The Daily Draft Discussions Ep. 001: My Wife Jackie
Jackie answered 5 Questions about chasing dreams later in life.
This is the first episode of The Daily Draft Discussions, a series where I interview friends and family, asking each 5 questions to gain insights from their unique perspectives in life.
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Interview #001 with Jackie Small, my beautiful wife.
Zac: Hey Love, can you give the good readers a quick intro to who you are, what you're currently working on, and how your week has been?
Jackie: I'm Jackie, Wife of Zac, Mother of 2, and I’m 35 yrs old. I’m currently working on my Cosmetology license, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, and this year I finally decided to take the leap! As for the week, it has been busy in a very productive way. I think we are finally getting into the groove of the new school & sports schedules.
Now, for the more "formal" questions:
Zac - Question #1: You've recently returned to school to get your Cosmetology License; why?
This is something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember, and I have never before made it a priority for myself. Since I was young, I thought that this would be my career, but life happens, and along the way, I was influenced by my family, guidance counselors, and peers as I went to a private High School, and while there, the teachers pushed college on the Seniors big time.
So, I took that path and was accepted into Johnson & Wales University.
After all of that, I went there, and within my first year, I realized it was not what I wanted, so I left and went to a local State College for Education instead.
The degree in Education led me down a path that helped me both work & manage Mom's duties once we had kids. With this profession, the kids could attend preschool, where I worked as a daycare director.
I used that degree for 10+ years, but all good things must come to an end, and everyone needs to change. Over the years, I worked in several careers, including education, medical, & real estate, all during my "stay-at-home mom" years. The way I saw it, I always needed (per myself) to be there for everything the kids had (pickup, drops offs, games, etc.) It was self-imposed but also totally worth it.
I was always able to be there for the kids and support both you and them in every job I’ve ever held. When we moved to NC, the local Community Tech College had a grant program, and the Cosmetology program here is one of the best around. Not only this, but it offered discounted tuition costs and had hours that matched our children's school schedules.
I knew that if it wasn't now - it was never.
I took that leap, made it work, and I am now in semester 3 out of 5. I should be done in the Summer of 2023, and I cannot wait to pursue my dream job and turn it into a place my family can grow around as well.
I have never been happier than I am being able to follow my dream and still be a great and present wife & mom.
Zac - Question #2: Do you ever feel like Adam Sandler in Billy Madison since being in school with younger classmates? I ask as there are many out there afraid to "start over" because they believe they're too old and won't be accepted by their younger peers.
I thought I would at first, but I don't.
I really thought I would feel that way; the truth is, no one finds themself fully at any point in their life if they are a hardworking and evolving person. There are people at my school between the multiple classes and esthetics programs that range from 19-65 years old. So really, I am in the middle of the pack. Being 35 has made me appreciate the opportunity; I have a great outlook on the program, I am committed, and I know for sure this is what I want because I went through all of the other careers I thought I could/would want to do.
This program is a huge time commitment with it being 5 semesters, 1500 hours, and I know that I wouldn't be taking it all on with all that we have going on if I wasn't serious, so I appreciate my age so much here because it comes with maturity.
Zac - Question #3: If you had to choose, what would you say is the greatest reason you refused to let this dream go?
At times when previous careers would have me pulling my hair out, I’d say to you (and myself), "In another life, I could have been so happy owning my own salon, being a stylist".
I have no idea why the old me thought that this life wasn't the one worth fighting for dreams in. We moved to North Carolina and found ourselves in a scenario where everything had fallen into place. The college here has a great program; the schedule and the tuition grant were all too good to pass up, and there was no reason not to do this.
It seemed like a sign.
The sign pointed right to where I needed to be to learn and grow, and once I was in the program and working on cutting, styling, and coloring hair, I knew this was what I was meant to do.
Zac - Question #4: Now that you're pursuing this dream, do you find yourself looking at other aspects of your life to ensure they align with who it is you want to be?
Always, but more importantly, I want both of our kids to know that the deep passion in their souls should be followed first and then figured out second:
If they want a college degree - do it!
If they want to open a business - do it!
If they want to go the tech route, they should do it.
I want to ensure our son and daughter see that we are not afraid to take a leap of faith and pursue what it is that we are called to do.
Speaking of the kids, those child-like visions we all had of what the future would hold for us, it wasn’t just “pretend” I’m living the life I dreamed I would, and starting this program was what I needed to get myself to where I knew I always belonged.
FUN FACT: Jackie and I hit 800 days of sobriety yesterday.
Zac - Question #5: What would your advice be to the person who is where you were, on the fence about committing to something they've always wanted to do?
I would say GO FOR IT!
Age is only a number; in the grand scheme of life, we can leave this Earth anytime, so stop living in that "what if I?" phase and switch to the "why not me?" instead.
I would also say that time allows everything to happen for a reason, even if it isn't apparent for years. Maybe a younger version of me, or the young Mom version of me, wouldn't have been able to mentally and/or time-wise have committed to this, so now I am where I need to be when I need to be here while learning from those that were put in my path for a reason.
You will learn so much about yourself on your new journey, so just jump and go for it!
Zac - Thank you for your time Lady, and thank you for being my first Interview for the new Friday Family & Friends Series.
For everyone who’s made it through the interview, I will pass along any comments or questions to Jackie. Leave them below, and I’ll pass them along to let her know what you think or what questions you may have.
- Zac Small
For anyone interested in Jackie’s message or wanting to check out what she’s doing with people's hair - you can find her IG here.