The moment I decided to start actively pursuing my career, I became a much happier person. Granted, along the way, I have faced a GREAT deal of personal and professional disappointment, but I am stronger for it and more prepared for life having faced said disappointment. It’s been almost a year since I left my traditional day job and I have to say it’s been one of the best years of my life. I learned so much about how I want to live, how I want to work, and there have been a lot of lessons on what not to do in the future, too.
One of the biggest adjustments in starting over and turning a new leaf was what to do with my time. If you flip your life from one traditional job to another traditional 9-5 job, this next paragraph doesn’t so much apply to you; however, I decided to abandon the traditional 8-5 job for a schedule of my own. The first couple of weeks, my butt made a nice, relaxing indent on my couch, but then it got scary. After 16 years of full-time school and another year of waking up and spending a full day at an office with a bracketed 3 hour commute, I had NO idea how to use free time. None. After I finished a bit of research at my alma mater and studied for the dental admissions test, I had that “oh shit, now what” moment. My whole life has been one giant planner and now, I had NOTHING. The worst thing I could have done was continue to sit on the couch, or apply for another job that made me cranky and miserable. I think I speak for everyone who knows me well when I say, “I am a cold-hearted bitch when I am stressed out and nothing you say or do will pull me from my funk unless I want to be pulled from my funk.” I didn’t want to be that person anymore.
When I started this blog, it was a temporary distraction; I never thought I’d write for more than a month and I NEVER thought I would meet some of my current friends via writing about mustard in my fridge (that actually happened). The doors blogging has opened for me are doors I didn’t expect to exist and I have to say, above everything else, the tight-knit community has made it so much easier for me to take personal and professional disappointment, ex: deferring my dental school applications another year. When I found out about the transcript error I don’t think I spoke for at least five hours and I am quite sure there is no way I could ever replicate my horrified expression. Instead of talk to anyone, I threw myself into writing a post and working on my site redesign, knowing full well I would be calmer and more rational when I reasoned through “the next step.” Once I did, I realized I had all of the work completed and the sense to make sure I physically watch someone submit my transcript next time.
So, what now? Well, in addition to resubmitting my application and definitely gaining acceptance by December 1st, 2014, I am embarking on several amazing business partnerships. My site will be re-launching Monday, March 3rd, 2014 with several new features and weekly segments (there have been a few Easter eggs hidden in social media about new content). We, at Cinq Chicago, are planning the next event, details coming soon, and I am also relieving some pent up stress by processing my Spinning re-certification + training a couple of people each week (super great timing: hello Mexican beach body)! Busy, yes; happy, definitely. I’m hoping to carry my scheduling, work/life balance and peppy, can-do attitude (cheesy, check.) over into my private practice life down the road; I don’t ever want to be the cold-hearted bitch again. I don’t want to be miserable getting up in the morning and I don’t want to dread my job. There are elements of stress in anything and I could find one million things about my current situation to complain about if I wanted to (and sometimes I do), but after all the stress, I’m done beating myself up.
So much can happen in a year’s time. One year from now, I’ll be granted admission into my top choice school, one of my best friends will be married and another one will be almost there, I’ll have been on a Mexican vacation, and who knows, maybe my new site will open even more opportunities for me; if not, it’s the best journal I’ve ever kept. I feel as though there is so much pressure to immediately develop a successful career and sometimes (read: most of the time) I feel like that should be me. I should already have all my shit together and I should already be an oral surgeon. Um, hello, that’s impossible I’m 23, but it’s how I feel. On a rare day when I have above average self-esteem, I look at who I was five years ago and who I am today. It’s such a staggering difference and even though I’m not aware of day-to-day changes, they are happening. Five years from now, I’ll probably have my general dental practitioners license and what a difference that will be. I am writing this now to remind myself I am young and I don’t need to have it all figured out, but I’m also writing this for others who feel this way. It doesn’t matter how old you are, disappointment is awful and any career move is scary. Starting over at 50 is just as scary as beginning at 23, if not more, but it’s do-able. I believe, more now than ever before, everything happens for a reason—career moves or otherwise.