I had sudden impression to take a step back and look at my life on paper. So I got a sheet of blank paper and wrote down the "major areas" I thought my life did or should be comprised of. These were my areas: my career, sleeping, eating, cleaning, spiritual growth, getting ready, watching TV/unwinding, service for others and physical exercise. I drew a circle and cut it up into 24 pie pieces-- my 24 hrs a day. Then I started coloring in a pie piece for every hr I spent doing that thing. It was so interesting to visually see my day (essentially my life) colored in front of me. And at the same time- it was depressing. I had this giant green area gaping at me: my career. This wasn't a huge surprise since I spend every day there. However, as I looked at what was most important in my life-- spiritual growth, physical exercise, service for others... they were these tiny slivers of color on my paper. Barely recognizable. When I calculated it out-- collectively, they made up less than 2% of my day. Two percent. I don't know how long I stared at that paper.
That was it. We had to make a change. A big one.
There is more to my life. More to me. More to my existence. More than God intended for me to do in this life then spend my days, nights, weekends and even my nightly dreams as an audiologist. My problem was I wasn't disconnecting from work-- ever. The stress was affecting every part of my life. I had lost myself in the pursuit of success. I didn't want to look back on my life in 10 years and still feel this way. Realizing I had spent 12 years helping people in the hearing world and at the same time completely losing myself, my soul and true happiness in the process. Mike deserved more in a wife than that and honestly, I had to believe that I deserved more than that too.
So I made probably the most difficult decision I've ever had to make in my young life. I quit my job. It's ludicrous really-- completing 8 yrs of college to get your doctorate and then leaving the field. And at the same time, I have never felt such a release in my life. I know I won't be gone from my field forever. I loved audiology. But there is a balance in all things and I lost mine along the way. So in short (too late, I know), I'm taking a hiatus. A break to hopefully allow myself to refocus on what's most important in life: God, family and growth.
Leaving my job was incredibly hard for me. It was almost excruciating to leave my patients, the people I worked with and really-- my identity. Audiology was my life for the last seven years. That was it. That was me.
On the bright side, I learned something really important to me in this process. One: I can do hard things. I can take control, even when I think I've lost it. I can free myself even when I feel trapped by myself. It's very empowering. Lesson learned #2: money, success & promotions... they aren't enough for me. I always thought I'd be motivated by a lot of money. It wasn't until I felt like I was offered a lot to realize that that was not going to make me happy. For the last 2 years we had the big house, the new cars, exciting career possibilities and I still wasn't fulfilled. I've learned there's so much more to life than money and the world's view of success. I really didn't think I'd ever say that honestly. But I've gained a desire for a deeper fulfillment in my life. The fulfillment that comes with a family and relationships.
So since you all are starting to get glassy eyed now (or 20 min ago)... I've decided to post the new changes this big decision had made in our lives later. Here's the good news I want to end with though: when you're devastated that you've reached the bottom of the barrel-- pull your head up and look around. Life has millions of barrels... pick another one and start digging.