This afternoon, I was looking for a binder that could hold my class notes for my most current training (Poynter’s Certificate in Editing). I found several binders tucked away that held old classwork: my yoga teacher training, my Reiki attunements, and my massage therapy coursework.
Almost exactly ten years ago, I jumped off a cliff and into a new adventure. I left a cushy (if highly stressful) desk job to pursue a new career in the service industry. I’d had exactly one massage in my entire life prior to enrolling in massage school. I was nervous about touching people, especially strangers. I knew nothing about anatomy and was frankly a little bit prudish about the human body.
But, I was determined to make a go of it. I studied hard. I struggled financially. Between work and school, I was pulling seventy-hour weeks. I spent most of my school breaks sick. I struggled to remember anatomical terms, and I wrestled with deeply held beliefs that were holding me back.
After nine long months, I succeeded. I graduated. I gained employment. I gained better employment. I did the thing I said I’d never do and I went out on my own. For nine years, I made a good life as a healer. I loved my work. It wasn’t always easy, and I still struggled financially from time to time, but I regretted nothing. This was work I chose to do and I was good at it.
The burnout was slow to build and took years to manifest. I would work too hard, then catch myself at the last minute, piling on self-care until I could push through for another few months. This past spring, however, I finally reached the wall. I was tired in body and soul. After nine years of helping others, I needed to help myself.
It was bittersweet to walk away from something that I was so passionate about for so long. But life isn’t meant to be static. We aren’t meant to continually do the same things day after day, year after year. We’re meant to grow and change and become.
Going through my old massage classwork, I am reminded of how scary it was at first. I doubted myself and my talents. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d become so at ease, so confident in my newfound career. And that’s how it works, isn’t it? The new is always scary; it is only with time and experience that success and confidence gain footing.
Here I am, once again jumping off the cliff. Working with words has been a lifelong dream that I never knew was open to me. Somewhere along the line, I internalized the idea that writing and editing were fine hobbies, but not appropriate jobs. I’m determined to shut that internal monologue up once and for all.
We are meant to dream big dreams. We are meant to reach for those scary things that mean so much. Life is so much more than making do. What are you doing with this precious life you’ve been gifted?