One foot in the real world…

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And one foot pointing toward my dreams…

I haven’t been able to write as much as I’d like recently, because I’ve been busy focusing on my real-world exploits: specifically, earning money for grad school.

It’s hard to find the right balance. Follow your dreams and the money will come, they say. But when your dreams involve $70,000 in student loans, and three years with no income… blazing ahead with no thought of the financial risk is a little easier said than done.

For now, I just have to remind myself to slow down, and check in with the part of myself that knows exactly what my dreams are. The part that, despite whatever else is going on in my life, never truly loses sight of what I want to do.

After all, a lesson I’m learning is that it’s not just what you do as you go about your daily life– it’s also how you go about it.

***

A mistake I’ve made in the past is to cut myself off completely from my dreams, focusing only on the pragmatics of what I need to get done. At times, it’s seemed easier. Safer.

But I’m realizing that was not a sustainable way to live. When you try to numb yourself to pain and doubt, and rush through life distracted trying not to feel anything… you also miss out on the good.

There is a certain pain that comes from trying to suppress your dreams. If you block it out for long enough, it will grow until you can’t ignore it anymore.

My goal right now is to remain focused on what I need to do in order to achieve my goal, without letting myself get so mired in the details that I lose sight of my original purpose.

***

I’ve written a lot about helping people through chronic pain, and that’s a huge part of what I want to do as a PT. But ultimately, it’s about something bigger.

Really, it’s about providing a space for people to begin, wherever they are. To create a space where there is no judgment; where I believe my patients when they tell me how bad it really is, without giving them any reason to feel ashamed, or to censor themselves.

And then, using that as our starting place, we’ll work together to find answers. I know how hopeless things can seem at times, because I’ve been there myself.

Sometimes it can take years to find the right answer– or answers. Sometimes you don’t discover everything you need at once– you discover what you need in stages.

***

I want to create a space for people to be in touch with their bodies, in whatever way works for them. To show my patients that you don’t have to wait until you are completely “better,” by some objective measure, to begin to create a sense of peace in your body.

You can actually begin the process right away– before you do anything else, before you’ve spent weeks in PT exercising.  It can actually be the very first thing you begin to work on. Sometimes, you just need to have the right person to show you the way.

I know, because I’ve been lucky enough to find those right people in my own life. And I hope, someday, to give back what I’ve learned, and be that person for others.

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I’ve come so far since the days when I was a terrified teenager with compartment syndrome and an eating disorder.  I may not have gone back to running 40 miles a week, but on the inside, I am millions of miles away from where I was.

There is so much that has gone into changing my perspective, and I hope to share it all with you.  I hope you’ll come along for the ride.


4 thoughts on “One foot in the real world…

  1. I can relate on the reality of getting your degree – I’ve been in school, technically, for 4 years already, but I have no degree yet to show for it. It’s so frustrating! I went to school online so that I could work full time and take a full course load, but my online school didn’t offer my major. I’ve taken every possible class that I can online, and now I’m to the point where if I want to finish and get my degree, I have to go to a real campus. Which isn’t cheap. So I’ve spent the last year of my life trying to save for this. All the while my friends have their fancy degrees, and some of them are even launched into a career, but they’re so far in debt their lives are conditional. I’m not in any debt, but I don’t have a degree, so I can’t work the career I want. I know I’ll get there, hopefully without piles of debt, but being patient and slowly taking classes, when everyone else around me is finished and moving on towards their career, it’s a bit overwhelming.
    Good luck with Grad school! I’m rooting for you!

    1. Hi there! Thanks so much for your kind comment! I totally hear you. Most of my friends have been working in their “adult” careers for a few years now. Sometimes I feel like I’m lagging behind, but I have to remind myself that everyone’s path is different– and I’m working towards something that I really love. If I had gone to grad school right out of college, like many of my friends did, I would have ended up with a Master’s degree in social work, which ultimately would not have been the right thing for me. And, like you, I’m taking the slightly longer road in hopes of ending up with less debt in the end! I think it’s worth it.

      Best of luck to you as well! Speech-language pathology sounds fascinating– I hope you are able to finish your undergrad degree without *too* much trouble!

      1. I had no idea what I wanted to do originally, I just figured I’d start out by taking the general courses through an inexpensive community college. That was the best decision I could have made. During that time I cemented what I wanted to major in, and even though I still don’t have an associates, I have all the needed general classes to get me straight into my Bachelors without too much woe.
        Thanks for the relate-able posts!

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