How 1/2 mile and 10 years Led to a Full Circle Moment

 

Google Map with hat

white house signLast year, I was invited to the White House and it really represented one of those full circle moments in my life. It hit me as I was waiting to be processed through the 1) White House security along with 2) other youth influencers to attend a 3) White House Summit on the Affordable Care Act that I was really living my dream in that moment. The icing on the cake is that I was invited as a private citizen and I flew up for the day with the baby. It was a dream that I never would imagine happening in the life that I live now, a work from home mom to two small children living just outside of Atlanta.

I need to explain the context of why these are such special moments. What most people don’t know is that I graduated from The George Washington University, located a mere 4 blocks from the White House. I spent a (long) two years of my life working towards my graduate degree in Media and Public Affairs. A good portion of the time I focused on how the media influences the political landscape. And now I was being asked to put my education into action by tweeting, Facebooking and blogging about why young adults should sign-up for the ACA and learning more about it?!? For me as a former healthcare policy geek, it was perfect.

 

outside gwu

I really had to reflect on how I got here. My first job upon graduation was working as a research associate in a center for health policy. I worked on some amazing things that had a lasting impact on the lives of Americans like HIV, rural health care and technology transfer. I loved my work and planned on learning tons more. My goal back then would have been moving to work a Congressional staffer. All that changed, when I made the decision to get move after getting married. My husband and I decided that we’d have a quality of life more in line with what we wanted if I moved. He was totally supportive of moving to DC but when we compared our 2 bedroom apartments and what we paid for them, it was much easier for me to move.  Here in GA, I went to work at some great places and also worked on some great projects like emergency preparedness and autism. Over the years, I’ve also became a mother to two adorable little boys and stepmother to a college sophomore. My husband’s career has also grown so again we made the choice for our quality of life for me to work from home.

That’s the professional route that got me here but the personal route is that I after my husband’s illness last year, I made the decision to just do it. I started the blog on March 4, have attended two blog conferences, entered (and won!) a vlogging contest, and even decided to apply to attend a White House briefing. All because I started the blog and have just decided to do it!

Yes, I was getting mail from the House of Representatives even way back when. See, I was on the lobbyist route. :_

Yes, I was getting mail from the House of Representatives even way back when. See, I was on the lobbyist route. 🙂

In that full circle moment, I realized that while my career path is not the same as I thought it would have been (I would have seen myself as a lobbyist now in life), my desire to have an impact on the world around me hasn’t and it doesn’t have to look like I thought it would. I still get to work on some amazing projects that change the world with my work (I really actually do – I’m just under confidentiality agreements for most of them), I get to have a voice through the media to help shape conversations about things that are important to me AND I get to take care of my family and have the quality of life/work balance that I need, all of which are incredibly important to me.

Image courtesy Tiffany Powell Photography, http://www.tiffany-powell.com/

Image courtesy Tiffany Powell Photography, http://www.tiffany-powell.com/

 

Ultimately, this is what my life (and my blog title) is about. It’s about being able to have enough of what headband I’m wearing today. My life doesn’t have full circle moments in when I get to have an “oh wow!” moment every day but I do realize that each day is part of this wonderful and very full life that I’m creating. It’s not always easy, but it’s mine. I used to wonder if I’d look back and regret moving from DC. I can say with all certainty that while I miss some things about it, I don’t regret a single part of my life.

 

Image courtesy Tiffany Powell Photography, http://www.tiffany-powell.com/

Image courtesy Tiffany Powell Photography, http://www.tiffany-powell.com/

 

Comments

  1. says

    it’s interesting to think about where you thought you’d be and where you are. what a great feeling it must’ve been to “come full circle.” 🙂

    • Kendra, Headband in ChargeKendra, Headband in Charge says

      These moments are great. I’m just glad that I was able to see it. Thank you so much on my boys.

  2. Jenn says

    What a cool story! I love it when life does that. I’ve sacrificed a lot to be a wife and mom but I know it is worth it! And just like you, I have moments where I realize that all of those dreams I had are coming/will come true in their own time and in their own ways!

  3. says

    Kendra,
    Thank you for sharing part of your journey! It sounds like life has brought you a lot of trials, and you have faced them head-on with your own strength, talent, and ability. It sounds exciting what you are doing for the White House and helping other young people get involved. What a wonderful “headband” to be wearing. I think it is wonderful that we live in such a world that we can make a difference from our computer keyboard. Best wishes!

    • Kendra, Headband in ChargeKendra, Headband in Charge says

      Thank you for being part of my journey by reading. It is so amazing how technology has impacted our lives for the better. We see the downsides but the pluses are great!

  4. says

    I really appreciated your perspective… I do not have a family yet, but as I watch friends of mine start their families, I have a chance to observe and see what works and what doesn’t. As much as I thought I would want to stay at my job for years to come, I am realizing it probably isn’t feasible to do once I have a family… which is why I am determined to focus more on my own blogging and find a way to combine my passions with flexibility. It’s so neat to hear someone who is already doing it!

    • Kendra, Headband in ChargeKendra, Headband in Charge says

      You’ll figure it out for yourself but I’m glad I gave you some food for thought. It’s a hard choice on what you think is best and it may change several times in life. I have worked outside the home since I did have children because it was best for us that time. Don’t get caught up in the mommy wars. You’ll be a great mom regardless.

  5. says

    Kendra~ What a fabulous opportunity for you! I look forward to reading more about your life and how you are balancing your “headbands” in future posts!

  6. says

    What a beautiful family! Your story just goes to show that even though we may change direction in life or we may not end up exactly where we had planned to be, there is a reason and a purpose for it all.

  7. says

    I so love your story of coming full circle and how you found the balance to do what you are passionate about and be there for your family as well. Those are the inspirational stories that propel us to keep pursuing what we want out of our own lives.

    • Kendra, Headband in ChargeKendra, Headband in Charge says

      I’m glad that you saw some thing in the story that you can connect with. It’s a balancing act and some days I lose. That day, I won big time!

    • Kendra, Headband in ChargeKendra, Headband in Charge says

      It was great to be able to see it. It didn’t even hit me until I was standing there. I’m glad I was able to be in the moment.

  8. says

    My heart becomes happy when I read stories like yours. It’s just amazing at how we follow the paths we think we should take and then somehow still be on that path in the same direction with different and even better results than what we first started traveling with.

    • Kendra, Headband in ChargeKendra, Headband in Charge says

      Better is the key word. I appreciate hearing the happy heart. That’s something I experience too so I’m glad to hear it from some else.

    • Kendra, Headband in ChargeKendra, Headband in Charge says

      Yep. We are on the right path. We just might miss it if we’re fighting with ourselves for the path we think we should be on.

    • Kendra, Headband in ChargeKendra, Headband in Charge says

      Wow, me inspiring? Thanks. I think all women have some great traits that are inspiring to others who watch them. I’d love to be a food and crafts blogger but that’s not my lane. I am coming over to get tips from you though. 🙂

  9. says

    Love that everything came full circle. As I work as a stay at home mother, I love the fact that I have the flexibility to determine what I want. Congratulations on your life coming full circle.

    • Kendra, Headband in ChargeKendra, Headband in Charge says

      It’s great to have this life but doesn’t get hard sometimes? It’s something you’d never give up and I have to sometimes remind myself how wonderful this truly is.

    • Kendra, Headband in ChargeKendra, Headband in Charge says

      Thank you. The quote is one of my favorites and so true! Also along the lines, “You know God laughs when we make plans.”

  10. Ra says

    I am so very proud of you and how far the blog has come. Your stories are inspiring, thought provoking and entertaining. I’m learning so much about you as a person through them. I truly enjoy reading your post and hope that you continue to explore the many headbands of you!!

    Love ya Sis,

    Ra

  11. says

    Kendra, I enjoyed reading your post. I can appreciate what you’ve posted as it relates to my own life. I always thought I knew what I wanted, but God had different plans. I’m learning to love where I am!

    • Kendra, Headband in ChargeKendra, Headband in Charge says

      When we live in the moment, we can truly see how great things are. Thanks for stopping by and your kind words.

  12. says

    Kendra, your post is inspiring and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others is the highest calling we can be given as we seek to serve the God who made us. It is interesting how he sometimes allows us to fulfill our youthful dreams in the process. Thank you for sharing yours.

  13. says

    I loved reading your story! To be invited to the White House is such an honor. And I must say, your family is beautiful! You are blessed. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures of them with us.

  14. says

    What a wonderful post. Life doesn’t usually turn out as planned. It sounds like your life turned out perfect. 🙂 Your family is lovely, thank you for sharing.

  15. says

    That was a fabulous full circle moment, congrats. I spent the summer 2001 in DC., that is a place that can really change a persons views on things. Lovely post! Visiting from Commentathon

  16. says

    This post really spoke to me. I’m certainly not living the life I imagined I would be at this point when I was younger. I truly believe in living life with no regrets, as every moment shapes who we are. But at the same time, I’d be lying if I said I don’t actually regret things. I have a chronic illness that has played a HUGE role in how my life has been turning out, but I can’t help but wish I didn’t, and wish that I COULD have a career I loved.

    But I have fallen in love with blogging. And I think this might be the best path for me. Maybe I CAN have a full life that looks different from my original dreams. I think 1) I just need to be open to appreciating what I have, and 2) I need to be patient as my blog grows and makes it easier for me to come across opportunities to live my dream of helping others.

    Thank you for reminding me that life can be beautiful even when (and perhaps especially because) it doesn’t work out as we had planned. I needed to read this today.

  17. says

    Congratulations! It’s such a rewarding feeling when all of your hard work pays off. It’s really special when it happens in ways you could have never dreamed of. There are so many things that have to happen behind the scenes to effect change. Thank you for being part of it.

    Best,
    Raki

  18. says

    What an amazing story. Good for you. I can see that this story will help others see the purpose of pushing through the tough times and the hard times. We do not always know the outcomes of our decisions at the moment, nor do we know where we will end up. But, when we decide to work hard, stay focused, our future can unlock opportunities that we may never have dreamed. I also love how your story of getting farther from where you thought you wanted to be (moving to Atlanta from DC) actually helped bring you closer back to your dreams (a visit to the White House). Thanks for encouraging others and staying on course.

  19. says

    It really is amazing to sit back and think of everything you’ve accomplished. With graduation from my Master’s degree program I find myself reflecting more on what I have been able to achieve. I haven’t been invited to visit the White House mind you, but there have been a lot of other great opportunities come my way.

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