I have been spending a lot of time lately watching television shows and reading articles about people who have interesting careers. People who spend their lives climbing the world’s highest mountains only so they can be the first to ski down the steep vertical slopes of these facades, sometimes without oxygen, from death defying heights of 29,000 feet. I read about the awful tragedy of the avalanche that killed 11 climbers in 2012 on Mt Manaslu as three of the adventurers were attempting to accomplish that goal. The avalanche killed a well known steep skier and mountaineer named Remy Lecluse who had spent his entire life dedicated to the sport and was certainly one of the best in the world. He had planned for every possible emergency on the mountain that he could control. This was one thing that was out of his hands and he lost his life on the mountain that day.
I have read about amazing people who have rowed across oceans solo like Roz Savage. others who have swam from Cuba to Key West like Diana Nyad and people who have made a life out of following dreams that some of us could never imagine. I have sat in awe of these people, wondering how they have had the courage to take the first step on these journeys. There are some people in this world who live extraordinary lives and I truly want to be like them when it is time to start my life over.
You see, I consider this time with Chronic Lyme Disease as a time of change in my life. It is almost like my life came to a complete stop. I lost my health, my career, my home, a lot of my friends, most of my money, all of my hobbies and a good majority of my belongings. I figure that it is a good time to completely start over. My health will not allow me to return to most of those things. I cannot return to my career or my hobbies so I have to find a new way to make money to support myself in the future. For three years I have been housebound or bedridden. As I work to improve my health, I must find a new way to live my life.
Instead of looking at this journey in a negative way, I would rather look at it as a door opening to starting life all over again. The bottom line is, “What am I passionate about?” I know that when I started my last career it was because I felt a passion for it. I would lose track of time when I was taking care of people. I would forget to eat lunch, I would forget to return calls, heck…I would forget that I had to go to the bathroom! The days would fly by and I used to say, “They actually PAY me to do this?” I was so wrapped up in what I was doing that I simply lost track of time. I was intrigued by medicine and that propelled me to stay in a career for almost 20 years. Then I got sick.
Now that I have become the patient, my passion for medicine has completely evaporated. It is sad to say. Being on the other side of the exam table where I have needed to use my education to try to save my own life has exhausted my desire to spend every day submerged in the pain and suffering of people who are dying. Now I would like to find a career that celebrates joy and happiness every day. Something that intrigues me but also uses my talents for beauty, kindness, creativity, joy and is not a matter of life or death. I have seen and felt enough suffering to last a lifetime.
So, I struggle to be patient as I wait for my next “passion” to be revealed to me. I know that there must be something out there that I can contribute to in society once my body has healed enough to re-enter the workforce but it has not shown itself to me yet. There is the saying, “The mind is willing but the body is not able.” That is most definitely the case and it is a difficult place to be in right now. In the meantime, I will continue to marvel at the wonderful careers that people have all over the world and think about how fortunate they are to have found their calling in life.
I hope that when it is my time to start over again, after this Chronic Lyme Disease has lessened its grip upon my body a little bit, that I will be able to find something to be passionate about again. In the meantime, I will continue to marvel at all of the wonderful careers that people are blessed with all over this world and I will fantasize that someday I may be able to do something like them. I don’t want a career that equals stress or a job for a paycheck, I want a life of passion where I contribute to society in my own little way.
To travel the world with my laptop writing about all of the fantastic sights that I see, to take photographs that move people’s souls, to own a flower shop that makes people smile, to work in a small coffee shop in Paris where people mingle, to be a wedding planner that eases people’s burdens and brings them joy on the biggest day of their lives, to write a weekly article in small newspaper answering their questions… it really wouldn’t matter what I end up doing as long as I am passionate about it. Life is about the journey and when a chronic illness nearly ends your life, your priorities about how to live it become clearly defined.