“Life is like riding a bicycle – In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ~Albert Einstein
In a previous post (or two), I mentioned the importance of recognizing the difference between moving on and quitting. Oddly, after writing that, I came across this quote in my journal.
Life is very much like a bicycle… It takes you on journeys and down different paths. They can be straight, curvy, narrow, wide, smooth, or rough; but, they all get you to a destination in the end. It’s important to remember that, just like when you’re riding a bike, you should maintain balance in your life. When you fall off balance, you can find yourself detouring from your journey and going down the wrong path. Recognizing that is vital to growth and self-awareness.
When I moved to East Tennessee last year, I was working in a field that I love even though it was not in my field of study. I felt that I would be able to do work that I loved while getting my degree, and at the time that was most important. However, as the year progressed, I realized that my position wasn’t meeting my needs or fulfilling my values. But, for the sake of not quitting I decided that I would keep going. By the end of the academic year I was beaten down, picked apart, and mentally the unhealthiest I have ever been to date. I was ready to go back and endure another year after summer break though. Not because it was best for me or my journey, but because I didn’t want to quit.
It was when I started interning in Nashville that I realized what it was like to 1) work in my field and see results 2) enjoy all aspects of my work and 3) be valued for the work that I am doing. I then began to consider the possibility of not going back to East Tennessee. My MPH program can be finished completely online, my family lives in the Nashville area, my support system would be closer, my mental state improved. Even after considering all of these things, I was planning to return to finish school no matter how unhappy I would be.
About halfway through the summer I was offered an opportunity to work full-time continuing the work that I had started for my internship. The excitement I felt was unreal! To continue working in my field before completion of my degree while still making time to complete my degree just felt like a natural step in my journey. It was as if I had taken a turn from a curvy, rocky path, to a smooth straight path, and it was at that point that I realized that moving back to the Nashville area (to work or regardless) is not me quitting or giving up. Me moving back is actually a forward progression that puts me back into stride on my journey to success.
In leaving East Tennessee, I can see that I was not offering anyone any value by returning to be miserable and unproductive. Realistically there was nothing for me to quit because I don’t feel like I left anything unfinished behind. My choice to leave was me getting rebalanced in my life journey and putting my bicycle back on the path to success. That city, school, and job were a temporary part of my journey that was meant to teach me and get me on the right track.
Just remember that just because you are walking away from something, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re quitting. Maybe you’re just trying to keep moving so that you don’t lose your balance.