Forty years after I was born, I found myself giving birth to my third child in five years. “Now what,” I asked in September 2006 while surveying my world with many children to raise and goals to complete. The answer came a year later… in a supermarket. While standing at the register, I read a magnet quote that said, “Be the change you seek in the world”.
Reflecting on those words enabled me to see that I had to follow my desire to be a socially responsible global citizen who wanted to create economic opportunities in the developing nations of Africa. Lofty goals for a woman with a cart full of youngsters standing in a checkout line, but then I transformed from that point. I became passionate about fulfilling personal goals. My mantra was to focus on obtaining a fit body and educated mind.
As a lifelong athlete, I have always valued my physical fitness. The last of my three pregnancies had me tipping the scale at 170 pounds, so I knew it was time to get into shape. My mental resolution quickly turned into action as I started exercising and losing weight. In April 2008, I joined a gym and began running, cycling and swimming while mastering racquetball and rock climbing. And that was not enough because I soon reinvigorated my love for yoga, pilates and aerobics. By January 2009, my momentum enabled me to run in my first 5K race. I knew that after shedding over forty pounds, this would not be the last finish line I would cross. Becoming fit was essential to preparing me to meet my next challenge.
Although this is not the choice of many forty plus mothers with young children, I applied to business school and was accepted. This fall, I will become a full time MBA student. I now have the satisfaction of knowing that I’m no longer putting off graduate school. I will never say, “I should have done it!” The first steps are finished and I’m on my way to the next chapter in my life.
My life has been renewed in my forties because I did not hide from my passion to pursue physical and mental achievements. Improving the world means creating a safer and more prosperous environment for struggling populations and future generations. I want the impact of my life’s work to benefit my children and other families, not just me directly. Unlike many women in developing countries, I have the pleasure of watching my offspring grow up. They keep me company and motivated even though many ask how I continue to reach goals with such a young family. My response, “I’m changing because I’m passionate about change.”