Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Hi! My name is Eryn Ogren and judging by the last name, you may have guessed that I am Mike's wife. We made a decision to pursue professional race car driving and team ownership in 2017. Here's a little bit of the why.
My husband, Mike Ogren, has been putting his foot on a pedal since he was four-years-old (yes, actually) with the influence of his father, who has been racing cars since his youth in upstate New York. From the day I met him, he has dreamed about racing in IMSA and would want to do whatever it takes to make that happen. Fancy cars, traveling the world, snapping 'gram pics? Yes, I'm in.
When I asked him what it would take to make this happen, he informed me that it included a seven-figure investment, a flexible schedule (aka not a "real job"), and a thirsty desire to pitch brands to give you thousands of dollars in sponsorship. Yikes.
In 2017, Mike discovered the Nissan Micra Cup and realized this could be his break into professional race car driving; it would take spending six weekends in Canada, shoveling five figures into the Canadian economy, and soak up all vacation days he is gifted in his day job. I said, "yes, I'm in;" I turned down a manager-level marketing position to open a small business with my husband that brings us little to no income.
Our Marriage is Our Top Priority.
My husband is the captain of the best team I've ever been a part of. He is the humble teammate that always puts the needs of his partner above his own. He is my gold medal, my trophy, my big win.
We vowed to always put each other first, no matter the cost, and decided that the journey in pursuing each other is well worth the investment. Through taking leaps of faith, we are learning to respect one another's ideologies and finding ways to compromise. We intentionally submit ourselves to serving each other and allow grace to fill the cracks. We certainly aren't perfect and will continue to dig our heels into the trials of marriage, but in the meantime, we are choosing to hold hands on this rollercoaster and scream through the twists and turns that it provides.
While choosing to follow his passion of becoming a professional race car driver may be a bit beyond our means, I am confident he has my best interest in his heart. He wouldn't ask me to jump off a cliff if he didn't believe the water below was worth it.
My Mental Health is Important and I Was Struggling.
My family is no stranger to depression and anxiety. We've had our share of panic attacks, seasons of cloudy days, and suicidal considerations.
By the way - I know that I am a young, white female who grew up with more than I could ever desire. I know that others have and had challenges of their own that I can't begin to understand. However, I can only speak to my experiences and intend to shed light in a topic that is misunderstood.
My parents are my role models; they have both fought tooth and nail from poverty, young-adult pregnancy (Hello world! My name is Eryn), and minimal higher-education to be executives at a Fortune-500 company. They've shown me that it takes a dedicated work ethic, genuine respect for your peers, and a little guts to earn your keep in a world where money is the common language. I couldn't be more grateful for these lessons and intend to keep them near to my heart.
The race of keeping an updated LinkedIn profile that sparkled with company names like "Walt Disney World" and "American Cancer Society" was debilitating. My fragility looked like a tear-soaked steering wheel driving home from work while crumbling at the idea that I should make dinner for my adoring husband after exhausting the weight of trying to quiet my personality all day in the workplace because I often felt like I was "too much" or "never enough."
I am an extrovert, ENFJ, 8w7, and naturally drawn to the desire to achieve. On paper, this was supposed to be the recipe for my success, but, in reality, the degradation of my relationships was palpable.
I've recognized that a salary will never buy peace, a promotion-filled resume doesn't fix the cracks in a relationship, and there is "a grace too powerful to name" that is worthy of my devotion and surrender. Freedom is available to us, friends; it may not look like having the best brand of "that thing" or an extra zero in the bank account, but it is listening to the soft whisper of your soul that tells you that you are just as loved and valuable without it.
There is a Benefits Package.
Let me be clear: I didn't set aside my career ambitions entirely. I still have an appetite to learn new skills and put them to use that will hopefully turn into an income at some point in our lives.
Starting a small business has afforded me new opportunities to flex my muscles like building a website (... it's this one), designing apparel, strategizing social channels, and for goodness' sake, opening a government-approved-and-recognized business! I cherish the moments of gratitude Mike gives me when he sees the result of something I created or to hear about the bragging he does over his "gifted wife who is building our brand from scratch."
I don't intend to give off the vibe that our relationship is mushy and romantic or that there aren't times where clawing each other's eyes out suggests tantalizing benefits. What I am proposing is that the miraculous alignment of my experience and what it takes to make his dreams a reality seems to be more than a stroke of serendipity. When he confided his dreams into my heart and I submitted them to be my own, I have seen more fruit in my career than I ever have before, experienced freedom from society's expectations, found joy through even my darkest days, and harmony that carries me to tomorrow.