This past Tuesday my roommate and I adopted a cat. He was the first and only cat we looked at. He’s also the sweetest cat as far as cats go (if you’ve owned a cat you know what I mean). He’s playful and curious and snuggly and independent. He also gives me some much needed emotional support when I’m stressed, which couldn’t have come at a better time.
Recently I’ve been rethinking my future. I had dreams of going into research, of managing my own lab, of being the busy, perfectionist, workaholic I can be but not always am. But now, I’ve dropped my maths minor, and am considering going in a completely different direction with my life. I tend to flipflop between doing nothing and doing everything (there’s probably a psychological diagnosis there somewhere). Lately school has been stressful; I’ve been in it longer than I can personally handle. Going through the red tape of learning things I most likely would have to relearn in the way whatever my future workplace prefered, just for a piece of paper that says I can follow directions even if I think they’re pointless, or if I don’t enjoy doing whatever it is I’m told to do.
I’ve been tired and unable to work up the interest and passion required for grad school. I’m a work-9-to-5 and have-homework-only-sometimes kind of girl. I want a life with hobbies and family and pets. I don’t want my whole life to be locked into one thing. I’m a Jane of all trades and a little bit like Carly’s brother from iCarly: I’ve tried a bit of everything.
He ends up being an artist. I really miss the arts. Theater was magical, dance was moving and calming, writing is like building a river of words, and singing has the ability to make my shower the land of whatever emotion I damn well please at the time. Maybe this is because the arts let you be a Jack-of-all-trades. It doesn’t scold you for taking an interest in multiple areas.
My brain isn’t unique in this aspect, but I have a tendency to hobby/interest jump. I’ll try something, enjoy it, then jump to something else. I’ve done it since I was very little and figured out this is probably due to the fact that I don’t like feeling tied down to a specific way of life. My way of living is less important (as long as I’m healthy and happy) than the people I live that life with. If I’m stuck in a certain way of living, I might not be able to be there for the people I care about or do something fun or important when surprises pop up.
Chronic illness has also closed some doors for me simply because I don’t have the energy to deal with a lot of stress or extra work. It’s not that I’m not a hard worker, it’s that I’ll put in the work and burn myself out later. The more I think about it the more I realize I don’t really want to attend grad school. I want to try something I can change easily. I want to write. I want to sew/knit. I want to teach dance. I want to do a job that centers around organization. I want to have the freedom to be who I am with the interests I have at the time.
This is stressful because society, my illness, and my survival needs all dictate I choose something and stick with it so I can rise on the economic ladder and support myself. I’m not sure I’m going to do that.
As I snuggle with my cat, and try to study Russian for my class, I’m thinking about what type of future would be best for me. I know I’m keeping my grad school doors open, because maybe when I look at the places I could go I’ll be more passionate. However, I also could do a number of other less stressful things that I would be just as happy with.
For non-Spoonies, this kind of problem is just an issue of what interests you and maybe what the people in your life want and what will help you survive. For Spoonies, we have an added issue: will the job I want be too difficult or impossible with my particular health concerns?
My heart condition makes fast paced or physical work difficult. My gastro condition can compound that by robbing me of proper nutrition. Stress causes both to become exponentially worse. It’s a lot to consider.
Here’s the nice part: life can change. We can get new jobs, go back to school, try something new, move somewhere new. So, for other Spoonies or people without chronic illness, maybe this will help you as well: Do what makes you the most happy. If you find out it’s not for you, then take a different road. Our lives don’t ever have to be like anything done before. Each person is unique, so are our lives.