I’m going to tell you a secret - are you ready? You are not stuck.
The kids and I have been talking a lot about school, jobs, and life in general what with Bree being a sophomore and Conner getting ready to start college this fall after taking a gap year. We have had multiple conversations about how even if you start school for one degree and decide you don’t like it, you don’t have to stick with that one. You can switch. Even if you're halfway through or more. It’s ok. If you do finish that degree, get out in the workforce, and decide you actually don’t like that for a career - it’s ok. You aren’t stuck. You can go do something else.
It might not be easy to leave that job/career/degree program, but if you are going to be miserable if you do stay in it… it’s time to change. There are other things to learn. There are other ways to make a living. And making a living should not dominate your life. If your job keeps you so busy you can’t take your vacation days, you bring home extra to work on nights and weekends, you have no time to really enjoy life and do things you want to do… you might just need a change. Now… if you’re bringing work home because that is your passion and what you really want to do with your life that’s one thing. But if you’re bringing it home because you have to in order to earn a paycheck and it’s sucking the joy right out of your life… that’s something else entirely.
Dolly Parton wisely said, “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” I was stuck in that rut for a while and it’s easy to do. There are bills to pay, groceries to buy, kids to raise… but those kids would rather have me here with them more and present while I’m with them than they would to have me gone all the time to make more money to spend on/for them. Time is your most valuable commodity. Are you living life with your time? Or just making a living?
The tortoise in the picture at the top of this? That tortoise is pretty stuck because it lives at the Nashville Zoo and doesn’t have a lot of choices in its life. The people who have the job of taking care of that turtle? They’re not stuck. Now, personally, I’d LOVE to get paid to feed and play with giant tortoises every day, but the people who work there might not. It might just be a job to them. And they might not really like it. They can leave. They can go learn to do other things. If they want to work at the zoo still, they can move to another area. If they don’t want to work at the zoo they can learn something new and find a new job.
Currently, I’m a speech-language pathologist. Several many years ago, with the English Lit Batchelor’s degree I earned in undergrad I was working at the local newspaper. It wasn’t a bad job. I enjoyed it and the people I worked with, but I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I could have said, “I have two toddlers and I’m pushing 30. This is just what my life is. It’s too late to do anything else. I’m stuck.” But I didn’t. I went to school for a long time to get that SLP degree (three years of grad school is extra long when you have toddlers!) and I pay quite a bit to stay certified. Is that now my only career option? If I decide to jump ship and go work at the zoo as a turtle keeper have I wasted all those years and all that education? Nope. For now, God has called me to be an SLP and I’m happy doing it. God might nudge me later and tell me it’s time to go be happy being a turtle keeper. I’d still have all the knowledge I gained. I don’t feel like knowledge gained is ever wasted. Now I wonder if zoo animals ever need speech therapy… hmm…
Did you know that Michael Crichton went to medical school? Yep. He did. Graduated from medical school and received his M.D. Decided that he actually did not want to practice medicine and went on to be a best-selling author, which is where his heart truly was. Imagine if he’d thought, “Well, I spent all this time and money going to medical school, so I have to be a doctor. I’m stuck.” We wouldn’t have Jurassic Park along with all the other great novels he wrote!
I have been a writer since I was a wee thing. Literally, I started writing creatively as soon as I could hold a pencil and spell words. My mom still has some of my early scribblings somewhere I think. When I am so tired because of work that I can’t write, that’s a problem. I have always known that one of the things I was put on this earth to do is to write. What have I not been doing the last several many years because I have been working so much? Writing. For a while there I couldn’t even find the tiniest creative spark and that hurt. It felt like something in me had died. Luckily, it was just sleeping and I’m starting to wake it back up.
Will I ever be Michael Crichton famous? Who knows? Will I become a master gardener herbalist chicken farmer? I’m already a chicken farmer. I’m working on gardening and learning herbs. I may make it to master gardener level someday. Will I be a tortoise tender at the zoo? Maybe someday just for fun.
What were you put on this earth to do? What was your fondest “when I grow up I want to be…” dream when you were a kid? One of my favorite movies is A Knight’s Tale in which William Thatcher wants to be a knight but is told he’ll probably have to settle for being a lowly squire all his life or a roof thatcher like his father because that’s where his born station in life has put him. But he is determined to change his stars. And he does. You can, too. Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to truly live. You Are Not Stuck.
PS. Two days after I wrote this blog post (that I’m just now getting around to posting) I started listening to START by Jon Acuff.
He talks about the exact same thing I’m talking about in this blog post, except for a WHOLE lot more in-depth and with actual action steps to get yourself out of feeling stuck. Check it out! Jon’s books are easy to read and if you don’t like reading, they’re easy to listen to on Audible. He narrates his own books and does a great job!