Guest Blog by Beth Peck, Executive Director of Project Koru
Right this moment I am staring out the window of a little 63’ Franklin travel trailer, listening to the quiet morning waves of Lake Superior. Mornings are always my favorite time; it’s quiet, all I can hear is the light breathing of my three kids as they catch up on sleep from the previous day’s adventure mixed with the rustle of the biggest evergreens in the great state of Michigan.
Sitting in my little twin bed drinking freshly made camp coffee, I always have a happy heart when I’m working in the morning from Lil’ Frankie, the name we gave our travel trailer. She’s 150 sq ft of vintage charm that I worked all spring to restore. Every nook and cranny has a purpose and every time I’m in here my soul explodes with happiness. She is mine, and I made her. I made this life.
If you would have told me two years ago that I’d be raising three kids mostly from the road for a summer in a 150 sq ft trailer during a pandemic, I’d have laughed at you. Back then, my mornings consisted of a chaotic mess of trying to look presentable and professional, screaming at kids to hurry up, rushing out of my 4,000 sq foot house way too early, dropping off three kids at three different places, and arriving at my office in a total state of fluster. I have such distinct memories of rushing into the office and sitting down, already feeling defeated by the day. I’d spend the next eight hours sitting in a room with no windows, under florescent lighting, wondering why I had worked so hard to live this very “basic” American life. I would spend my breaks planning weekend getaways (but we MUST be back on Sunday because I couldn’t dare take a day off work!) and mindlessly online shopping for things I didn’t need but thought might bring me joy. They didn’t.
Nothing did. My heart felt empty. Sure, the little amount of time each day I got to play with my kids filled me up, but the vast majority of the hours did not. They felt monotonous and lacked any kind of REAL purpose.
So, I flipped my life upside down. I left the job I worked so hard for. I followed my passion for giving back to the cancer community and I am now running the coolest, most empowering organization in the world. I don’t have the big house or the fancy car anymore. I got rid of all the designer professional clothes and the stilettos and have a modest clothing collection of items that serve my body with purpose and comfort. I cannot remember the last time I had a full face of makeup on. My body does not sit on an ergonomically correct chair all day anymore. It moves, it hikes, it bikes, it sleeps when it needs to and it doesn’t feel forced to function when a boss says it needs to. And despite getting closer to 40 then it is to 30…my body feels strong and beautiful! Just like my life.
Even though life is still stressful (you can’t eliminate stress when you’re running an organization and raising three willful children!) I have set up my life in a way that allows ME to be a priority. Instead of coping with stress with mommy wine-nights and mindless Netflix binges, I now have the time and awareness for true self-care and balance.
I’m a woman that finds empowerment in taking the big jumps in life. Just yesterday I jumped off a 30-foot cliff into Lake Superior with my 11-year-old son. I work hard to practice what I preach! Just like jumping off that swimming cliff, I have never once regretted taking this leap in my career and life, and I hope anyone reading this feels inspired to take whatever leap their heart is pulling them towards. I can promise you, it will be worth it. Take the jump.
About Author Beth Peck: Beth Peck is the Executive Director of Project Koru, a nonprofit that works to empower young adult cancer survivors by building community and creating opportunities for personal growth and healing during outdoor camps. Beth has experienced the transformational work Project Koru provides firsthand as a cancer survivor. Beth attended Camp Koru in the Fall of 2016 after a battle with stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer, and attributes the woman, mother, and professional she is today to her Project Koru experience. Reach out and say hi at firstname.lastname@example.org. Beth Peck was featured in Think Tank of Three, episode #33.