Riding life’s ups and downs

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Posted by Kim K.

Ever since I resigned from my full-time position at Chicago Parent last summer, I have been searching for the next step. What can I do with my life that makes sense and that I enjoy? I have had a year of self exploration and soul searching to see what to do next. One of the things that I got excited about was teaching exercise.

For more than a year I have been taking exercise classes regularly (about three to four times a week). An email came in May looking for teachers to audition. Could I be a teacher? Should I even go for it? Even though I am not a perfect 10 (not a size 10 but a Bo Derek 10), should I put myself out there? It was a hard decision to make, and I thought about it long and hard.

I got up the courage to audition. I had never done anything like this before. It really challenged me in so many ways, and I loved getting outside of my comfort level. Then they called me back for an interview.

It turns out that it wasn’t the happy ending I had hoped for. I didn’t get the offer to train to be a teacher. While I never expected it to really happen, I had really hoped that it would.

The day I got this news, I was with my kids trying to put on the happy mom face, trying to fake that I wasn’t upset. The kids were fighting and yelling so I turned to them and said very calmly. “Listen, this isn’t my best day. I didn’t get the job that I was hoping for and I am upset about it.” They are almost 8 and 5, so I knew that they would understand what I was saying (in code that meant stop fighting, I am not feeling patient and I am not in a great mood). There was about 15 seconds of quiet. And, then the questions started:

Why didn’t you get the job?

Are you very upset?

If you wanted it, then why didn’t you get it?

I decided this could be a good learning lesson for my kids, despite my day of disappointment and sadness. I simply told them that sometimes in life we don’t get what we want. Whether it’s a job. Or, a part in a play. Or, even the second grade yearbook team. I explained that sometimes you might try out for a sport and you might not make the team. Or, you might not get invited to a party that you had hoped you’d be included in. I told them that through life things like this happen and you need to be prepared for it when it does. I explained that sometimes it works out. And, sometimes it doesn’t.

I know in their future, especially if they take after me, they are going to feel like they are on top of the world some days and at the bottom of the world other days. I would love to say that I will protect them from the evils and letdowns of life, but realistically we know that this isn’t possible.

I think it’s good for them to know that life’s not always going to be perfect. This way, they don’t have an unrealistic expectation of the world. It might sound negative, but I think that there’s something to be said about giving your children a glimpse of the truth.

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