My true passion is writing about the future, but it is exceptionally hard to become a “futurist,” and even if I were to somehow do it, I wouldn’t be able to earn a decent living. So I really have to think about something else I know I could do with passion and still make a liveable wage. Other interests of mine include chemistry, food, and offering advice. I’ve always enjoyed being in hospitals, both as a patient (don’t ask) and as a visitor (as long as the person I was visiting wasn’t close to death), although I know I don’t want to practice medicine. Those thoughts have always been in the back of my mind until today, when I combined those interests into a career I could definitely see myself being in. Let me explain how I came to this decision before I divulge.
Last month, I started the Nutrisystem diet. If you’re not familiar with this program, let me explain. Basically you pay (a couple hundred dollars) for them to ship you a month’s worth of healthy food. They send you four “meals” per day, which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a dessert. You have to purchase add-ons at the grocery store, such as fat-free milk, yogurt, fruit, vegetables, whole-wheat bread, and any extra sugar-free and low-calorie items you think you can’t live without like Splenda or pancake syrup. They offer online tools and support alone the way, as well.
At first, I was mostly excited with the prospect of losing weight, which is something I’ve needed to do for a while. But now, a month after starting, something else is happening. While I have lost 15 pounds already, I’m finding that I’m enjoying the menu planning the most, way more than I thought I’d enjoy it. I’m currently unemployed and my situation is bleak, considering all the crap that’s happened to me in the past few months, but this healthy-eating program is giving me a goal to work towards to better myself. I am actually finding that this really is a journey worthy of enjoyment. I am on the Nutrisystem forums quite frequently asking questions and getting proactively involved, and I spend a whole lot of time organizing my menu and shopping lists.
Now, let me get to how all this has given me the idea for a career choice. One of the women active in the Nutrisystem community started the program a few years ago to lose weight. She started seeing similar levels of enthusiasm for the program as I’m seeing now. She became such a presence in the community that she decided to go the distance to become a nutritionist. Although I’m not sure if she works for Nutrisystem or if she just volunteers her time on the boards, I know she seems incredibly happy with her choices and has made great progress in her life.
This story has been in the back of my mind since first seeing her forum signature (which is all over the site because she’s very active). I never really thought about becoming a nutritionist myself until today, when my brain put pieces of activities I already enjoy together with dieting, and the result was clinical nutrition. I looked on the Internet and discovered there are even sub-specialties, such as nutritionists who work with patients with eating disorders, which interests me even more, because I have firsthand experience with mental conditions and a personal interest in seeing others succeed despite their disorders.
It looks like there are a few colleges in my area that offer this degree option, but I will have a lot of work before I will be able to go back to college. I have to pay back old student loans, and really make an effort to stabilize my financial situation so I can afford to study and not worry about working so much. I gave myself the goal to graduate within ten years. I will be making more concrete goals in the near future, especially figuring out how to budget my money if and when I’m able to return to the job I quit in December. (I find out this weekend.)
The job market is terrible right now and even in three months of trying to find ANY other entry-level position, I’ve failed miserably. So, I have to do whatever is necessary to get back on the right track. If that means going back to a job I didn’t like, I will have to do it, just so I can stop walking horizontally and incline for once.
I’ve also realized that I have a tendency to give up on my hobbies when I dislike one aspect of my life. I sense this behavior occurs in others who are afflicted with severe emotional distress, as well. There’s more to life than wash, rinse, repeat. If I want to commit to this new career path, I need to read books on the topic in my spare time. I need to visit hospitals and network with people. I need to learn before actually going back to college, which will make it easier when I am finally able.
I also need to write about the future. It’s my passion, and it doesn’t stop being my passion if I don’t have a job, or if I’m feeling depressed, or if I am faced with any other setback. I feel like this might be the key to breaking through depression and anxiety. Life is rough, especially for those without financial security. But just because it’s rough doesn’t mean you have to drop what you’re doing to feel exactly how rough it is, like pawing around in a small, dark, closed box. Successful people fill their time with activities that enrich their lives, and enrichment is the most important part of life.
Some people think enrichment means to become rich, while others think it means many other things. Neither are wrong, because many truly do find fulfillment in the pursuit of money, but I’m going to stick to the notion that if I am sensible about how I want to live my life day-to-day, I will find fulfillment. The day I realize I have mastered my drastic emotional cascades via rational thoughts and actions will be the greatest day of my life.