I wanted to run into burning buildings…

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Life is funny.

Not funny haha – well, sometimes it’s funny haha, but often it is a different type of funny.

The kind of funny that leaves you trying to sort out exactly what you are supposed to do next.

I applied to be a volunteer firefighter last month and took the agility test a couple of weeks ago. It wasn’t easy and I wasn’t under the impression that I passed with flying colors, but I did feel like there was still hope in making it based upon their input and attitude. I felt like with proper fitting gear, the experience of knowing some tips like that I need to lean forward when dragging the hose instead of standing upright, and the 6-month training that I could do the job required and do it well.

I was excited by the possibilities that I could serve my community in such an important way.

It felt like a great fit for me because I’ve never really fit in with the typical things that women do to volunteer, or even just socially. The PTO was not my speed. I am not great with children. I don’t make small talk. I’ve always had a desire to help but just never found that one thing that clicked for me. I like to do physical things, I am strong and fit and have always been fascinated with public service jobs.

I have never felt so confident in a decision that would change my life so drastically.


Then I received a rejection letter.

It ended with an invitation to try again the next time they have the test – IF they have it.

And I might.

But I might not.

This is where the funny comes in.

Trying to determine if it’s just not meant to be or if it’s meant to be but first I have to prove how much I actually want it before I can have it. Like that test wasn’t hard enough.

I don’t want to waste their time or mine going after something that isn’t in the plans God has for my life.

I’ve had such a wide range of emotion about this. I guess I did more than most – I gave it a shot. And at one point I really was just proud of having tried, but the more time passed, the more I realized that I really, really wanted to do it. I was willing to sacrifice my time for the schooling and beyond that for the “job” because it just felt right.

It felt like it fit.

So now I’m kind of a bit lost.

And then there is that whole failure issue, but I don’t battle that demon as much as I expected because I know that even just trying was a huge feat.

It really is more about the disappointment that at 41 years old I just wanted to become a firefighter.

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  1. Anika says

    I know this is super late, but I hope you haven’t given up on this. I’m a female, 120 lb volunteer firefighter and I know firsthand that just trying out and taking that test in front of a bunch of stronger men takes serious balls.
    I applaud you for that, it’s not something just anyone would do. You’re a strong woman and believe me when I say there aren’t many like you.
    I also know that you have to push for it; it’s not an easy thing to get into. I fully believe in your ability and if you still want it, go for it. It takes dedication but it won’t even seem like work because of the fun you have with your crew and how much you’ll look forward to fires. I believe in you! You’re an awesome woman!

    • says

      Thank you so much Anika, this means so much coming from someone who does it! I am still waiting for them to have another test. I know that being totally unfamiliar with everything had a big impact on my ability to do what they asked. It’s like giving a child who plays driving video games the keys to a real car and expecting them to be able to drive. They might know where all of the controls are, but they will need a lot of practice to not crash.

      Thanks again, this really means so much!

  2. says

    I wouldn’t give up on your firefighter dream just yet Kim. Sure the rejection hurt but you tried, now it is time to try once more. You will go into it next time with better expectations of the test. Whatever you choose, just know you tried but do try again!

  3. Karen R says

    I’m sorry you didn’t make it. Hey, you gave it your best. What about doing something with animals? I know you are a dog lover……….maybe, foster animals?

  4. says

    You are an awesome woman! I am proud of you for TRYING! When they do the test again, go try out. If you tried once, you can do it a second time. And you’ll know what to expect!

    Though, if you get rejected again, I wouldn’t go for a third.

  5. says

    Like everyone else said: Just trying out was monumental! I wouldn’t look on it as failing, just another great life experience! Trust me, when you’re older and looking back… it will make you smile. ;)

  6. says

    I’m having a hard time finding the words to let you know how sorry I am that it didn’t work out . . . this time, but I want you to know something; You probably don’t know how in awe I am of the fact that you went through everything you did in order to just be there and try. Most people would shirk from that kind of intense physical challenge, not to mention the emotional aspect of it as well. Not all of us are cut out for that, or have enough inner fortitude to even think we COULD be capable of something like that.

    I also want you to know that I sat my 7 year old daughter on my lap and shared with Gaby your Facebook updates. I told her that I thought you are one of the coolest people I know, and to always remember Miss Kim when she thinks she can’t do something. I told her that you never know what you’re capable of until you actually DO IT, and there you were, doing it, and not only doing it, but in such a selfless and generous way. I really couldn’t ask for a better role model for my daughter.

  7. says

    Ugh…I am so sorry. That is a shame. That fact that you even tried shows what kind of a person you are…where your heart is. I am really proud to know someone like you….You should be proud of yourself!

  8. says

    I’m so sorry you didn’t make it but I think you have a good outlook on the situation. You did an amazing thing and should not feel like you failed. I think the decision to do it or not do it can hold off a little and when the opportunity arises again you may know the answer.

    I think you are an amazing and strong woman and love that you even did it.

  9. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says

    In our town, they don’t even offer anything like this to be a volunteer fire-fighter. My husband is an actual fire fighter and he needed a lot of training before he could actually do the job.

    • says

      Our town is all volunteer but this test was just to see if you quality for the training. Then the training is 12 hours a week for 6 months just to be qualified for the basic firefighter position. There is additional training and such beyond that.

  10. says

    I do do so well with rejection either..but I think your kick ass for even trying! Stepping out of your comfort zone and even attempting the test is far more than most will ever do! Modeling that for your kids is amazing in my eyes! Wishing you clarity on deciding what your next step should be!

  11. says

    I’m sorry it didn’t work out the way you had hoped. I know how passionate you were about wanting to serve in this capacity. Nothing wrong with being disappointed, but you did something most men, much less women, wouldn’t have put themselves out there to do, and for that you have every reason to be proud and feel successful. It’s not a fail by any means, just a reminder that for certain things the bar is set very high and that we have to push ourselves just that much more to jump over it OR find something else that brings the same amount of passion for.

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