Today has proven to be one of those days of deep soul searching for me. I’ve spent the last few days thinking about the direction my life will be heading in the next 6-7 months…I know that’s really far out and probably not worth my energy at the moment…but, given the worrier that I tend to be, it’s been on my mind. My intern program will be ending at the end of July, and so I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’d like to work when I convert out of the program. What’s interesting about this is that I’ve known from pretty early on in the program that I wanted to ultimately work in the NIH Clinical Center. I’m so touched by the work that is done there, it just feels like where I’m supposed to be. Despite knowing this, for some crazy reason, I won’t say this out of my mouth to the people who could have a great impact on this becoming a reality. As I was going through on of my mental fits today, I had to come to grips with that awful thing called vulnerability again. I just shared a message at church 2 weeks ago about the need to be authentic and vulnerable, and yet, I struggle to be those exact things on a daily basis.
It’s so easy to be true to ourselves when we’re just talking to that thing that resides between our ears, but when we have to express those thoughts and feelings to an audience that resides outside of our brains…that’s when it gets hard. Telling other people those things that could result in me falling flat on my face is tough stuff, especially when everyone has an opinion. People are certainly entitled to their opinion, but too often I think we forget how courageous a person is when they share the tough things in life. In an instant, I could go from looking quite clever and well put together to looking like an absolute fool. No one wants that! And yet, today, it became crystal clear to me that the only way I’m going to make forward progress in life is by crossing the tracks of authenticity and vulnerability. In this introvert’s book, life doesn’t get much harder than that. It’s one thing for people to secretly know that everything isn’t all together in my life, but it’s something totally different for me to openly admit that I’m stressed out – financially stressed, mentally stressed, physically stressed, emotionally stressed…JUST STRESSED! I’m trying to hold it all together outwardly, but inside I’m wondering when are all of the chips going to fall into place. Don’t get me wrong, life could be much worse so I count all of my blessings, but…I’m tired of my daily commute to work, I’m tired of having to be in the office 5 days/week because telework isn’t an option currently, I’m tired of church, church responsibilities, and church stuff, I’m irritated because I’ve gained A LOT of weight, I’m tired of being too tired to go to the gym, I’m tired of having a too tight budget, I’m tired of people taking advantage of my willingness to do this, that, and the other, I’m tired of others not stepping up to the plate but always wanting to take credit, I’m tired of not saying “no” enough for my own sanity…I’m just plain fed up with my own self.
And yet, reaching this place is a good thing…it leads one to do some serious soul searching. Today, with a little nudge from my mentor, I’ve been driven to critically assess some major life decisions – where to live, where to work, what I need from both of these, what’s a want, what’s a necessity, what’s absolutely unacceptable for my life. I’ve had to remove emotions and remove the influences of others (who indeed mean well, but can’t let go for their own reason), and figure out what is best for my life. I’ve come to value the wisdom and advice of others, but now is a time to step back and look at things from my perspective alone. It’s one of those seasons in my life where I truly have to do what’s best for me.