In high school, I really enjoyed my bioethics class. So much I took it again for another year. Then I pursued both a biology and a philosophy degree in hopes to create a bioethics background by combining the two studies. I had my head down through college and pursued both degree plans. It wasn’t til my last semester of college that I blinked, looked up, and said to myself, “I actually don’t want this.” It took getting very close to graduating undergrad to realize I did not want to get a graduate degree in Medical Ethics.
Some years and two jobs ago, I walked away from a career without a back up plan. I had worked at it for so long with blind abandon. I found it fulfilling. I loved the relationships I was building with my patients as a clinical research coordinator. There was room to grow. But I ignored the gnawing that this wasn’t for me. After I finally was brave enough to acknowledge that three years was a good amount of time to know when something doesn’t feel right, I walked away without a back up plan. I exhaled, jumped, and flailed all the way down.
On my way down from that leap of faith, I grabbed the next job path that came to mind. I reflected that I liked my previous work during college as a program leader for a summer camp for at risk children. I did a great job commanding attention from the kids and thrived. So again, I put my head down, threw down money, and started to get certified to be a teacher in Austin. I studied, went to classes, tested, and got my certification. It wasn’t until then that I looked up and thought, “No, this isn’t it either.”
Sometimes it takes me getting to the very edge of something, my nose nearly touching that goal, before I finally open my eyes and acknowledge an inner truth. This isn’t it. Walk away. I’ve never regretted walking away. I’m not one who walks away lightly when it’s something I’ve actually committed myself to. I put blinders on in my commitments. I suspect it’s a mixture of love and dedication but also the fear of facing a scary truth. I didn’t want to look up during college, because if not bioethics then what? I didn’t want to look up mid-career because if not this career, then what? I didn’t want to leave my last relationship, because if not this man, then whom?
I’ve been hard on myself for not reading the signs in my life until I get to the very edge. But today, I decided to exhale. And be glad that I’ve always managed to walk away before losing myself. Even when it’s scary. Even after all I’ve invested. Maybe it’s okay to get as close as I can to the edge. Maybe that’s when the truth is the clearest.
photo credit: Thomas Chen Photography