preoccupied with researching the path to a new career... um... path, acceptance of my current job, gave my brain some room think about how to make one of my other resolutions happen: Become a part-time Zumba Fitness instructor.

More on that later..

Resolutions Recap, Part II

Maybe there’s a little chicken versus egg going on here, but the point at which I started liking my job pretty much coincided with the point at which I became a Zumba Fitness instructor. But let’s first recognize what this really means... I not only managed to fulfill one resolution (the one about my job), I fulfilled a second one: Start teaching Zumba.

I was pretty serious about this goal last year, and yet, I didn’t actually think I would follow through. I’m a slow like that. Part of me dragged my feet because, you know, I have a full-time job and generally busy life. But that was an excuse.

There are a lot of Zumba instructors out there. Why? Because, as with many standardized and branded group fitness classes, it is freaking easy to get licensed to teach. And Zumba just happens to be really popular right now. Getting started seemed like it would take a lot of effort, and putting effort into things is not actually something I’m good at.

Here’s the other “excuse” I used to drag my feet: If I was going to be a group fitness instructor, I wanted to do it right. What a lot people don’t know about their friendly neighborhood Zumba instructor is this--there’s a decent chance he or she isn’t actually qualified to teach a safe group fitness class. Being “licensed to teach Zumba” just means that you paid money to take an eight-hour Zumba class, and now you’re legally allowed to use the brand name.

While what constituents actual qualification to teach is probably debatable, there is an industry standard: a nationally recognized group fitness instructor certification. Obtaining this is much harder than obtaining a license to teach Zumba--it involves studying for months (at least for me) then taking, and hopefully passing, a very long test. This process is called learning stuff and proving it (that’s the technical term).

A major part of my resolution was to pass the American Council on Exercise’s (ACE) group fitness certification exam. And after many months of trying to learn the science I never learned in high school or college (or grad school for that matter), I took the test, and by some small miracle, I passed.

I actually started teaching a few weeks before that momentous occasion, at a fitness organization in my neighborhood. It turned out that not much was required to get to gig. They just kind of gave it to me, which was weird then, but makes a lot more sense now that I understand that organization I work for is a little wackadoo (that’’s a whole other can of story that I will not open up on you now).

The point is, somehow I can check another 2011 goal off as complete. And, better still, I’ll be starting 2012 with a new Zumba job, one that I auditioned for and was offered fair and square, which, nice bonus, pays a little more.

The real bonus is that my Zumba job keeps me a little more focused at my real job. It was a place where I could channel my previously displaced restless/creative energy, which was previously aimlessly meandering around the Internet trying to come up with a plan for a new LIFE. It turns out, I really didn’t need a new life, I just needed a new hobby.

Of course, there were a few resolutions that were, um, less successful... stay tuned...