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Blog Cover: Why Am I Doing This


Choosing to Make Me a Priority & Focus on Self-Care

Well, hello there, and welcome to my blog! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ashley. I’m 49 years old and have recently left my career in the powersports industry. Six months ago, I moved to Costa Rica with my husband. I have two amazing and beautiful adult stepchildren who are healthy, happy, and succeeding in their chosen professions. I couldn’t be any prouder of them. I’m married to an amazing man who is 14 years my senior. He is truly my best friend and soulmate. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life than him. I come from a very loving family. My parents were together until my dad passed away twenty years ago. I am the youngest of two siblings. One biological sister who is four years older than me and an adopted brother who is 17 years older than me. Overall, my life has been good. So why, at this stage of my life, have I decided to start blogging? I’d like to say…it’s complicated, but if I really get to the root of it all, I must admit, I’m not sure why. But, I hope, that by going through this process, I’ll figure it out.

Here’s what I do know. I can be a very passionate and driven person…when I want to be. In my work life, I would commit 100% to whatever task was given to me. I thrived on the challenging, uphill projects. I can be drilled down, and bullet focused. I’d like to think that I was a good leader and mentor to those that worked with me. I had many successes and accomplished a lot, but I never truly felt satisfied. Nor did I ever really feel appreciated. Sure, I had some managers and bosses that were awesome. They taught me a lot and would often praise my work. I’m very grateful to those individuals. But I still never truly felt satisfied or complete.

2016 was a pivotal year for me. I was doing a lot of traveling for work and to see my mom, who, at the time, lived in Aruba. I went to Boston and Windsor, Canada for dealer meetings, and I led a group of 50 riders from the Chicago area to the Sturgis motorcycle rally along with my husband. I did all of this in a span of six months.  All the trips were amazing, and I was grateful for the opportunities. I was working on average 60 – 70 hours a week. I was eating terrible fast-food, smoking, and drinking way too much. I wasn’t getting enough sleep. I wore myself out and completely ignored the warning signs my body was telling me.

As a result, I ended up extremely sick. I was so sick I ended up in the hospital due to severe dehydration and acquired, what the doctors were calling, a super virus.  I was starting to hallucinate. My heart rate kept bottoming out, my potassium and magnesium were dangerously low. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. All they could do was treat the symptoms and push the fluids as quickly and as safely as possible. Nothing was working and they couldn’t get me stable. The doctor even pulled my husband to the side to tell him how serious the situation was. The doctor was trying to prepare him for the possibility that I wasn’t going to get better. They had one more thing to try, Chemo. I swear the cure was almost as bad as the illness. But, by the grace of God, it worked.

I had a long road to recovery. I was out of work for 6 weeks. I lost over 20 pounds, and was extremely weak. I was using a walker and cane to get around. I was on a strict diet and had to slowly reintroduce food into my system. All of this could have been avoided Had I only listened to my body, Had I only taken a moment, to stop and breathe. Had I only allowed myself to take the time for self-care. I did none of these things.

Then, as I recovered, I slowly got back into the groove of work. I was trying to be more mindful of my body, and take it easy, but that didn’t last for long. I fell back into my typical work life routine for the next four years. It wasn’t a good situation.

Fast forward to the year 2020. I was a one of the early recipients of Covid-19. No taste or smell. I had a fever and had a very difficult time breathing. My husband and I were immediately placed into quarantine. I was sent home with a nebulizer with albuterol, oral steroids, and an albuterol inhaler. I don’t remember the next five days, but my husband was giving me breathing treatments every four hours around the clock. Friends and family dropped food and supplies off for us. It was an incredibly scary time. By day eleven I was starting to feel human and on day 12 the state of Colorado shut down. Since my job was considered “essential”, I was back at the office on day 15, still with no sense of taste or smell, still weak and still on the inhaler, but by God, I showed up!  How stupid was my thought process? That being said, because of Covid, I finally quit a 25-year smoking habit.

I don’t think I fully recovered from Covid for several months. I started to gain more weight and reached the heaviest I’ve ever been. I was and am considered obese. My blood pressure was up, so was my cholesterol. My body was giving me those warning signs again. My Dr told me I had some choices to make.  Go on medication or make serious lifestyle changes. If I didn’t do something immediately, I could have a heart attack or stoke within a year. Yup! That scared me! Hello Costa Rica!

When I left my most recent job to make the move down to Costa Rica, I told my husband that I wanted to take six months to do nothing but decompress. I needed to unpack and unwind the 30 plus years of work and the baggage that came with it. My husband retired in June of 2020 so I had some catching up to do. I was exhausted and sleep deprived. I was feeling the effects of stress and anxiety. Bottomline, I needed to just be still.

The problem is it didn’t really work. The first month was exciting and new. It was an adventure! But then, routine set in, and I found myself not doing all the things I told myself I wanted to do, like go for hikes in the rainforest, learn Spanish, start meditating and doing yoga. Instead, I laid around and streamed a bunch of tv shows and movies. I told myself that it was OK because I was giving myself six months. And, looking back, I guess that’s still ok. I’ve decided to not be hard on myself and let that time spent doing nothing and being unprotective ok. But now…. now I NEED to start doing SOMETHING. The question is…what?

I know! Get another job! I figured that I would find something that was part time and remote. I knew that I didn’t want to do anything too intense like sales, or marketing which is what I’ve been doing for the last 20 years. I submitted over 50 applications and resumes. I even had a few interviews. I knew I was way overqualified for some of the positions I was applying for. I also knew that I really wasn’t going to like any of the positions. I was starting to put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself again. I started to feel anxious and feel the beginning signs of stress again. This wasn’t going to work.

So now what? I did a lot of thinking and soul searching. FINALLY, I allowed myself to be ok with the idea of not working, not having a JOB. For the first time in my life, I decided to be selfish. I decided to focus on me. What a concept. My job is ME! I preach self-care to my friends and family all the time, but I have never allowed myself to take my own advice…until now.

So, to answer the question at the beginning of this blog…I’m doing this for me. I’m making ME my job! I’m finally putting all that energy, all the focus and passion from those past jobs, and investing all of it into myself! And let me tell you…there’s a lot of work to be done. I’m excited and scared at the same time. I have no idea where this is going to lead me, but I know it’s going to be better than where I’m at right now.

It’s going to be a journey filled with challenges and obstacles, filled with self-reflection and self-awareness.  And I’m sure there will be moments of self-doubt and trepidation, but I will remind myself that this is a process. I am filled with imperfections. I must learn to accept those imperfections, to embrace them. I am perfectly imperfect. I am a work in progress. Let the journey begin!

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