You know that feeling you get when you spill hot coffee in your lap on the way to work? It’s as though the Universe is trying hard to tell you something. We’ve all had those moments. The day is going so woefully badly, you just want to crawl back into bed and wait for tomorrow. It’s like knocking yourself out to get somewhere & achieve something, and suddenly realizing it’s not where you want to be anymore. There is something very odd about humans and the concept of success. It seems as though many of us are happier working toward the goal, than achieving the goal itself.
There is something extremely humbling about realizing that 12 years of post-secondary education didn’t magically bring me the career that would make me happy for the rest of my life. Twelve years post-high school, sequestered to libraries, laboratories, clinics, hospitals, seminars, and lecture halls, surrounded by people with black tape on their glasses and the fashion sense of Rodney Dangerfield,
I had no idea what a mulligan was, but it seemed like this would be a good time to request one. Working hard was second nature and I had grown up in University Hospitals and laboratories. Ultimately, I had ignored the screaming horse-crazy voices in my head, distracted myself with developing additional interests (fitness and sports) and set the bar high becoming part of the inner core of faculty at Johns Hopkins University. Getting there was rewarding in and of itself. Dad would have been proud. Though, when my grandfather insisted that I show my University identification card to the proprietor of his neighborhood’s maple sugar house, it was hard to admit even to myself that I might need to move on.
Considering departure from academia was neither easy, nor comfortable. The process was long, convoluted and took many directions. It has not made my life easier or less stressful. I have leapt more obstacles and acquired more war wounds than I thought possible. I am, nevertheless, happier and and have a sense of satisfaction having followed this path that I recognize would elude me for all of my life , if I had chosen otherwise.