“This fast life soon shatters, cause after all the lights and screams, nothing but my dreams matter.” ~ Tupac Shakur.
Those are more than just lyrics by one of my favorite musicians of all time. They could also be considered the words to my life. I lived the fast life for years. To some, I’m sure it was even their dream life. It was the life I’d dreamed of since I was a little kid.
The first dream for my life I vividly remember having was to be the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees. Unfortunately Derek Jeter beat me to that. As a girl growing up in the 80s there was no WNBA or UFC to aspire to. The best I was ever going to do was the Olympics, but there was no platform for a woman to get paid to be an athlete back then. So, I turned my attention to the business side of sport before I was even a teenager. I went down every rabbit hole from a sports doctor to sports marketing. My inability to understand the difference between a proton and an ion pretty much made the decision for me – I’d chase a career in sports PR.
During the last semester of my senior year I was offered an internship with UFC. I’d trained in mixed martial arts previously and was currently working for a sports marketing firm that specialized in MMA. The UFC was the ultimate dream (pun intended). The internship turned into a full-time job. I was officially living my dream.
For four years I worked side-by-side with the baddest men and women on the planet. I was right there when Ronda Rousey became a household name and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as the most dominant athlete alive. I was there when Conor McGregor became one of the most famous people on the planet – I even got him his first interviews with Men’s Health, MAXIM and GQ.
But as with all good things, they must come to an end sometime. My career had stalled, and no one leaves the UFC’s PR department, so there was very little room to advance. The “cool” job had officially grown old and it was time to move on.
For the first time in my 30-something years of life, I needed a break from sports. They weren’t fun anymore. They were exhausting. They were taking me away from my family. I missed birthdays, holidays and so much more. Sports is a 24-7 job and it doesn’t stop because it’s Mother’s Day or Christmas. It doesn’t care that you need a vacation or that you’ve worked 100+ hours in the last six days. The show must go on, and so must you.
With my passion for sport at an all-time low, I was a bit lost and didn’t know where to go from there. And then I got a message from a recruiter on LinkedIn and fate had struck again. The only other things in life I love as much as sports are music and travel.
After a fast and furious interview process, I’d not only gotten the promotion I was so desperately seeking, I’d be working in music with a content house that produces music videos for A-List hip-hop artists and rappers. I was living my dream all over again.
Music was just like sports. There were 3 a.m. phone calls, traveling over holidays and time away from loved ones. Too much time. I was in my mid-30s and I had no family, hell, I didn’t even have time to date. I didn’t remember the last actual vacation I’d been on. Sure, I’d traveled to Australia, Brazil, and extensively through Europe and sure, I’d add on a day or two here and there to explore, but it was all for work and never relaxing.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful beyond measure for the experiences I’ve had, they’ve gone a long way in shaping the person I am today. Well-traveled, well cultured, a genuine love for other ways of life and an inquisitive nature that I hope will never be satiated.
I spent a decade as the publicist for world-class athletes and GRAMMY winning musicians. I traveled the world on someone else’s dime, ate at the best restaurants in the world and attended events even the most powerful people on the planet had trouble getting into. I called celebrities my friends and trained in Mixed Martial Arts with world champions.
But my dreams had changed. Living the fast life was no longer my priority. My family was. Being there for Mother’s Day with my mom. Seeing my nephews grow up. Exploring Spain with a good friend. These are the things that light my fire now.
There is beauty to be found in everything, so long as you’re able to slow down and appreciate it. My new life at BAERING has given me the ability to “smell the roses” as they say. And while I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it at all, I’m even more grateful for the time with family and the things I’m able to experience with them than I could ever be for 3 a.m. phone calls, award shows or celebrity friends.
Pictured: Paige Berger and Ronda Rousey at UFC 193; Melbourne, Australia, 2015