So this post is coming from a place of frustration more than anything else.
I am 24 years old. I am a beginner level *Adult.* And I am constantly trying to find the balance between my career and personal life. I work as a graphic designer. I love my job. I really do, because I can help support my lifestyle. But my horses, riding, and Eventing are my number one passions. It just so happens that I chose a different path out of high school. I decided that I needed to go to college and pursue a more sustainable career. Every day I wonder if I made the right decision. Should I have packed my bags and shipped off to become a working student? Deep down, I know I would have excelled in that lifestyle too. I know I could have taken the hits, the falls, the beatings. I know with that lifestyle comes almost certain struggle, pain and hardship. Struggle that I could have handled myself, but that I could not inflict upon my family. I need to be able to financially support my own dreams. So here I am, ambiguously floating around in the corporate world limbo that is my life nine hours a day… While simultaneously chasing my BIG dreams in the horse world.
It all started years ago. Pictured left, my first event (I was eliminated in Dressage when Ella jumped out of the arena, but they let me continue). Right, you will see me enamoured by the course at the Jersery selection trials before the Athens Olympics.
It’s not that bad.
I don’t want to sound like a spoiled brat. I am thankful for my job. I have a good job, and am surrounded by very smart and kind people, in a great environment. I’ve made great friends at my office, and have a great support system within my department. I work hard to be sure I am diligent, reliable and trustworthy. But nevertheless, my mind wanders from time to and I am often preoccupied. But for the most part, it’s working out. I am still able to pursue my dreams after hours, even if it is hard.
I do have to admit, at times I feel like a mysterious Peter Parker in the workplace. Civilian by day, web slinger by night... Errr, maybe a manure slinger? Sometimes I feel like I have no outlet to share my passion. I used to be able to say it out loud all the time. To my friends. To my family. To any boys who would dare to have interest, until I finally scared them off. But now I feel like I’m not allowed to talk about those passions, especially to anyone related to my career outside of riding. Sometimes I fear that I will be judged for caring more about something other than my career. Sometimes I feel like I’m not allowed to have aspirations outside of my career. But more than anything else, I just feel a bit lost and misunderstood.
Overall, I just think there is a HUGE disconnect between the horse industry folks and muggles normal people. I think that people see my life as a luxury rather than a lifestyle or sport. While it is a choice... it is not as glamorous as it seems to be. It was a choice my mom and I made many years ago, before I had any fiscal responsibility of my own. And now it is my life’s passion. It’s milking us dry of money. But I ain’t giving it up any time soon.
I don’t think many “non-horsey” folks could ever understand the amount of work or training that goes into being a competitive rider. And I don’t think many people understand the Why? aspect to it. Because, not everyone sees us riders as athletes. They see us as hobbyists. While there are many that enjoy riding only as a pastime, there’s a large group of us that train meticulously towards certain athletic goals. Like any athlete, we spend countless years devoted to our craft. We spend countless hours in the saddle. We spend our lives working towards achieving our dreams. And, just because we traded in some of our slobber stained britches, for a pair of work slacks… doesn’t mean were willing to give up on those dreams.
So, I guess my main point in blogging (aka venting) this, was to get my feelings out, but also to share a bit of insight as to what really goes on in my life after business hours when I’m with my horses. It’s not as glamourous as it seems. It’s not all fun and games. I’m not having a big ole party. It almost always involves shit shoveling. IT’S AN UNFATHOMABLE AMOUNT OF WORK. But it is MY lifestyle. And it is imperative to my existence.