Sarah Cronin has taken a few left turns in her life, but ultimately they put her in the right lane. It took a while. After years of college and subsequent teaching jobs, she moved to Park City "for a temporary stint," ventured into the world of business and realized that's where she should have been from the start. Her temporary stint here now stands at 16 years and counting.

Cronin was born and grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, the youngest of Susan and Robert Layne's three children. She spent a lot of time outside, somersaulting on the backyard trampoline, swimming and exploring. "I fell out of a lot of trees," she grins.

She attended Trinity Valley School from kindergarten through 12th grade and went directly to Texas Christian University. She graduated in 1993 with a degree in speech and language pathology and an assortment of teaching certificates.

Cronin immediately took the helm of a challenging new early childhood education program in Burleson, Texas, near Fort Worth. She worked primarily with young children with disabilities. But nagging anxiety and unexplained weight loss led her to the doctor's office early in 1996.

"The doctor said I was just stressed out and recommended I take a break from the classroom to deal with whatever was going on. The school district told me I could take a leave of absence and come back anytime I wanted, so that's what I did," says Cronin.

Left turn.

In search of a getaway, she recalled winter family vacations in the 1980s to Crested Butte, Colorado, where she'd learned to ski, and summer trips to Park City. "An old family friend had since moved to Park City and invited me out for a visit, so I took her up on the offer," she recounts.

Once here, Cronin promptly took a part-time job in a retail shop on Main Street and also tutored child actors on the set of "Touched by an Angel" the popular TV series then filming in Salt Lake City.

In spite of the change of scenery, Cronin was still plagued with anxiety and weight loss. Desperation drove her to the chief endocrinologist at the University of Utah Medical Center.

"He ran some tests, then asked me why I was living like this," she says. The mystery was solved. Cronin had been living with undiagnosed acute hyperthyroidism for years, a chronic disease with devastating symptoms. She went in for radioactive iodine therapy the next day.

Within days, her symptoms abated. She soon returned to a healthy weight and was no longer anxious. Her return to normality left Cronin with decisions to make.

"I liked living in Park City and was dating a guy from Minneapolis who'd moved here for the winter to work as a ski-lift operator. I was also asked by the shop owners to help manage some commercial properties in town. The decision to stay here came easily," she says.

Left turn.

Cronin soon left the retail shop to work full-time on the property management side. "When their accountants, Mountain Tax, asked me to come to work for them in 1999, I accepted. I prepared tax returns, did payrolls and kept books. I always had a head for numbers, so it came easily to me. That's when I finally realized I should have been in business all along."

Jim Cronin, the "liftie" she'd been dating, had decided to stay in Park City as well. "It just seemed so natural," she says. They were married in St. Mary's Church in 1999. They have one child, Zachary, age 12. "He's my life," Cronin glows, adding quickly that her husband is right up there too. "Being a good wife and mother is the most important thing to me now."

Cronin left Mountain Tax in 2006 to work for a local interior designer. A year later, she turned left again when she partnered with a colleague to create Area Design LLC, her own interior design firm. This time though, she turned into the right lane.

"It's perfect for me. My partner is the principal designer and I'm the financial manager. Our office is close to home and my hours are flexible. She's a wonderful designer and we're very organized and detail oriented. Our clients know exactly where they stand all the time. Nothing is open ended."

Cronin says most of their residential business comes from referrals, adding that they've recently ventured into commercial interior design. Last year they opened an online store, www.areadesignllc.com , offering a wide array of home accessories.

Cronin and family live in Pinebrook. Jim works as a commodities trader from his office in Deer Valley. Their son, Zac, will start sixth grade at Ecker Hill Elementary in two weeks.

Melding both family and professional life, Cronin strives to achieve balance in life. Though her journey has taken many turns so far, she's definitely headed in the right direction.

VITAL STATISTICS

Favorite things to do: Read, cook, spend time with girlfriends, travel.

Favorite foods: Mexican and Tex-Mex. "I'm a meat-and-potatoes girl and my husband is a vegan. Cooking at our house is very interesting."

Favorite authors/reading: History, historical fiction and mysteries. "No romance novels!"

Favorite music: "All kinds"

Bucket list: Spain (she's going next month)

Animal companions: Rocky, a five-year-old shih tzu. "He's my little shadow."