I recently had someone ask me if I enjoyed my job. The main reason for this question was not because of anything in particular regarding the job itself, but rather because I was finding other things to do outside of it. This isn’t the first time this has come up, amazingly. Besides working at the clinic, I have two home-based businesses that allow me to bring in additional income while having fun and meeting new people. I realize that most people would say that they have hobbies and passions outside of work, mainly family, social life, and vacations, but when it comes to my life, I feel like there is so much more out there that I want to discover, something that is missing.

I’m almost afraid to use that wording. People read things like that and think that I’m not happy or that I am dissatisfied with my life. That’s not true. I love my life right now, I thoroughly enjoy my job, I’m truly happy. But I feel like there is a part of me that hasn’t been developed yet. I have spent literally my entire life reaching this point, getting through school, arranging my life solely for this purpose. Now that I’ve achieved this goal, I feel as if there is a part of me that I don’t yet know. My career is only one part of who I am, only one facet of my personality, one small piece of my soul. The rest has been suppressed, pushed down, put on the back burner so to speak so that this one part could come to being. Sometimes this is necessary, and in my case, getting through school required me to pour everything I had into this one sole goal in order for me to succeed. For me to explore other avenues would have been overwhelming, most likely to the point of either sacrificing more during school or possibly getting frustrated with my other explorations to the point of giving up. I can’t necessarily say that this suppression was a bad thing for the time being, but now that I am done with school, I have the time and freedom to seek these out, and my heart is begging for that chance.

My life will not be defined by one thing, and not everyone is happy about that. Some are afraid that I have worked my whole life just to find another path, while others worry that having outside passions somehow means I am less dedicated to my job. Neither of these are true. Just because I seek out another part of my soul does not mean that I will turn completely against another. It simply means that I am still defining myself, still learning who I am at the center of my being. It is possible that following some paths will end sooner than others, not a lasting journey but no less important. But if I don’t explore those paths, I will forever feel as if I am missing something, as if my life is incomplete. I don’t expect to excel at every endeavor I seek, but if I never try, I will always wonder “what if.” It just so happens that I have had the opportunity to explore many facets at once in a way where they will overlap and intertwine in such a way that I feel I will learn more from the transitions than I would from taking each individually. At some point, my husband will be facing deployment and we will be dealing with our first major separation since school. During school, I was too busy and overwhelmed to notice the separation, but now that we have actually been able to live together for awhile, now that I am not continuously stressed, this will be different. It may be no big deal, but I’d like to have a better idea of who I am as a whole before he leaves rather than finding him gone and feeling lost or empty. I have the opportunity to take 3 consecutive soul-searching/art/expression classes before he leaves, and I cannot help but feel there is a greater design in all of it, in the way that everything has fallen. I’ve learned to not question a strong heart feeling — when I feel especially pulled in a certain direction, I have found there is a reason, and usually one I could not have imagined on my own.

There are some people who are perfectly happy being completely defined by their work. I have nothing against these people, don’t think any less of them, don’t find them shallow or superficial or incomplete. For those people, that is their soul. They have discovered who they are and have found that they have one thing that truly expresses their soul. I am not one of these people. That doesn’t make me any less dedicated, nor does it make them any less complex. It simply means we are different in our ways of expressing ourselves. This is the beauty of being human, the freedom to express our hearts in one way or many. But we must be allowed the freedom to explore ourselves, just as we must respect those on their journeys. We must understand that expressions are different, that Van Gogh was no less an artist that Michelangelo, or that Bach was any less of a musician than Chopin. Life is a series of journeys, and we are all travelers.