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  • Writer's pictureA.S. Morris

Professional growth and personal challenges....

This morning I had a unexpected breakfast meeting. A simple email asking if I was "here," and a closed door breakfast that followed. We have changes going on all around at work; COVID and non-COVID. A mixture of business and bizarre. Our conversation was primarily work stuff and going over all the things, a few laughs and a few ideas. When we got to discussing next steps and possibilities; we ended with "who do you want to be when you grow up." A question that certainly caught me off guard. A question that certainly hasn't crossed my mind in quite some time. I wish I could say I responded with something profound and impact full; i didn't, i simply smirked.


We all had childhood ambitions on what we wanted to be when we grew up; astronaut, fireman, policeman, princess; my cousin wanted to be a cash register at Kmart....she has a degree in business and I am pretty sure she is still in human form. My daughter wants to be veterinarian for farm animals...we don't live on a farm or have any animals; my son wants to be an engineer. We will see what they say next week.


I wanted to be a marine biologist growing up; perhaps "Free Willy" started that idea. Maybe it was spending summers on the water. My high school even offered marine biology classes and they were great; however A&P were even better. When I entered college I was premed when I graduated I had a degree focusing on strategic integrated communication. Life happens. My masters degrees are in Healthcare Administration and Healthcare Ethics. If all goes well by Friday afternoon I will be a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional. A long way from marine biology. A pretty fantastic journey. I recently turned 35 and I clearly have a year or two left in the work world. So who knows what I will actually be when I grow up. I have my aspirations and end game in mind; only time will tell.


I work a lot of hours, nights and weekends. This is not because I report to individuals who impose unrealistic work expectations; its all on me. There are some projects that I leave to work on from home, mainly the projects that require creativity and design. My "day" job doesn't really allow for me to get lost in projects. It does allow for me to loathe excel, go cross eyed at emails, and bird-dog all the things. As I have been studying for the CHFP exam, my late night projects are nonexistent. I can't say I exactly miss them. No one at work has been on my case for something not being completed. Are there a few things that probably should be completed by now, sure, is it the end of the world, no. A few blogs back I talked about managing conflicting priorities. I still have yet to ask for an extension. I honestly don't think I am capable of physically saying that sentence. In my head it sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown.


We have entered into the time of annual reviews at work. Usually I don't fear annual reviews; I score fine, the comments are supportive and constructive, and we move on to the next year. However, 2019-2020 has been quite the year. My husband tried to die twice, I was on the path to suicide, a medical leave of absence, and a pandemic. Not to sound braggadocios, however, I did manage to meet every goal that my boss and I set in the summer of 2019. The juxtaposition of the previous two sentences isn't lost on me. I should not have been able to reach my goals. I clearly did not have my priorities in the right order. My bosses ( yes, plural) are not monsters quite the opposite, perhaps if my brain sounded less like the Charlie Brown teacher things could have been avoided. This is not who I wanted to be when I grew up.


Perhaps we have looked at the question wrong all along. When you are asked who you want to be when you grow up you automatically think of a profession or identity; mermaid, singer, unicorn farmer. Growing up I never took the time to think who I wanted to become. My values and morals have developed over time between age, life experiences, and familial practices. I can assure you that in my recent adult life I have not sat down to reevaluate that list. To look beyond the superficial list of attributes, again not to brag, but I have been told I look fantastic on Zoom. Maybe i'll add zoom model to my list Anyway....what would be on your list, who do you want to be when you grow up?


I can tell my professional confidence is starting to return. I am starting to get irritated when things aren't going as they should. My ability to focus on multiple things is getting stronger. A colleague irritated me this week and I am guessing they likely know. I am starting to get twitchy that my CV hasn't had any real professional development added since 2017.


I also know that the paragraph above needs to slow down. I know I am not personally strong enough, even seven months back, to come busting out of the pen. Doesn't mean I don't toe the line. At times I exhaust myself. Doing too much still trying to prove to myself that all is well. I'm good and have recovered. My illness doesn't work that way. No lab value or diagnostic is going to come back and shout out like a 90's televangelist that I am healed.


Growing up I can promise you that anxious, depressed, and suicidal were never on my list of aspirations. Wishing for a 90's televangelist yell you're healed wasn't either. However, as a child I was highly amused by the pastors who would bop people on the forehead, heal them, and they would fall over. I would chase my older sister around the house trying to reenact this. She wasn't amused. Occasionally I would try this while wearing a Halloween mask that terrified her. Again, not amused. I was highly amused. Did I mention I am the youngest child...


So I did not grow up to be a televangelist, a marine biologist, doctor, or a princess. At this point in time I am not in love with my list however it is my list. When it will change and how it will change, i am not sure. Perhaps that makes it worse. No red easy button. No pass go and collect $200.


When I grow up I will be ....... whole.

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