I ended my 20s with a bang. I quit my job.
My dream job
I planned to be an athletic trainer, beginning my junior year of high school. I distinctly remember the career day when I listened to a physical therapist discuss the difference between an athletic trainer and a physical therapist. In that moment, I knew, I was going to be one of those things.
How did I know?
Well – prior to high school I had a dream of being a division I basketball player. I wanted to play at Stanford University. Don’t laugh – I was decent for a 13 year old!
But, we will never know if that dream could’ve been reality, as due to a heart condition, doctors removed me from participation in competitive athletics. Pulled from basketball, my passion, at the beginning of the 8th grade season because of heart condition.
Fairly difficult, not to mention scary, to handle as a 13 year old girl, who liked to call herself a tomboy.
So, I kind of floated through high school. Met some awesome people. Worked on the school’s news station. But didn’t really know what to do, until I heard that physical therapist speak.
I knew that my purpose was to help people return to sport after an injury or illness – like I couldn’t.
I wanted to help people do the thing I couldn’t do – return to their passion.
This decision guided the next twelve years of my life. I went to a school with an athletic training program. I didn’t study abroad because I needed to get into the program. Studied like crazy to pass the certification exam. Passed and moved across the country for grad school. Then moved to the midwest for my first, and only, full time athletic training job.
I don’t regret any of those decisions. They were all the right decisions. My goal was to work as an athletic trainer with a women’s basketball program at a small Division I or II school. Help women return to basketball – like I couldn’t. Each one of those decisions brought me to my goal.
I achieved my dream that I had as a 16 year old, lost, high school student.
Do you know how heart breaking it is to wake up and realize – that the dream isn’t what you see yourself doing for the rest of your life?
What does it mean if I stop doing this?
The past 12 years of hard work, all those nights you questioned if your evaluation was correct, those sleepless nights in the ER with a student-athlete because you’re on the road and their parents aren’t around, fielding text messages and phone calls on your one night off that week.
This is all I know
It took a lot of soul searching and what if’s, which you can read about here and here, to come to terms with the fact that my dream job will not be how I continue to live out my purpose of helping women return to their passion.
Once something is no longer serving us, I think we have a decision to make. We can either
- Accept it. It’s comfortable, we know what we are doing, I may not be genuinely happy, but it’s safe
- Change it. It’s uncomfortable, we have no clue what we are doing, we don’t know if it will make us happy, it’s uncertain, it requires growth
So I changed it
I quit my dream job
I spent all of my 20s working toward my dream job, only to start my 30s with a new dream. Just having glimpse of what I’m working toward, but no idea how to make it happen.
It’s terrifying, exciting, and ridiculous all at the same time. It’s requiring me to grow and learn in ways I never imagined.
All I do know, is that I want to travel. I want less stress and demand on my time. I want to continue to work, living my purpose of helping women return to what they love, it just may not be basketball this time.
My 30s, if nothing else, will make for a good story some day as I embark on sort of a question mark career change where I’m truly just chasing curiosities to see where they might lead me.
You know, just chasing sunsets.