What it Takes and A Lot Can Happen in a Year
As I think about last July, I was newly pregnant, had just experienced a subchorionic hemorrhage and was almost certain I was having a miscarriage. I went through devastation and then disbelief when I went in to the OB and saw a heartbeat on the ultrasound at eight weeks, reassurance that the baby was okay! From then on out, I was on modified pelvic rest which left me a nervous wreck, fearing that any strenuous activity, overexertion, or any type of stress would cause me to lose the baby.
On top of that, our life was in one big transition stage. Between my husband's job, my professional unrest, and living life in an "unsettled state" (ah medicine life), I felt like I was treading water rather than building the life I wanted.
I’ve always had a bit of a fight in me, always working on self-improvement or towards some goal. Don't get me wrong, there have been some serious downs in life, but I've been able to put one foot in front of the other with generally a positive attitude. Some call this resilience, some grit. But last year, I was tired. Tired of things not changing, tired of being unfulfilled professionally, tired of being unsettled geographically. I fought to stay positive and healthy while wading through some personal and professional battles while my husband continued to stay positive while working on finding another job.
After months of buildup and frustration, everything just seemed to come together last July. After several interviews, my husband got his dream job. We had a baby, my little angel. We have moved to a beautiful location that feels like home. I am starting to make new friends. New beginnings are always exciting....but they are bittersweet. You have to leave something (that is usually comfortable) behind. You can't find new territory until you have courage to lose sight of the shore, right?
A year ago I was full of worry and uncertainty, wondering how I was going to pull myself out of my negative situation and mindset, and now I feel calm and confident with our path and where we are - I am in a completely different place mentally. However, these changes were not overnight. They were honestly the results of years and years of hard work. A LOT of small, manageable steps got us from there to here. Persistence when I felt like giving up, reading when I felt like napping, taking opportunities when I felt like I was qualified for something bigger. Now, one year later, we are settled in a new city, with new jobs, and a new healthy baby.
So what does it take?
At some time or times in your life, you are going to have to push through. You are going to feel stuck, unsatisfied personally or professionally, and like everything is out of control. This could be with your relationships, family planning, grad school life, family, etc.... Sometimes life steps in and changes our path for us, and sometimes we have to forge through ourselves.
start with some soul-searching
What exactly do you like or not like about your current situation. You may "feel" yucky, but what do you really want?
Work on yourself
You will never be happy with outside circumstances until you are happy with yourself. This will require you getting uncomfortable personally before you can get to that really comfortable, calm, confident space. Exercise, go to therapy, spend time alone, take a trip, spend time with people you love, read.....whatever you need to do to feed and heal your soul.
Once we got through the moving process and I had a baby, I used the first six months of this year to focus on myself and work on self-care. I hired a nanny (something I never had with my first and I was always frazzled!), got massages, made time to exercise, spent time with friends, and worked on projects meaningful to me. Most of all, I slowed down, something I've never really done before. Over the last ten years, I have been focusing on school, work/career, and family....I haven't taken a lot of time for myself and this was exactly what I needed.
know where you want to go
What do you want to do? Not what you "should" do or are "supposed" to do, not what your friends, your boss, or your parents want you to do.....what do you want? Now, you may still have to keep your day job and make your dream your side-hustle or hobby, but if it's something you love and enjoy, you will find the time. Don't be discouraged if you don't have an answer. Just keep putting time into yourself and it will come.
dont stand still
Take those little steps and don’t be discouraged! Work, work, work......it's not going to happen any other way. I think we always underestimate how much work something will actually take. Mentally prepare yourself and go for it!
I have a goal that as sat in the back of my head for the past five years. I often say, I’ll start working on it on Monday, or next month, or at the beginning of the year. Do you know what? I'm still at the same place! Nothing will happen with that unless I take my own advice and take action.
Get resources if you need them
I cannot tell you enough how spending the money on good child care has changed my life. I have had time to focus on myself personally (our bodies go through a lot during pregnancy!) and professionally. I am happier all around and have such quality time with my children now. Professionally, I have connected with people who share my vision. The energy I receive from them pushes me to be better. Reach out to someone who is doing what you want to be doing. Read some books, listen to podcasts, immerse yourself in the field you aspire to. Do not be afraid to reach out and do not be afraid of the work. I have never had someone not help me or give me advice when I ask. Reach out to me if you would like! I am always happy to help and share whatever resources I have (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Similar to above, but connect! People with shared goals can move mountains. Find your tribe. You may be an introvert. You may be someone with a lot of superficial, surface relationships. Be vulnerable, bare your soul, and don't be afraid to share yourself. The people meant to be in your life will come.
As I reflect back over this example, I am encouraged by how far I have come and because it means that I can have some big goals accomplished by this time next year! So hear I am, doing Whole 30, writing a book, writing pharmacy articles, being confident in what I know and have to say, and really really enjoying my relationships and time with my family. And it took a lot of work, but it was all worth it.
So what will it take from you to reach your goals?