I have thought about writing a post like this for probably seven months. It was finally time.
I share a lot on this blog. Or, it seems that way to the outside eye. There is a big part of my life, something I think about every hour or every day, that I have not written more than a few sentences about to date. I have had my reasons for this. Being a part of the running industry, and also being a 23-year-old resident of the place I like to call “limbo,” there is an unspoken “professional” demeanor I like to maintain on the blog. Basically, I don’t want to write things that come back to haunt me later, or ruin any opportunities. Since my running life, my work life, and my social life are connected so much (unusually so for the average person), I have found myself not writing about one topic that takes over my brain on a daily basis. At the same time, it was starting this blog that has provided me with at least two very real wake-up calls that have caused me to evaluate and question everything I thought I wanted, and to finally settle upon a reaffirming conclusion (for now, as should be added to all “confirmations” until it’s truly real). Like we all announce which race we are running – 10% for the fact that it’s a means of accountability – it’s time to share this.
I am interested in so many things in addition to running. I enjoy marketing, social media, public speaking, painting, writing, journalism, photography, reading, teaching. However, unlike those (many, many people) who aren’t sure what to do with their life career-wise, I have known what I was most interested in for about six years. Over the past two years it has more often than not seemed like there has been a huge, convoluted path over a large mountain standing between me and this goal. There were times I recently questioned if it was worth the effort, the money, the time. I found myself being really happy doing other things and wondering if I was only still telling people I wanted to do this because it was what I was programmed to do. Surrounded by academics and other really accomplished friends in their early 20s on a regular basis, I felt the need to have a similarly-minded goal, and that I would be more respected if I said so. I strayed from my goal and explored other options for a few months. I was (and am…) constantly in a tug-of-war between the countless people who told me this “was a fine place to be at 23,” I was “still so young,” I should “just have fun,” I should be in “no rush at all,” and those who had resumes that resembled those of 40-year-olds, published scientific papers, lofty salaries, and generally just life plans that convinced me I’d someday say, “I know him/her!” Talk about pressure, and confusion.
It wasn’t really until the past couple weeks, when an opportunity was presented to me and was attainable by just saying a three letter word, that I realized I had been right all along. Regardless of the mess I’ve made and the strange path I have taken and will continue to take to get there:
I want to go to physical therapy school. That is, I want to be a physical therapist.
There will be no more giving in, thinking it’s impossible, giving in to others’ doubts, refocusing elsewhere at the sheer overwhelmingness of the prospect. Note: I wrote all of the above before a big turning-point day last Thursday when I landed on an even more specific conclusion about what path I will be taking to get there. I just re-read it though, and everything still applies. The point is, there are some things to not write about on a blog. However, I was starting to feel like I was actually hiding a huge part of myself and my dreams by not mentioning this at all. I’m a very honest person in real life, so it only makes sense to translate it here. I probably won’t write too much about it again…but I’d like to document the important parts of this journey, especially those that will be useful to those reading. As step after step become more official, I’m sure there will be very running-related material to share, and I most definitely will do so.
So, there it is. Time to get after it. If I can run marathons after nine stress fractures and countless other issues, I can become a physical therapist after some not-great undergrad grades due to trying to do a million things at once (e.g., taking care of those injuries and their mental side effects…). That’s what I have to keep telling myself.