On Choosing the Right Path

Choosing what to do with the rest of your life is a lot of pressure. I mean, it's the rest of your life, right?

The hardest part of making a choice for me was/is figuring out if what I wanted for the rest of my life was what God wanted for the rest of my life. Sometimes we get so crazy passionate about something, it fills us with so much joy and purpose, that we feel like yes, this is it! this is what I'm meant to do.

But how do we know if that's what God also wants for us? When we are filled with that passion and lust for the career or that lifestyle, it feels right! But whose to say our plan is the same one God has for us?

I get that crazy, passionate feeling about creating beautiful things + being a small business owner. But the more I dwelled on it, (I've been working from home for four months now,) the more I felt this nagging thought creeping in....

Is this really what God wants me to being everyday for the rest of my life? It felt like nagging because my honest thought was no, this isn't doing enough good in the world to be his plan. 

It was hard for me to accept because I LOVE making beautiful things and I LOVE my businesses. This is what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. But the more I think about God's plan and what He wants for me, the more I wonder if this is it.

So how do I find my true path?

I think God means for us to better the world. I feel that He wants me (and each of us, probably) to leave it better than it was before. The easiest way to do this is by helping individual people. I knew I wasn't passionate about ABA therapy anymore (working with Autistic children,) what I was going to school for previously. I've been feeling so burnt out from spending the last 10 years of my life working with special needs children. It was something that I started coming home from work stressed out over and after 10 years, I was questioning whether I even wanted to have kids at all, because work was affecting me so negatively.

So I started looking at things I'm passionate about that can be used to better the world. It comes back to relationships, infertility, helping people and being an encouraging voice to others who are going through these tough things.

But I can do this in so many more ways than just through my blog. I can do this as a career, for the rest of my life.

Bingo.

So how do you figure out what God's desire is for you? (Keep in mind that this should be something you enjoy to some degree!)

This is the formula I came up with-
Make a list of the things you love/are passionate about.
Can you help somebody doing any of the things you are passionate about?
Can you make a living doing the thing you are passionate about that also help others.

Here's how my list narrowed down.
* Things I am passionate about- relationships, paper crafting, making pretty things, being a small business owner, helping others, infertility, shelter dogs
* Which of these can you use to truly, deeply help others- relationships, paper crafting, making pretty things, being a small business owner, helping others, infertility, shelter dogs
*Which of these things that you're passionate about, that also betters the world, is something you can make a living doing- relationships, paper crafting, making pretty things, being a small business owner, helping others, infertility, shelter dogs

My list at the end looked like this-
relationships, helping others, infertility.

So then I needed to look at career options that use these three things.

*Career options using my previous list
-Helping people with IVF as an embryologist, infertility nurse or take the counseling route as a marriage + family counselor.

*Which of these things am I qualified to do?
Well, I suck at science and I'm not a huge fan of bodily fluids, so the medical careers are out.

I'm left with the counseling route as a marriage + family counselor.
After dwelling on this for a while, (I mean, it took me 25 years to come up with this formula to figure out what I am really meant to do with my life, I didn't want to rush the final decision,) it started to feel more and more like I should do this to help people. But I don't really want to go back to school. I have an Associates in Social Science (psychology,) from the last time I was in school to become an ABA therapist, so I'm already 1/4 of the way there to becoming a family + marriage counselor.

And I feel that being trained professionally in this area is an invaluable skill to have to help others and my own relationships. I also think being a licensed counselor would cultivate more opportunities to help people to the best of my ability AS a small business owner... But do I really want to go spend another 4 years in school and interning?

There is so much pressure to choose the right thing to do for the rest of your life; but here's the thing nobody tells you- it's okay if you choose wrong.

You probably will choose wrong. When you figure it out, you make a change and you choose something better.

I am 1,000% passionate about making beautiful things and being a small business owner. I will continue to pursue these things and do my best to make them successful. In the meantime though, I'm struggling with the decision to go back to school this fall and start working towards my Bachelors to be followed by my Masters degrees. It would be a crazy amount of work. Especially considering that I will still have to be working when I go back to school, but it's 100% worth if for the RIGHT career.

I could specialize in infertility and counseling those who are dealing with that. Degree wise, there is no option to specialize in infertility counseling, but I know that with my personal experience + knowledge combined with a need for this kind of counseling that it will be possible to work with those who need this specific kind of help. A lot of reproductive (IVF) clinics actually require their clients to do mandatory counseling in order to start IVF, which would give me an amazing opportunity to help those whose personal mindset + marriages have been affected by infertility.

Talk about finding your niche, aye?

But again, there's the passion part calling- do I want to go back to school and get the fancy degree to do this really awesome thing? It is an awesome thing but it would cost me a lot of money, time and stress to be able to even start doing it. Especially when I feel like I'm in love with creating + being a business owner and like that is my true calling- even if it isn't "helping" people. Is it enough to do what you want to, even if it doesn't help people. In a world where so many people need help, it feels selfish and wrong of me to choose a career simply because it's what makes me happy- even though I could do something that makes me less happy + fulfilled but helps others.

I want to know if you struggled to find the career when it came to aligning what you would like to do with what God wants you to do! How did you decide? Did you ever choose a degree or career path and it ended up being the wrong one? (I know I did, the first time I was in school and I still don't know if I want to go back to school and pursue something different!)

xoxo,
Laura

Thankful For My Infertility

I know what you're thinking... "Did she just say she's THANKFUL for her infertility?" As little as two years ago, the word "thankful" would have never come out of my mouth in regards to my infertility. Today, however, it is a message that rings true to my core.

I can't put into words how deeply I feel the calling to be a mother. No words could ever convey just how much I want it, how much I feel like I was created for this very act. No words could ever tell you just how disappointed I sometimes often feel when I think about the fact that there are no children in my foreseeable future. 

I couldn't possibly tell you how deeply I feel the following desires-

  • To experience pregnancy. Seeing my belly grow, suffering through whatever terrible pregnancy symptoms that reassure me that I am so blessed to be growing a tiny human inside of me.

  • To create life with the person I love most in this world.

  • To experience being a mother and falling so far in love with this tiny human that I created out of pure love with my significant other.

  • To hear the sounds of toddler footsteps on the hardwood floors. Pitter-pattering through the house. To hear their giggles when they've been attacked with kisses and snuggles from mama or daddy.

  • To spend my days raising children and letting them know just how absolutely wonderful they are and what a gift to the world they are. For my life's purpose to be just that.

  • To know what it feels like to have a baby with somebody I love. The incomparable bond that forms between two people when they decide that they want to create life together. The incomparable bond that comes with seeing the love of your life become a father or a mother.

I could go on for days and days writing this list. The list of dreams unfulfilled, the list of dreams that accompany motherhood that may never be fulfilled for me. There is nothing I can do or say that would make you feel the impact of just how much I want all of those things and more in my life.

And yet, aside from all of these desires, I've found a way to make my life full of purpose and joy. Because as much as I wish I were a mother- could be a mother- will be a mother; it's not happening right now or anytime in the foreseeable future. Take away a person's deepest calling and what are you left with? You're left with a blank slate. An empty space, full of potential and possibilities. An empty space to fill up with whatever you want,

if you only let yourself see beyond the vast emptiness and loneliness that currently resides there and focus on what your life can look like

.

So much power lays within each person living with infertility. The power to completely rewrite your life or to continue living in misery. You get to decide if you're going to see your blank slate as an empty, lonely space where your broken dreams reside, or if you're going to see it as a new space that's full of potential. And I know how hard it is, to leave your heartbreak behind you and keep moving forward (it took me years to do this.) But it's something you can do.

So here's the things I appreciate, the chances I've taken, the passions I've pursued, the things I'm counting as blessings because of my infertility-

  • Because of my infertility, I am not a single mom. As a (happily) divorced gal, I would probably be a single mom right now if we had been able to conceive during our marriage. And if I weren't a single mom, I would probably be a much less happy, less fulfilled person living in a marriage that wasn't right for either of us, simply because we did have a child together.

  • Because of my infertility, I get to move across the country whenever I want. I can pick up my life and my possessions and take them wherever I desire to go. I don't have to take another person's life into account when making decisions like this. I'm able to go when I want to with much less worry about finances and other factors. And I've taken advantage of that. I've moved across the country several times and have lived in 4 different states.

  • Because of my infertility I get to sleep in. Seriously, this is probably one of the things I love most in life.

  • Because of my infertility, I have had the money and time to pursue creative passions. Photography, Project Life, scrapbooking, blogging, etc.... all things I didn't explore before I started looking at my childless blank slate.

  • Because of my infertility, I don't have to worry about the future as much. I can choose to indulge myself. I can go on vacations to see my family. I can invest in things I love. Because my money and my time is mine to spend.

  • Because of my infertility, I am with the love of my life. And he's pretty darn awesome.

  • Because of my infertility, I have had time to grow up. I have had time to become less selfish and more intentional about how I live and what I want in life.

  • Because of my infertility, I have met the kindest women in the IF community. These women have a strength that radiates from within, because of their struggles. These women are some of the most amazing women I have ever known.

  • Because of my infertility, I am brave. I am brave enough to create a life that doesn't involve being a mother like I had planned and wanted. And brave enough to always keep some hope alive that one day, one day I will have a baby.

  • Because of my infertility, I know who I am. And I know who I am capable of being. I know how much potential I have and I am doing amazing things with my potential. I am chasing new dreams.

  • Because of my infertility, I don't take my health for granted. I understand that my body doesn't have to do anything for me. And the fact that it does so much for me and serves as a safe place for my soul is amazing.

  • Because of my infertility, I found God. First, I lost him. Then I came to know, love and trust him in a blind way that requires so much more faith than I ever had before.

When I take the time to count my blessings, and to count all of the amazing things that have happened in my life because of my infertility, I am so thankful. Thankful for my story. Thankful for my struggle. Thankful for my life, however infertile it may be.

And while I would trade all of these things and a thousand more in order to be a mother, I am thankful for the life I have. However childless it is, it's an amazing life because I've decided that's what it's going to be, baby or not.

xoxo, Laura