I have a confession: I have never and may never know what I want to do when I grow up. I envy those that have always known, followed their goals and then made them happen to realize their success. Why the envy? Well, it’s probably because I have yet to feel the “passion” that I have always wanted to feel for my job, aka, career. This conundrum has lead me to always be looking for something to fill my creative spirit, while working my “job”.
If you would have asked me four decades ago I would’ve told you that I wanted to be a beautician, three decades ago a radiology technician, but I decided on nursing. While this career has been incredibly rewarding, I find myself longing for more. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. My sisters and I have always dreamed of this business, or that and we continue to dream, of this business or that. I have also found that I love writing and blogging.
Simply put: I have never quite figured out what I want to do when I “grow up”.
For years, the idea that I had to pick a path and then stay with it because that’s what society dictates dominated much of career choices. However, I have realized that my career should not define me, or my creativity. Here in the U.S, we define our self-worth via our job title, or career. Choosing to make different choices, or try other opportunities is often frowned upon, basically, stay in your lane. The truth is that we as a society desperately need to change our mindset.
Life is so short, and to do something that we do not love, even if it is as a hobby with an intent to create a revenue stream should never be passed up.
American culture feeds the idea that status is dependent on titles and financial success. American culture also feeds the idea that all of us must work hard every day, 6 days a week to attain our success. We live defined by our jobs and this is the slippery slope of reality that has defined our people. We live by the idea that we are our job: lawyer, doctor, financial advisor, nurse practitioner or business owner, the list goes on and on.
Thought: When you first meet someone, what is the first thing you ask them? Their name. What is the second thing? What they do for a living. In truth, we are not being nosy, this is just how we have learned to make conversation. I am not discounting the importance of work, I am all about being work-focused. This allows us to pursue new goals and challenges. The problem, though, is that when we define ourselves by our jobs, careers, titles and financial success, we start to lose touch with our ‘sense of self’ and the price is often our own emotional jeopardy.
I am a slow learner, in fact when I make a mistake I like to make it a few times, just to be sure it was a mistake. Please tell me that I am not the only one!
Recently, the lightbulb went off and I was able to recognize and respond to my own life factors, some that could not be changed but some that could. I started to realize that on my current path, burnout was imminent. I am learning that a little self-love is worth more than a paycheck or a title. With some self-relection and self-realization the pressures of defining myself by my career is at times, many times to the detriment of family, friends and “living” life while we are here. After looking at the world and our national culture, I started to redefine the meaning of ‘success’. This has led me to make changes to my career so that I can start living my own life, on my terms.
When my father passed in 2003, I will never forget the things that he felt were left “undone, unsaid and the chances he had in his life to make right the perceived wrongs that he carried with him” that had been long past, and yet, how they haunted him at his end. Of course, he was just 64 when he passed, so young. He thought he had more time. We all did. We all do. We always imagine more time, for this or for that. But time is an elusive element that can never be contained. I do not want to repeat the mistakes my dad made. I have made too many already, yet I can make changes now that will allow for time with family, to heal, to love and to strengthen bonds that are time senstive in this thing called “life”.
So, how are you? How is your ‘self’ according to your job, or career?
The best advice I can give, is to remember that your job is what you do, not who you are. After 25+ years in the health industry, I have learned that being a nurse does not have to define or dictate my passions. Once you look within and start to understand your own personal answers, I guarantee you’ll start to look at your life, and how you live, differently. None of us will get out of this thing called “life” alive so when we are on our deathbed(s) the last thing we will care about is our job(s), career(s), or the title placed upon us through education. This is NOT to say that you cannot be proud of the successes you accomplish, it is only to say that those successes should not define us.
Maybe this doesn’t apply to you, or maybe it does. If it does, if something pulls at your heart strings then do something about it. Make changes now that will enhance your lifestyle and offer you inner peace.