“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why” - Mark Twain.
At my last work conference (aka Courtney’s Goodbye Tour) a few weekends back, I was barraged - in a good way - by brilliant people that work in group benefits/health insurance about where my next step was taking me. The first time I was asked, I stumbled, slightly embarrassed about my shift towards a Master’s in Public Health, and an eastern medicine interest. The insurance industry is traditionally a very clinical, and very conservative, world. I was nervous to share with business owners that I was taking out yet more student loans, and following a passion towards an undefined goal. Each time I fumbled something out of my mouth trying to explain that I didn’t have a specific job in mind, I was met not only by support, but also by connection. “My daughter is trying to get me into that”, “I practice meditation”, “you should meet so-and-so”. What I found was consistent kindness with very little judgment. Many of them went beyond encouragement. People I admired offered words like, you’ll be successful at whatever you decide, you don’t have to know it all right now. The words of encouragement began to build a stronger support system beam by beam. By the end of the conference, I was an emotional mess. I'm already not great with endings, but to layer gratitude and kindness on top of it, water works.
The “what’s next” question - from all sides - has allowed me to continue to shape and reshape my answer. I stumbled across the Mark Twain quote above, and I felt pretty inspired. In an effort of full transparency I don’t know what’s next - exactly. I know the literal sense - a day-to-day piece meal effort of mortgage payments, student loans, part time jobs, grad school. I know that my passion for yoga/holistic health/eastern medicine practices is consuming. My curiosity piqued about a year ago when I was exposed to functional medicine via a work conference, which appeared like a hybrid of my two worlds. It led to reading obsessively about the heroin epidemic, the pain management crisis, and a firm belief that we can do better. Healthcare may be unexciting or overwhelming to some, but to me it’s a place opportunistic for positive change. So I'm taking steps toward my why.
If I'd been willing to share my interest earlier on, would it have allowed me to stay in my career with a bit more stability? Would it have provided a less scary transition? I don’t know. Days exist that it’s hard to have faith it will all unfold. The last two weeks have involved a broad spectrum of sitting in a friend’s empty bathtub questioning everything to feeling supported by a large group of clients/friends, and celebrating with hilarious dance parties in my front yard. But overall this shift taught me to have faith in how good people are, and to always, always, provide encouragement and support to people making changes. It taught me to ask less about what people do for a living, and more about what their passion is, to learn what’s held a bit closer to their heart. In doing so, hoping to not only extend the same kind of support, confidence, understanding, and kindness, but to also help people on the path to the second most important day of their life.