"How could you go through all of that schooling, spend all that time studying and just walk away?"
I used to think this question when I'd hear that someone had retired from acupuncture practice, definitely from a place of judgement and self-vindication, 'that will never happen to me...' until it did.
This woman was very friendly, striking a conversation before Spin class last weekend, until she uttered that sentence I've come to loathe, "oh, you're married and have a child, so you're fine...", and then I got to hear about how she'd studied in China and that she's a PhD candidate and that acupuncture is her life.
Competitive cow that I am, my buttons pushed for being judged, I began to list my credentials: where I went to school, my length of practice and where. And then I threw down the gauntlet, because I wanted to shut her down,
"Well my sister died. that's how I walked away..."
Thankfully the conversation was cut short as the teacher approached, and because this lady is a sub for the gym, she was off and I was off the hook, although I haven't really let myself off the hook since.
How could I walk away?
I loved being an acupuncturist. I loved having a job that I loved and yet, it didn't define me. I felt confident in my practice and loved the freedom that it allowed me to explore my creativity. Acupuncture was my means to a creative life and the best part was that there was no glass ceiling.
And now I have absolutely no interest in a practice. None. I haven't needled anyone in almost a year and interestingly, I've had no desire to. I wonder if I even remember point location it's been so long, and then I wonder how it has come to this.
It's been nine months since I made the decision to retire and I'm still no closer to any answers. I feel like a shadow of myself sometimes, lost, because I've always worked and a part of my identity has always been linked to being independent and self-sufficent and earning a living played a huge role in that. Being unemployed feels terrifying because I'm anything but independent and it can feel like a black hole full of no plans or goals when I consider my options.
I know that as long as I wish for someone to tell me what to do, or for the answer to magically appear, that it won't. But trusting the process, riding the wave...all those sweet sentences that can be typed ring false.
I need to make a plan, even if it's not the plan. I've reached saturation, it's time to move out of this stagnation.