One of my primary motivations in starting this blog was the desire to share the stories of women and men who have taken bold steps to create the life they love. We learn so much through the example of others, and it can often provide the impetus we need to move forward toward our own goals and dreams. I have been blessed with friends, mentors, and teachers whose lives and actions have inspired me, and I hope they can do the same for you.
I am honored to introduce you to Mary Catherine Starr, who is the subject of the inaugural New Beginnings Trailblazer Profile. Mary Catherine, or M.C. as I came to know her, is an incredibly talented artist, teacher, blogger, and all-around inspiring soul. Read on for the story of her New Beginning...
In your own words, tell us the story of your New Beginning.
My new beginning took place over 4 years ago, and although the path leading to this new beginning was a long and winding one, here's the short version of the story: After working 3 different--very different--jobs in the corporate world, I quit the 9-5 life to pursue my dreams of teaching yoga and creating art for a living, instead. I thought the transition would be a difficult one, but in reality, it was very, very easy. I am now living this dream and I wouldn't trade it for the world (!).
On a smaller scale, I've just moved to a new city and state (Cape Cod, Mass) for my husband's job, so I feel like I'm in the middle of another new beginning right now.
How did you know it was time to make a change?
My body was falling apart from sitting at a desk all day. I was having back and hip pain, my eyesight was fading (I went from 20/20 vision to needing glasses and contacts in just 3 years!), and I was bored out of my mind. When I went to yoga, or Teacher Training, I felt alive. When I painted, I felt alive. When I went to work, I was miserable. Even when I liked the actual work, I knew that sitting at a desk in an office all day was just not for me.
It simply got to the point where I could no longer justify the 9-5 lifestyle because it was zapping all my creative and physical energy--so I had to make the change
What gave you the confidence you needed to move forward?
My then-boyfriend, now-husband, was very supportive of the change, which was a huge help. I'm not sure if I could have done it without his encouragement, and it was really wonderful to know that the person I lived with was on board with what I wanted to do. Similarly, I had the attitude that I just wouldn't/couldn't fail at this, and I think that having this attitude helped me to throw myself into building a sustainable life in this new world.
Who/what inspires you today?
Individuals who are paving their own way and creating their dream jobs, their ideal life situations, and/or their own schedules. Ever since I quit my 9-5, I've met more and more people on a similar journey, and I love hearing their stories. It takes such courage to break out of the typical mold, but once you've done it, it's hard to imagine ever going back.
On a more basic level, I get my inspiration from artists (art), writers (and books), nature, physical movement, and loved ones.
What are you dreaming about now?
Continuing to grow, grow, grow while ALSO working on slowing down. It's a tough balance, but I'm going to keep trying to do it!
Oh, and summers in my new home on Cape Cod. I can't wait :)
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
This is a really difficult question! I think it would have to be something having to do with learning to say no. I've been learning to say no my entire life, and every time someone reminds me, "It's okay to say no," it feels like a weight has been lifted [yet again]. So I guess it's the best advice that I've been given, although I need it repeated to me on a weekly basis. Learn to say no! You can say no! It's constant learning process, this life...
What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you started?
When you work for yourself, you simply MUST schedule time-off. Otherwise, you will be "on" every hour of every day and you will lose your mind. Trust me on this one ;)
What encouragement can you offer someone who wants to make a change but is apprehensive?
If you just take the leap, everything will fall into place. You have to work hard, but you also have to have a bit of faith. If your gut says to do it and your heart says to do it, why not just do it? I know this sounds cheesy, but I've found that it's true.