Earlier today, one of my girl friends who is also a nurse, was expressing to me how she feels torn in her career about whether to stay at her current job or accept another offer elsewhere. Straight out of nursing school, she worked in the ER and quickly realized she absolutely HATED the fast-paced insanity at a facility where she was severely overworked and underpaid. Because of this, she decided to pursue her Master’s degree and become a family nurse practitioner (FNP), and fate brought her a job at a clinic where certain seasons are moderately busy while other seasons are very slow. Well, right now it’s a slow season, which means one thing: a lot of boredom and extra time to think. She explained to me that the reason she is considering taking another job is because she’s been thinking a lot lately about how everyone in society is always growing, always changing, always staying busy and making progress and moving upwards and onwards and sideways and more. To me, this made no sense. Of course, I would support whatever decision she were to make, but since she asked for my advice that is exactly what I gave her.
I reminded her that she is in a profession she loves more than anything, has spent the last several years gaining knowledge of the human body, which she is now using to help people and make a difference each day, that also happens to pay VERY well, in a respectful clinic at an ideal location that allows her adequate time off when needed. It is not necessary to ALWAYS have CONTINUOUS growth, especially after one has had significant years of growth recently, in order to feel like a productive member of society. A job in which some seasons are busy and other times are slow is a blessing- especially for her; for one, because she is about to start a family soon and slow days at work can sometimes serve as the perfect sanctuary when life gets too crazy at home, and secondly because during the slow times she is free to learn or think about or do anything she wants. After pondering upon my perspective, she settled upon keeping her current job definitely, and began to wonder why she wanted to enter back into the insanity of a job she used to hate in the first place.
The reason our conversation really struck me was because I was struggling with the same thing and hadn’t been taking my own advice. It’s true that most people in our society today advocate for constant growth and change and striving for higher and bigger and better heights. And this is true- to a certain extent. However, once some of your goals have been attained, and you have reached a place where you feel successful, it is equally as important to take some time to enjoy where you are and slow down a little and just BE.
For me, moving to a new city has been a challenge in that I am also having to start from scratch and design the life that I wish to create for myself in the years ahead. Although this freedom is liberating and exhilarating, it inevitably comes with periods of self-doubt and thoughts of not doing enough, not growing enough, not BEING enough. In times like this, I need to heed my own advice and remind myself that in recent years, I have had quite a bit of growth both in terms of my personal and professional life- I have completed nursing school from my dream school, started working in my dream profession, and gotten married, moved to a new city, traveled abroad and started a new lifestyle in which I am able to be independent and self-sufficient all within recent months. Of course it will take time to learn to cook and develop various culinary skills, as well as become comfortable with cleaning and organizing my new house and taking care of my in-laws, but that is perfectly okay and my husband is always on my side.
In the upcoming years, I will be starting a new job, a family, and a whole new lifestyle as well. So maybe, instead of stressing so much about not doing enough right now, I should remind myself that it’s only temporary and not only is it okay, but maybe it’s a good thing that should be appreciated. Rather than letting the opinions of others determine my level of productivity, I should be grateful to be able to spend this time for myself, inside and out, meditating and joining a gym and learning to cook and adjusting to new marriage in a new city, which in itself takes a lot of courage and patience. Sometimes, the people around you may accuse you of not knowing or doing or being enough, but if you know you are then their opinion is their own problem. The point I am trying to make here is that when things are slow, when there’s not much going on, when life comes to a stand-still, it’s okay! It’s a good thing, sometimes, to slow down and appreciate what you’ve worked so hard to get, and even if you’re not busy and life isn’t drastically changing for a period of time, you are still always growing, and you are still always enough.