Sunday, October 4, 2009

Scenes from parallel lives

I think that you are always going to be in the right place at the right time.

But you can never know where you would have ended up if you had taken a different fork in the road, and it's always kind of interesting to think about.  What would have been gained, what would have been lost, and what was inevitably going to happen no matter what choices you made?  Here are some things that I might have done, but didn't...

September, 2007

My friend Jackie is going to teacher training in Hawaii.  She tells me I need to come with her.  Instead of staying home, saving money, and applying to grad schools, I say "what the hell," and sign up.  I've only just recently returned to Bikram yoga after quitting ballet, but my studio owners love me and think I have potential.  They give me a 2 week crash course in dialogue before putting me on the plane.  It's awesome.  I come home after training, go back part-time to the restaurant job that I hate, teach full time in downtown Boston for a while.  Two years later - who knows??

(Instead I stayed in Boston, did my first 30 day challenge, did my first yoga competition, got to know my teachers, got to know the other students, and found a new community right where I was.)

March, 2008

After getting into grad school in January, I decide to seize the opportunity and go to teacher training before starting school again.  I can do it ALL.  I spend all of my savings and buy a plane ticket to Acapulco.  It's awesome.  Just a couple months after graduating, I leave my support system and move cross-country, flat broke, to start grad school.  I get to my new yoga studio as a brand new baby Bikram teacher and no one helps me with dialogue.  I'm a new grad student, a new yoga teacher, and a new Californian all at once.  It's a bit much.

(Instead I finished paying my dues in the service industry.  I came home from work at midnight every night and read Jen's daily TT blog update while eating EasyMac for dinner.  I saved up enough money to buy a car, take a cross-country road trip, furnish a new apartment, and eventually go to advanced seminar.  I met my yoga mentor and spent time with her every week for 6 months.  I learned SO much of what I know now from that time period.)

September, 2008

I've deferred grad school for a year so I can go to the Acapulco training.  I am so ready.  Four other girls from my studio whose names all start with J are at the training.  I am the 5th J.  It's awesome.  I come back and teach 15 classes a week at all studios around Boston.  I get great mentoring and feedback from all the studio owners, and start to get the hang of this teaching thing.  I realize that this is an exhausting way to make a living, and I'm a little bit relieved to start school the next fall and do something besides yoga.  I don't get to research LEDs like I wanted to because the research group is full and there's less funding in 2009 than there was in 2008.

(Instead, I had the best week of my life when I drove from Boston to LA with my best friend.  I had a shitty fall and was homesick all the time.  I got exactly the research job that I wanted, but it wasn't that thrilling.  I got to meet Bikram and Emmy in LA.  I competed at championships in LA and met a whole new group of cool yoga people.  I learned how to be a Bikram yogi outside of my safe little bubble.)

(If there is one that I regret missing, it's this one.)

April, 2009

I drop out of grad school after the first 6 months, pack up the car, take out a huge credit card loan, and go to teacher training in Palm Springs.  My family is horrified.  Except for my two closest friends, I never speak to anyone from UC Santa Barbara again.  I'm roommates with one of my friends from New England.  It's awesome.  After training, I keep on driving east until I get back to Boston.  I have job offers from at least 5 different studios in Massachusetts.  One of the studio owners lets me stay at her house.  I get to teach for my mentor.  I get to teach as many classes as I can handle, and then some.  I love what I'm doing, but it's a little hard to justify sometimes.  I never go back to engineering.

(Instead, I decided to wait things out with academia a little longer.  I got a new research supervisor and things turned the corner a bit.  I started to enjoy my new home.  I started writing.  I went from Zen-like acceptance to total impatience and back again.  But I didn't renew my housing lease, either.)

October, 2009

I decide that a year of grad school is enough.  I follow through on the plans that I made during the first weekend of February.  I pack my car and drive to Vegas.  I have to say goodbye to a lot of people.  I still can't decide whether to teach in Cali for a while or hightail it back to New England.  I don't know if I'm done here yet.  I stay with Michelle before training and I'm in posture clinics with Mei.  I check into the Las Vegas Hilton today.  It's awesome.  I don't know what happens next.

(Instead, I end up finding a beautiful new house and putting down a couple more roots.  My sister moves out to the west coast and stays with me for the year.  I go out dancing on Fridays, I meet new people, I have friends over for dinner every Monday.  I get a great new research topic, which I have yet to follow through on, but I want to, really.  I bring new teachers into the yoga studio.  I keep studying, communicating, learning, figuring out my way.  I have a good life, but it's not quite complete yet.  I don't know what happens next.)

You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You get what you need...

(Sometimes the old themes are best....)


Shabs said...

Hi! I've just been catching up on some blog-reading after being out of the loop for a while, and oooh I like this!

I like the thought that if you want to do something badly enough then you will make it happen at some point, even if you have to be patient for a while. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that :)

Dorothy said...

I like to do the Sliding Doors version of my life every New Year. It's fun to see what you've done and what you haven't (or haven't yet). And sometimes it's cool to see what isn't important anymore and what remains important. Sometimes the reflection also reminds me that I need to get my ass in gear.

a. said...

I know the Bikram teacher life isn't the one for me because I'm not bendy enough and just not yoga enough... but I like to think about alternate roads and yet still come back to thinking that right here, right now is where I'm supposed to be. Ok, that's a lie - I don't like to think that but I'm trying to be zen and spiritually evolved and think like that! kinda hard when i'm unemployed, single, not at all zen and relaxed.
The teacher training will be there for you when the time is right!

thedancingj said...

Hey Shabs, welcome back from vacation! Glad you liked this one. I always need to remind myself, too. :)

Dorothy, yep, exactly! I thought the best part of that movie was how certain things in the main girl's life changed completely, but other things ended up happening no matter WHAT else happened...

a. - Thanks for the kinds words. :) Let's hope that your less-than-ideal situation now is going to lead you into an awesome place in the future! Sometimes it works out that way. And sometimes you do have to MAKE it happen. It's ok to not be happy all the time. (Also, I see nothing wrong with being single... you can still be fabulous....)

aHappyYogi said...

Oh J, I feel so with you!

But some things has to be done in a way that does not follow the same way as others.

I to wish I could be in Vegas this year and I know that even if I'm not the bendiest person or I have lots of stuff still to work on before being a good role-model in the front row I know I would be a good teacher.

I would be a good teacher, yes I would! I have been teaching both math to kids who don't want to learn, scuba-diving and Bujinkan with great results and feedback.
I would be a great teacher for I while until my brain started to annoy me for not getting the space to think and develop and to use that engineering part of myself. Then I would not be a good teacher anymore.

I will go to teacher training one day. One day when I can take 3 months of from my work and come back and continue to work part-time with both the teaching and my other work.
I have ideas how to finance it all but it is not the time for me yet. It will come. First things first.

In the meantime I will read the blogs from TT, educate myself with the great teachers that we have at the studio and learn as much as possible and of course do as much yoga as I can. I am also looking forward to the next time the company I work for will send me to California for a conference so I can visit the Headquarters, last year when I was over I had the worst cold ever (and it didn't get better during 2 long flights) so it was not even to be thought about.

Your time will come to go to TT, in the meantime develop the other stuff that makes a person a great teacher!

hannahjustbreathe said...

As Dorothy said, this post reminded me so much of "Sliding Doors." (Love that movie.) I guess the best part of this, though, is that you're still happy where you are, right now. You've made the best of your decisions. I think that's the most we can ask of ourselves once we've made a choice.

bikramyogachick said...

I felt a little bit of the "what if's" flooding through me when i dropped Mei off yesterday at training. As I walked by the big white Bikram tent set up in the north end of the parking lot at the Hilton...what if I was going to spend the next nine weeks here? Someday.....perhaps we'll go together! :)

thedancingj said...

Cristina, you read my mind, especially that last sentence. It sounds like you will be a great teacher eventually, too. We are on the same boat. Glad to be sharing it with you. :)

Michelle, it's a weird moment, isn't it?? So near but so far...

Hannah, yeah, I definitely made the decision to look at all the great things that HAVE happened and NOT be sad about the things I haven't done yet. And it MOSTLY worked!!

Anonymous said...

You're young, and you don't know the freedom you have to make choices, to live your life for yourself, to move about. Go to teacher training the next time it is offered. Each of these opportunities may be the last. I am not interested in teacher training or teaching yoga at all, but I did a similar intensive, multi-week experience when I was your age that completely changed my life. When you have kids, a mortgage, a regular job, it will be nearly impossible to set it all aside and get away for nine weeks. Follow your heart. Go, go, go!

Duffy Pratt said...

This all depends on whether you subscribe to the Robert Frost or the Robert Plant theory.

Frost: Two roads diverged in a wood and I,
I took the one less travelled by
And that has made all the difference.

Plant: Yes there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
There's still time to change the road you are on.

Like most profound sentiments, both the thought and its denial are equally true and profound.

thedancingj said...

Duffy - "And she's buuuu-uuuuy-ying a staaiiirway... to heaven...." :) You are, of course, correct: "A cute phrase proves nothing." (I read that on a tea bag.)

Charlie said...

After reading the post and the comments, the comment that jumps out most at me is the one from anonymous. I think it was a heartfelt statement and I appreciate the thought.

But I disagree.

The older I got the more freedom I had. And I have children too. Responsibilities do not have to limit one's freedom to create. That! is just a conversation.

The more I have taken on in my life, the more opportunities that have opened. Of course none of this helps you with your choices.

You have a gift that your graduate studies will facilitate. Teaching Yoga is simply part of an overall practice of Yoga. There are days I think my practice would be deeper if I had not become a teacher. I could have focused more on my individual practice. But I am glad I took this path because I feel as if I am making a contribution.

And that would be my unsolicited advice. Follow the path that would lead you to the biggest contribution. And, you can have it all, just not immediately.

And be big, really big.

thedancingj said...

Charlie, you always give the BEST unsolicited advice. Your perspective is so awesome. (Also - "Take my advice, I'm not using it." HAH, love that.)

I'm kinda surprised and impressed at all the great responses that I got on here. Didn't really expect that. Feel like I should print this page out or something once everyone's had their say. Blogging: move convenient than career counseling, cheaper than therapy!!!