“Regroup”, 7/15/2012, Proverbs 9:9
So last weekend I was talking to my mom and last night I was talking to my sister and with both conversations I found myself pondering my choice of ‘life path’. If you’ve read previous entries in this section of my blog you will know that I’ve said that I’ve always just walked through the paths I feel like God has opened to me assuming that’s direction he wants me to go. It is after all the only path that’s opened up, so I just walk through it. Did I think ‘this’ is where my path was leading? Actually no.
So what was my original plan. Well, and I didn’t figure this out until I was half way through my Ph.D., turns out I probably wanted to go more into public health/epidemiology. The things epidemiologists were doing…that’s what I wanted to be doing. Don’t need a Ph.D. for that, a Master’s is more than adequate. So HOW did I end up here?
In addition it seems that Biology is moving toward a ‘harder’ science with the advent of bioinformatics….in the sense of a lot of math, modeling, statistics. My mind is not naturally adept at ‘thinking’ this way, never has been. I think I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs as well. I am much much better at things like literature or languages and YET here I am, Chief of Bioinformatics at a research institute in Maryland. And yes, I have been trained for this, I can do it…and it can be rewarding, but it’s tiring, it’s challenging and I am plagued by constant ‘ghosts’ of inadequacy left over from my Ph.D. process.
Now to be fair I am getting better in the sense of self confidence in my field than I used to be. Coming out of my Ph.D. I felt like I knew nothing, which was pretty scary walking into my Post Doc. Now I knew that I ‘knew’ stuff or I wouldn’t have finished and graduated with my Ph.D. but my scientific self confidence took a beating for a good 6 years, difficult to undo that right away.
And perhaps that’s my problem, the compilation of coming into a job where I was immediately overwhelmed with the ‘needs’ of the institution that had to be dealt with right away. Being thrust into a career field that moves so quickly and I have trouble already digesting everything associated with it. I am also jumping fields from the ‘environmental’ to the ‘medical’. Jumping from microbial/viral ecology and evolution to infectious disease so I voluntarily walked into a career where I was already starting ‘behind’. Well, not surprising as I’ve never been one to take an ‘easy’ path.
In a previous blog I mentioned I battled with envy of others paths. Friends of mine that seemed to be doing amazing things and yes, I was jealous. I wished my life was so fulfilling as theirs. It was the classic ‘grass is greener’ mentality and I snapped myself out of it pretty quickly. No I am not on the path I had originally thought I’d be on and yes, I won’t lie, that is frustrating.
Am I on a better path? I know my answer should be yes after all its the path I feel God put me on. But my answer is neither yes nor no. Why am I not ‘netting’ happiness out of the path God has put me on? If it’s the right path shouldn’t I be overall pleased and happy with it? Perhaps not? So there are several very reasonable reasons why I am in my current state of re-evaluation:
- Hormones–ya I’m a woman, I admit it, it’s possible I am over-reacting.
- Lack of self-confidence (thank’s Dave)…although honestly I can only blame him for so long, eventually I have to extract my own head from my own @$$ (lovely image I know) and take responsibility for my own growth and abilities.
- I really am not adept at this field, perhaps I should change to something that’s not science?
- I am burnt out. I’ve been constantly going, constantly learning, constantly working for about 9 years now with no break–ya literally…no break. Perhaps I need a ‘sabbatical’ in a sense where I don’t have to worry about work for a determined amount of time. Perhaps that’ll help me rediscover my ‘passion’ again for what I worked so hard for in the first place. Fabulous, so now I just need to magically make that time appear.
- I’m imbalanced. NO, not mentally (ok maybe a little mentally) but mostly it’s literal. In order to for me to function I have to have ‘ying and yang’ in my life. My friends say I am quintessentially Libra (I need weights on either side of me balanced or I tip, mentally and physically). Right now, work is all I have and stuff associated with the wedding, but mostly it’s just work work work. I need work and ‘the creative’, something I haven’t had since moving to MD. I literally eat, sleep, and work. To do things outside of that costs money and time we don’t currently have. And we keep telling ourselves that after the wedding it’ll be better, more balanced…
I fantasize about not having to work, not having to learn, picking up my viola again…I fantasize about sitting at and cross-stitching–dammit apparently I’m fantasizing about being an 80 year old woman–DOH!
I think it’s a combination of factors because of course it’s never really one thing that triggers stuff like this. But I think mostly it’s just that I’m burning out. When you burn the match at both ends for too long, you run out of matchstick; then you are trying to keep the flame alive with no fuel–which is impressive but not sustainable. I suppose I am coming to grips with my own limitations.
Teach the wise and they will be wiser. Teach the righteous and they will learn more. ~Proverbs 9:9
So what am I doing…re-evaluating my dream? I am obviously on a different path than I’d originally thought I’d be on when I was back in high school. I’ve invested so much time and energy in this dream, this path, and quite frankly I wouldn’t change my path no matter how frustrating it got. The ‘life’ experience has been invaluable. That doesn’t mean that its ‘netted’ me happiness necessarily then. Stupid huh? I wouldn’t change my past path, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily netted me happiness either–haha. This is the part where all the guys roll their eyes, throw their hands up and say “There’s just no way to ‘win’ with you!” and all the ladies shake their heads knowing exactly what I mean :).
My dreams? To work with an NGO someday, to teach, to be useful, to satisfy whatever purpose I am hear to satisfy, to inspire, to love like tomorrow isn’t promised…
There’s a quote in the devotional book that I actually liked:
“…going for the dream by a different path is better than no dream at all.”
Ya I have dreams…ya I’m on a different path than I originally thought I would be…and sometimes it’s good to remember and reflect on the path that’s taking you toward those dreams.