Whoever we want to be.
Sounds nice, but I’m not actually sure if I believe that or not. Trust me, I believe in wild aspirations and following the craziest of dreams, but try as I might I would never be a world renowned artist or show-stopping singer. Those gifts are not mine.
I do believe, however, that we can put ourselves into boxes and put aside much of the potential within us. We chose one job or one career track and decide that is all we will ever be. Because of that, I think many of us have sold ourselves short. Maybe there is more.
I love nursing, it is inspiring, challenging, at times heart-wrenching, and brings me so much joy. It encompasses many of my talents and passions. But not all of them. Though I got a lot of fulfillment from it, I felt somewhat frustrated in my job, a little put into a box. But I told myself, this is what I studied, this is what I know, this is what I have to do. I do not, in fact, think that is necessarily the case.
My husband asked me if I wanted to go on an adventure, if I would walk alongside him for a few months and do something together. I absolutely agreed. Our last few years were full of me working full-time and being a full-time student and him putting his energy into starting and growing a business. We loved it, but it was crazy and at the end of the day we had little energy left for each other. This adventure would be an opportunity for us to spend time together, to work together, do everything together. And so we did and spent a beautiful six months in East Africa. I did not spend much time at all in hospitals or clinics, but I felt so fulfilled and felt I was sharing a piece of myself with others in a way I never had before.
It was wonderful. And even more than learning to know more about my husband, I learned about myself. I learned that I love video. The feeling of capturing a moment in time, a moment that will never happen again. There is something so magical and beautiful about it! I learned that I like editing. Being able to create a meaningful story that can touch literally thousands is so compelling. It was thrilling to write story lines about world-changers, video gorgeous Tanzanian sunsets just before the rain fell, and set up interviews with men who were building wells and schools and saving their communities. It was hard, fascinating, and so rewarding, too! I learned that I enjoy business. Making something out of nothing. I learned that I love writing. The ability to put thoughts and ideas into words and being able to share them with someone else. I also learned that I have a passion for justice and for empowering other women and that I want to make a difference in the world. I did not know these things about myself, because I never gave myself the chance. But now they are things that are truly a part of me. Do they have anything to do with nursing? Not really. But they are me. I am more than a profession and so much more than a career.
Will I return to nursing, yes, I am good at it, and I love it, but I do not know exactly how that will look yet. I have learned a whole other side to me, a whole new piece of my heart. It is a side that I love and I desire to cultivate. So don’t be surprised if you find me caring for your family member in the hospital, but also don’t be surprised if you see me filming your daughter’s wedding, or traipsing around Africa looking for a great story, video gear in hand.
I believe there is a lot out there for me, for all of us. So much to learn, see, and discover. No matter who we are or what we do, we are not defined by one thing. Not just a mom, teacher, manager, or lawyer. We are more, we are called and destined and are full of gifts and abilities. The things we are passionate about are not a mistake, I believe that God puts them on our hearts and they are our calling.
All the world is waiting for each of us to come into our own. To discover that our worth has nothing to do with one job that we chose long ago and for us to realize that we have so much to add to society.
We are fiery hearts, brave spirits, and wise minds. Let us not forget it. Let us all come into who we are deep down, not defined by outside standards, the thoughts and opinions of others, or by what society has pegged us into. Let’s be our true creative and passionate selves. After all, my husband is always telling me that God is the real creative, and we are simply fashioned after Him.
I have heard it said that life begins at the end of our comfort zones. I’m about to take the next step.