What’s the number on your price tag?

I think I’ve said it roughly 7,476 times: You can not put a price tag on your health. And every time I say it, I feel I should eat my words because I don’t always follow my own approach to life.

Recently I accepted a job at a small professional’s college as the Personal Training Instructor for the ACE certified Personal Training course. I have always wanted to be a professor of Health and Wellness after being inspired by  a very special professor,  and saw this as the golden gate, yellow brick road into my dreams. But if only it was that simple… something with such a shiny exterior and a slightly greasy salesman always has something going on under the hood.

Contracted to work 40 hours a week, teaching the morning and evening classes, I present ACE’s version of health and wellness for four hours each class. What my salesman neglected to inform me of was I was only getting compensated for my time in the classroom, not the time spent outside of class prepping, grading, tutoring, and everything else that come along with being an instructor. Star-struck by, what seemed to me, a hefty paycheck, I (very) soon found myself dipping into familiar burnout territory similar to that of my graduate assistant days working 12-13 hour days. We all know there is more to teaching than what goes on in the classroom, but what was I to do? I had just accepted the position 5 weeks prior, was getting full-time benefits, and pursuing my first real big-girl career step, at a very high cost – my emotional and physical health.

I sacrificed my well-being for too many years trying to be either skinny, look good, or develop my expertise in and outside the classroom, I am not willing to be unhappy, unhealthy, and emotionally devoid again. And yet I here I am, in the exact predicament I swore to myself I would never be in again. After a slap in the face at the birth of my new baby niece Thursday, I was pulled back to the reality I deserve to be in – one of which I love myself because I too am a human-being who needs (and deserves) to be taken care of and protected just as any other that cannot be bought.

I went directly to the top to voice my concerns – which is SO not like me – and communicated openly to the director of the college my feelings. I confessed my unwillingness to sacrifice myself at the cost of anything, because I put myself and my health first above anything else – another thing that is SO not like me. The best part about the meeting was everything I was saying to him I strongly believed and did not feel a single bit of selfishness at saying.

I decreased my workload from full-time to part-time, accepted the pay cut, and walked away feeling more giving and loving of myself than ever before. There is no number on my price-tag because I can’t be bought. And I love the fact that I can say this without an ounce of remorse. Back on track, let the soul searching journey continue.

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