I’m probably having a life crisis…. I think (hopefully) it’s too soon to say “mid-life” crisis, but maybe a 1/3 life crisis….
After quitting my job in June and traveling through Central America for almost two months. I came home to almost immediately break my foot. Pre-occupied with foot healing and inability to work, I concentrated on healing and didn’t really have time to consider what I want to do next with my life. My foot healed just in time for a road trip with my friend Sven. I met Sven on my 2010 journey through Africa and he finally came to the U.S. to visit. This trip gave me another excuse to pre-occupy my mind. Now my Central America trip is over, my leg is healed, my American road trip is over, Sven is gone, I am out of money and unemployed. Now is the time for full on post-travel depression. Reality is setting back in. Turns out reality sucks.
I’m trying to figure out how to make it not suck. I feel like I prefer living in this fantasy travel world of vacation and time off. People are always happy and having a good time. I feel like there should be a way to meld this with a career for myself. There has to be a way. There has to be a way to work in a field that I really get excited about, that has a lot of time outdoors, preferably camping or backpacking, and involves happy people. I have worked 8 years as a small animal veterinarian in daytime and emergency practice. The idea of going back to this does not thrill me. I love the animals and I love helping animals, but talking to stressed out owners about money and possible death fills me with dread. I feel like I would like to take break from that. I need to try doing something happier. One time in 2006, when I was very stressed from working at my first job as a veterinarian, I went on a rafting tour vacation with my mother in West Virginia. We had a great young tour guide named Stu. Stu was handsome, outgoing, strong, capable, happy and fun. He told us that he thought he had the best job in the world. He got to be outside on the river, meet new people, and be a happy part of their vacation. I envied Stu. I still do. I want to do something like that.
The very good thing about being a veterinarian is that I will ALWAYS be a veterinarian, no one can take that away from me. I have the ability to try something else and come back to it later. This is a very good aspect of being a veterinarian, and hopefully I can use this to my advantage.
I feel like I’m at a crossroads of my life. It’s stressful, but I remain optimistic. I have a few factors to consider. I am in a relationship and I have dogs. Some of my job choices may be hard on a relationship and also difficult to do when I need to take care of dogs on a daily basis. I also have a large amount of student loans that I need to continue to pay. These are all things I need to consider. Job ideas that I have considered are working as a tour guide, trying to work with endangered animals like California Condors or bald eagles in the field, teaching biology at a community college or in a vet tech school, working with mules in the Grand Canyon, or leading hiking tours. Ideally I’d like to do something that combines animals, the outdoors, educating people and working with people who actually LIKE what they are doing at that moment.
My boyfriend is supportive and just wants me to be happy. I just need the courage to take the plunge into the unexplored and try something new. I believe I can do it! Let the search begin! I hope I don’t punk out.