Mt Lebanon Magazine

710 Washington Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15228

Mt Lebanon Magazine

The official magazine of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Finding my way back home

I’ve always been a South Hills Girl. Growing up, I roamed the hallways of Upper St. Clair’s elementary, middle, and high schools. As my graduating classmates planned big moves from Penn State to across the country, my elation of moving into Duquesne University’s dorms couldn’t be suppressed.

During the four years earning my English degree, somehow the homing instinct burrowed into my skin like a bug and I instinctively found myself back at home on the weekends. You couldn’t stop me from blowing off time with my roommate driving down Rt. 19 and the surrounding backroads for no reason. Some of my fondest memories stem from our pointless drives with the windows down and sunroof open on a Saturday night in the middle of January. My arm would go numb from the cold as I hung it out the window like an airplane.

From South Hills to Downtown

After Duquesne, expectations to function as a fully independent adult surfaced. I met my future husband. I landed a full-time job. The demands of debt and bills are as real as the news stories that flash on the TV every night. While navigating the professional world, corporate life wormed its way into my reality and I abandoned the cozy nest of the South Hills, rented a house in the city, and commuted downtown daily.

This general pattern repeated for nearly 15 years… wake up… battle traffic only imagined in nightmares to make it to the US Steel Building… adhere to corporate demands… dive back into gridlock… return home and complain.

Never-ending traffic in the daily commute

Wash, rinse, and repeat.

Then COVID hit. Layoffs plagued even the most seemingly established professional; including my husband. Though devastating, life blessed us with my stable career and I held down the fort during Jason’s time off.

By this time, we migrated from a modest home in the city to our current home in Mt. Lebanon. I can’t say that my commute to town improved but at least I felt like I was back home, even if a neighborhood away from my Alma Mater.

After 1 1/2 years unemployed, my husband’s company dusted itself off and recovered from the pandemic. The company called my Jason back to work and he didn’t even take a breath before accepting.

At this point my misery slogging away downtown couldn’t be masked. I specifically remember on the 7th day of an emotional breakdown, my husband stood in front of me wearing his ‘serious face’ and simply spoke two words: “just quit.”

And I did.

I decided to take a part-time job to help pay bills until I could conduct some soul-searching. Once I located a bit of my old self and found perspective, the hunt for a new career commenced. I intensely searched for weeks, refusing to put my hat in for anything that would lead me to my original misery. Then I found a posting for a position with Mt. Lebanon High School.

Finding success closer to home

A job that’s not corporate.

A job a mile away from home.

One that doesn’t pride itself on hard numbers and cold statistics.

I took the leap and applied thinking this was a far stretch from my professional past. It aligned with my priorities and knowledge that I didn’t need to climb a corporate ladder to feel successful or fulfilled.

I entered the hallways of Mt. Lebanon High School this past August to begin a completely different career. My project management experience perfectly complements the position working in the Athletic Office under the Director.

Finally, I found a comfortable spot. I never wanted to wander far from home. Now I’m blessed to be living in, and working in, a place that I call home.

Comments

  1. Author’s gravatar

    Absolutely love this! Cathy’s writing is a treat!

    1. Author’s gravatar

      Cathy, Your personal story is refreshingly uplifting to me (and to many others I’d imagine), who have found themselves in the same unfufilling rut – and are still trying to work our way out of those ruts. I’m so very happy that life turned itself right-side up for your husband and that ‘the universe’ actually answered your soul’s search!😊

  2. Author’s gravatar

    Well done.

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