STRIFE HACKS: Am I Crazy?

 I'm a 29 year old unemployed "doctor" by choice, raising my 1-year-old son and desperate for a creative life. I recently turned down a really great residency offer, and I'm starting to think I am crazy for it. I've stayed home for over a year now and have yet to write more than 1 blog post.... create and sell one item of my own making.... or feel remotely contributory beyond my roles as a wife and mother. Am I crazy for turning down a great job opportunity in something I actually know to chase after the unknown? And further, am I crazy for thinking that I could live a successful CREATIVE life when I still can't define what that means for me? 

Additionally, HOW DO I FIGURE OUT WHAT I CAN OFFER THE WORLD?! Especially when my professional endeavors have been so hyperfocused on one thing for so long. Possibilities are exciting but how do i even open up this world of endless possibilities for myself when everyday is spent in the confines of my cute little house, with snot and mac n' cheese all over my mom-jeans?

 

Welcome to the club of Overwhelmed With (in)Decision! If you're crazy, I'm crazy so we're going with a NO on that question. Congratulations for turning down something that seemed like exactly what you should be doing. That's not an easy choice to make: you seem ungrateful to people who want that opportunity, you may seem crazy to loved ones that want what they think is right for you, it may seem very selfish to not do what everyone (including yourself) assumed you would do. IT'S OKAY TO BE SELFISH. This life is for you to live. It's short and it can be difficult and we damn sure need to be doing what we're doing for ourselves. It's the surest path to be the best person you can possibly be for your family, your friends, your community, and whoever you happen to serve in this world. Being a certain kind of selfish really benefits everyone. 

As for what comes next, I personally spent several years drowning in trying to figure out where I belong. It can be very difficult to have a lot of choices and it's daunting to find what will really give you a sense of purpose and pay the bills. Both are very important. I touched on this some in Strife Hacks: I Hate My Job  but we don't always have to give up on our job, our path, our expectations to find some passion. How can you combine what you know and excel at with something that will really drive you? Reading your background and question (which was abridged above) all I can think is combining a creative life with the medical studies and background you already have. Writing (blog, advice column, consulting, medical journalism), medical photography (how cool does that sound?!?), public health (creating informational seminars), creating workshops for children so they can learn early how to take care of their bodies, making anatomical figures or drawings: these could all be potential options or at least expand your idea of what could combine creativity, service, AND the field that you've spent so many years studying. Girl, now I'm jealous of all these cool options! A lot of these things would be flexible enough to allow you the time you want with your family and your urge to mean something more to the world. 

If you'd rather completely leave the medical field or feel that you can't find your creativity there, I'd suggest taking some classes to see if anything lights a spark for you. Museums, local artists, colleges, Boss Babes special events are some places that could provide some direction ranging from free to tuition dollars, one time events to weekly meetings. Hopefully you can find something to fit your schedule and life. Reach out to other Boss Babes or community members that are living and sustaining a creative life. Most of those people that I know would be more that happy to share their story about how that life came to be as well as the struggles and triumphs that go along with it. 

You've also mentioned that you've neglected to really pursue anything while you've been home with your son. When working from home it is especially important to make and keep some sort of schedule. And being at home with a child, you have to make it a realistic schedule or it will fall apart quickly and the next thing you know it's been another year with no blogs, no crafts, and no progression. You know when your son usually naps or is content on his own; plan that time for things that you will need a little more focus on. Save things that can be part of multitasking or worked on with some distractions for times when he needs more of your attention. Get (or make) a planner and set your schedule as best you can. I love Panda Planner because it keeps me accountable but still reminds me to be happy for the things I can do every day. Give yourself a reasonable number of tasks that you WILL get done each day and some tasks that can float around a little. While it's important to create some sort of regimen, setting unrealistic expectations and beating yourself up when you don't complete tasks will do nothing to spark your creative nature and you'll be back in the same overachieving patterns that have plagued you in the past.  

Last piece of advice: be adaptable. If you're living a creative life the demand for what you're doing will probably come and go to an extent. Also, the things that serve and drive you right now might not always do it for you. That's part of growing and it's more than okay. It's cool to change your mind and there's nothing wrong with letting go of ideas or projects that don't make your life better in some way. If something works, use it the best way you can; if it doesn't work don't spend all your energy trying to fix it. 

Thanks for typing in and keep breathing,

E