Self-Love Reflection: The Road Not Taken

Posted: November 20, 2011 at 11:47 am

Hello FFF readers! Nice to meet ya! My name is Carissa and my husband and I blog at Fit2Flex.  Well, I blog…he consults! We are both certified personal trainers with a passion for healthy, active living and clean eating.  I am also studying to become a registered dietitian, a race announcer, and a runner.  Stop on by our blog for workouts, meal plans, fit tips, and recipes. 

I have always loved the Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken”. So much so that’s there’s a plaque in my bathroom.

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I love the part about the “road less traveled”. I try to remember that when I’m looking for the courage to make big decisions. However, about a year ago, I did something that’s clearly not written in Frost’s words.  I turned around. I abandoned my road less traveled, turned around, and have found myself on a more peaceful, happier road.

Today I want to share a story and inspire you to maybe someday have the courage to turn around, start a new journey, or take a detour just for you.

Since I was in high school I wanted to be a sideline reporter.  I wanted to be Erin Andrews WAY before Erin Andrews was cool.  I studied in school; I interned; I was a radio/TV major in college; and I scored a gig with ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at 19.

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I was traveling, I was working, and I was climbing the ladder.  I even achieved my goal and did sideline reporting for several nationally televised college games.  I was there, but I wasn’t happy.

I loved my job, but I wanted more.  I wanted to be more involved. I wanted to help people.  Not that asking a sweaty running back how he felt about that drive wasn’t helpful…but well..it was a short term “help”.

Around this time I became passionate about health and fitness and I found myself reading every fitness magazine and health book during my many travels. I met my husband, a personal trainer, and fitness took over. 

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I became a personal trainer too.  But I was still traveling, still working.  One foot on the field and one foot in the gym.

For two years I looked online at schools to become a registered dietitian.  I would see the long list of pre-requisites that my arts degree didn’t have and I’d balk.  Scared at all that work for “another “ degree. I’d email programs for dietetics and plan out how long it would take me to graduate, but then a big job would come along and I’d be right back to where I was.  Busy, but not satisfied.

Finally, I made the decision. I started taking my science prerequisites while still working and in May 2011 I was a college junior all over again.  At 26.

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It felt weird to start over. It felt embarrassing. It felt like I had failed.  I put years of work into a dream and I abandoned it.  I couldn’t help feeling like I had done something wrong.

Going back to school was scary.  Scary financially to take on student loans when previously I had none.  Scary to tell my agents when they called that I couldn’t do gigs because I had an exam.  Scary to not know if I had made the right choice. 

In my first months of school I had a daily debate with myself, “Is this the right thing?”  There were times I wanted to stop and just continue what I was doing because it was easier.  But I had some huge cheerleaders.  My husband and my friends.  They told me that the best things in life you have to work for. And while school was hard and scary, they knew me, and it was where I belonged.

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Today I’m thrilled with my decision. I still have about 19 more months until I can sit for my registered dietitian board exam, but I’m getting there.  I’m driven; I’m focused; and I’m fulfilled. The path just feels easier when it’s the right one. For me the turning around, the starting over, the humility of saying that what I was doing wasn’t right…that was the road less traveled.  And as Mr. Frost said, “that has made all the difference.”

Have you ever changed course for a more fulfilling path?

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22 Comments to “Self-Love Reflection: The Road Not Taken”
  1. P says:

    Carissa,
    You have inspired me at the age of 56 to go for it! I’ve been debating about getting my personal training certification and your guest post has helped me to see that it’s NEVER too late! I am a healthy 56 year old woman that loves lifting heavy weights, yoga and biking. I know I could inspire other women my age and older to get up and move! Thanks for sharing.

  2. lindsay says:

    Way to go for your dreams! Age does not matter if you have the passion. Love this story Carissa. Thanks for sharing her Tina. :)

  3. I am actually trying to decide between trying journalism for a bit and going back to school for dietetics. I graduate from undergrad (with NO science classes) in May. It’s definitely a hard decision!

  4. [...] link: Self-Love Reflection: The Road Not Taken Read [...]

  5. Great post! I also want to be a registered dietitian, but didn’t figure that out until this past summer. Because I’m already a junior in college and NOT in a nutrition program here, I’ll have to go to grad school to start working toward becoming an RD. It’s going to take work, but it will be worth it!

  6. Kiah says:

    I love this post so much. I was an English undergrad, and am now getting my master’s in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. I know it’s what I really want to be doing, but it’s hard being the only one in a lot of my classes with no background knowledge. And I think even if your background doesn’t clearly correlate (such as art to RD), they will find a way to enhance each other. Thanks for the great guest post!!

  7. Denise says:

    Your story sounds just like my daughter who was not fulfilled with her place in life – she wanted to be a nurse and finally took the plunge about a year and a half ago taking those pre-req’s -ALL science courses. She is now in the ABSN at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center and is very happy, she is on the right path as I am sure you are. She is also 26. Her blog is I’manokie.com

    You should check hers out you 2 have alot in common

  8. Michelle says:

    Wow… this post came at a perfect time for me! I finished my Master’s Degree in Education last year and I now teach middle school math. Throughout student teaching, teaching high school last year, and this fall, I have come to realize that teaching isn’t for me – it doesn’t make me happy. Not at all. What I’ve always been passionate about is health and nutrition, and after contemplating it for about a year, I finally made the official decision to go back to school next fall. It’s scary and I have to remind myself constantly not to feel like I’m “throwing it away” in regard to my degrees in education and experience. It’s not worth it if I don’t enjoy it, and I know my experiences have helped me grow and learn about what I DO want to do!

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  9. Way to go after it! I’m not about to start over, but sometimes I wish I could. School is expensive! Enjoy your new career. You’re so close!

  10. Michelle says:

    This post was EXACTLY what I needed to today…thank you :o )

  11. Amy says:

    I am starting all over again next year actually! I currently work in health research but my true passion is writing so I am headed back to school for a six month post graduate course to help me move further towards my goal of working in a more creative capacity! Congratulations Carissa on making the move to search out a different dream when you realised your current one wasn’t feeding your soul :) Thank you for sharing.

  12. Carissa says:

    Thanks for the comments guys! I’m so grateful Tina let me guest post And it is still good to hear that I’m not the only one on a new, health related, path!

  13. Awesome story! Loved every second of it! That Robert Frost poems is one of my faves too :D

  14. Danielle says:

    I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school despite having just recently graduated with an advertising/public relations degree. This post came at a perfect time as I am currently debating the time, the money and questioning whether I will be happy in a new degree or if I just need to find happiness in my current situation.

    Thanks for sharing your story! Loved it!

  15. This is so inspiring! Great post. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Melissa says:

    Seriously, I think you wrote this just for me! I’m currently working as an Office Manager, and while I like it, it’s not what I want to do long-term. I really want to be a personal trainer and I love health and nutrition as well. I know it will happen someday, it’s just that I have to figure out when the best time to make it happen is!

  17. Marian says:

    Oh Carissa thanks for sharing! I feel encouraged! I’m currently not doing what I went to school for and having so many mixed feelings but I have to keep reassuring myself I’m doing what makes me happy:)

  18. Carissa, you and your husband are so cute and seem like such a power couple! Love it:)

    And Tina…come back soon, friend! I miiiiiss you! Hope all is well :)

  19. I love how you decided to change your life like that. I, too, am going back to school to get my RD. My bachelor’s is in nursing, though, so not as much of a change.

  20. Carissa,
    I loved this post. It takes serious guts to do a 180, especially when the first thing you were doing was supposed to be your “dream.” It takes a long time to figure out who we are and what we want. I think it’s a shame the educational system is not set up for my exploration and practical experience because I think it could help lead people to a much calmer career choosing experience and better long term happiness. I’m so happy for you. Best of luck with the rest of your studies!

  21. Thank you for your sharing, it is worth collecting blog.

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