That Gut Feeling

Have you ever had something that you knew you had to do, yet you couldn’t? Have you ever had a gut feel about something but not been able to put into words just why you felt that way or what that feeling was?

Have you ever had a big decision to make, and in your heart you had already made it, but it was a matter of convincing your head that it was the right way to go?

Well, I have.

I have always felt like I had a good gut feel, not anatomically or physically because lactose/fructose and gluten are definitely not my guts friends. But that feeling you get when you know something is not quite right, that you don’t feel comfortable doing what you are doing, or there is something about a person that doesn’t sit right with you. Well, that feeling! I feel like that is like my sixth sense. I can just tell when something or someone is not quite right for me, and I think I can tell pretty early on.

I think I always felt this way about being a Physiotherapist, I think from the get go I knew that I wasn’t going to be doing this forever, that this job wasn’t for me. What was I meant to do? Well, I am not sure, but once I realised that this wasn’t the path I was meant to take in life, I couldn’t hide from it. I became more unsettled in my day to day life and I became disheartened with the work I was doing and the life I was living.

Making the choice to stop my work as a treating Physiotherapist was therefore almost liberating, I felt relieved, and I felt happy, something I hadn’t felt in a long time. I no longer went to sleep dreading the next day of work, nor did I trudge through each weekday counting down the hours and days until the weekend.

This feeling was freeing and gave me confidence that I had made the right decision. “You can always come back to it,” is what most people have said, like I was crazy for throwing away such a good career. And yes, at times, I have sat here thinking, did I make the right choice? Does this mean that everything I have done up until this point was a waste?  But, since finishing as physio I haven’t once wished I was still doing it, I haven’t once regretted the choice I have made, and today has really made me feel confident in my decision.

Today I received a couple of phone calls from old colleagues, physio’s I have worked with in the past. Hearing them talk on the other end of the phone about this person’s injury, about the anatomy of it all and the treatment they have had, really made me feel like, 1. I had forgotten a lot already since not treating. But 2. Realise how little I was interested in the intricate details of the injuries and that I was so glad that I wasn’t having to do that work anymore.

I don’t really know if this is a good thing or not, or if it is purely a positive reinforcement that I have made the right choice, and that I no longer have to question myself anymore.

What it does make me think, however, is what do I do now? Where to from here? Is there something bigger and better that I could be doing with my life? Was there something else that I was really meant to do? And was this one way road to physiotherapy a path that I took with blinkers on, shutting out any other opportunity or pathway that could have been there in my peripheral vision? And now that those blinkers are off, will this open up some new avenues for exploration? Well, I hope so.

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Who Am I ?

For whatever reason, ever since I can remember I have hated something about myself. My earliest memory is of hearing my own voice and thinking, “that’s not a very girly voice.” I don’t know why this is, I can’t say a bad thing about the way I was brought up or the environment that I grew up in. Yet I cannot remember ever thinking that I was pretty or beautiful, but rather thinking I was ugly, unimportant and unappealing.

I think because of this I concentrated on what I was good at, I got good grades and I was good at sport. But I relied on labels to describe “who” I was. I was the girl with the glasses that was good at basketball, or the girl that got straight A’s.

These are all good qualities to have, however, they do not define me and somehow I think I allowed them to. Somehow my abilities became who I was, and as result I always pushed myself to live up to these. Thinking that If I wasn’t good at Sport, if I didn’t get straight A’s then, who was I. In my eyes, there was no way that I was going to be the pretty one or the popular one, so for me to be me I had to be exceptionally good at something. I had to excel at something!

I think that believing that what I was skilled at would define who I was, has impacted the way that I see myself and have lived my life to this day.

I do not doubt that by placing this pressure on myself to succeed and to be good at something, that my life was bound to fall apart at some point. That once I found I wasn’t the smartest anymore that once I didn’t have my sport to fall back on, that I would find myself feeling small and insignificant.

Until almost a couple of months ago, I think I still unknowingly lumped who I was in with what skills I had. I was defined by occupation and my occupation defined me. I was a physiotherapist, this is how my friend’s would sometimes introduce me, this is how my grandma would introduce me. And yes I guess at the time I was proud of this, I was proud because it meant that I had gone to university that I had worked hard and that I had come out the other side with a degree.

However, I was being defined by a title, by a skill, by a job. A job that I did not actually enjoy, nor could I see myself staying in my whole life. A job that I did because I worried. I was worried about what others would think and well, what I would think..What am I and who am I if I am not a Physiotherapist?

For so long I have been defined by what I do or what I am good at. But, now that I am no longer at school, I cannot be the Straight A student, now that I no longer play sport I can’t be the talented sportswomen, and if I am no longer a Physiotherapist, then who am I?

It took me a while to realise that I felt this way, and that indeed I had no idea who I was or what I enjoyed. I knew that I didn’t enjoy being a physiotherapist, but take that away from me and again I felt small and stupid and insignificant. Take that away from me and I am exactly the same person I have been all along, but who is this person and how will people define me?

Realising this fact, has allowed me to truly admit to myself that what I was doing with my life was not what I wanted. It was not a career that I wanted to pursue but rather a path that I took on my journey to something bigger and better. I still don’t really know who I am, and I think I have come to except this and along the way have come to realise that I am not what I do nor what I am good at.

Who am I ? Well to tell you the truth, I really don’t know, but I think I am closer to knowing who that person is now, than I have ever been before.