When I was in second grade I made my acting debut as a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz. I used to watch the movie all of the time when I younger. I especially loved the end when Judy Garland’s Dorothy finally made it home and realized she had been having lucid dreams.
As the years went by and my focus shifted away from musical theater and onto school, the Wizard of Oz drifted from my radar.
That is, until the other day, when I learned about the Ruby Slipper Syndrome in Kivi Leroux Miller’s Nonprofit Marketing Guide email newsletter.
The premise is that you seek out what you think you want in life, only to realize you actually want what you’ve had all along. So basically, you’re Dorothy trying to get away from your family and the evil woman who wants to take your dog, only to realize “there’s no place like home.”
Ruby Slipper Syndrome is not to be confused with fearing change. I full heartedly embrace change and strongly encourage you to as well. It will make your life substantially easier, I promise.
Ruby Slipper Syndrome focuses more on realizing you already have what you need in life to be happy. Not that you’re pursuing something because it’s easier and less scary.
To some degree, this is my life in a nutshell. Minus the wicked woman, a dog that bites and all of the lucid dreams.
I started college dead set on being a sports broadcaster. I was going to be the next Erin Andrews or Sage Steele. I had everything going for me and no reason not to follow through.
Until I started learning more about the career. I was told by countless professional women in the field I would have to give up my job, my family, my friends, holidays, weekends, and basically everything I’ve ever cared about.
As I became more immersed, I realized they were right. It forced to step back during my sophomore year of college and think about what I valued most.
I grew up in a close-knit family. My entire immediate family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – live within 30 minutes of my childhood home. My parents worked from 8-5 on the weekdays and half day on Saturday so I always knew I would see them on the weekends. Fishing trips with dad, shopping with mom, watching musicals with my grandparents, and volunteering with my aunt filled my childhood days.
And I loved every minute of it. I’m extremely grateful I had all of those opportunities, because I know most people don’t.
For four years I dreamed of being a sports broadcaster and was so close to actually doing it. I loved sports, writing and acting. It was the perfect combination of all three. But what good would that be if I didn’t have friends or family to come home to every night and share in my success?
In the months leading up to my junior year, I decided to make a career change. I switched to public relations. I knew the lifestyle would be more conducive to my building the life I actually wanted for my future children, which closely mirrors my own childhood.
Now I have an 8-5 job, the weekends off, plenty of friends, a beautiful cat and dog, a fantastic boyfriend and a great relationship with my family, who is only an hour away.
So am I victim of Ruby Slipper Syndrome? Yes, but I’m okay with that because I’m doing what I want to in life.
And doing what you want and surrounding yourself with caring people who love you is how you will thrive in your career, relationships and life.