September 1, 2010

Health isn't just about eating well and exercising!

I'm not one for cheesy sayings like; "Be all you can be!" or "Follow your bliss!"  I am always thinking of the person scraping by to pay the rent and buy groceries for the family. I'm sure they aren't thinking about following their bliss. I do believe you are one of the lucky ones when you do find a career you are passionate about.  When you love your job, you work through lunch, you look forward to Monday, you irritate those around you (kidding...sort of).

So I was driving to work this morning, thinking about everyone going back to school and how the campus is just buzzing with excited students coming back or just beginning university. I started thinking about careers, following your dreams, doing work you are passionate about...and the economy. At this point, few are really safe from cut backs. My employer is one of the biggest in the country and I don't feel safe from getting kicked to the curb (I'm not all that and a bag of potato chips! - Dr. Evil).

So I was thinking...if I were to get gassed from the job today, what would I do? Or better yet, how could I plan for this potential event today? Perhaps building new skills or taking a few courses or even starting night school or distance ed? At any rate, I truly believe it is the lack of foresight and the complacency that comes with "full-time, permanent" work that gets us in trouble down the road (i.e. sitting on the pavement with a sign "will analyse data for food").

So is it possible to "follow your bliss" (even writing this make me want to take a shower)? I didn't start university until I was 24. I wasn't going to go until I knew what I wanted to do (um...ya...did I mention I was paying my own way?). I worked full time in my profession, starting with sweeping floors, while in school until graduating 10 years later.  After a few years and a couple of massive lay offs, I knew if I wanted to grow my career (work in national health promotion) I would have to get a masters degree to get there. So, working full time and school part time, I took five years and finished just under 40. After all that, however, I adore what I do and feel very lucky to choose my own projects, courses, and campaigns as I see fit. I have created my own career...and that's worth every penny and every second I sank into my education.

Today, I watch my friends in Victoria suffering through government cut backs and private sector shut downs and I'm thinking "where do I want to be at 50?" I can't imagine doing the same job for the next 15years anyway, so what's my next move towards my renewed career?  I have a few ideas, but my point is, I don't believe it is healthy for anyone to put these thoughts, plans, and goals off until "someday". 'Cause "someday" isn't a day of the week!

Imagine the stress one is under when you do something you hate - or worse, completely bored with - 8 hours a day. Imagine the illness, the cancer, the relationship breakdown, the God the wrinkles! Nope. It just ain't worth it. If you haven't done so already, ask yourself where you want to be in 5-10-15 years. How can you add to your education, skills, experience to move in another direction? It could be consulting, writing, teaching, or a different career altogether. The important thing is you are attending to your intellectual and vocational health. The research has demonstrated a strong link between this and overall health. In fact, it is JUST AS IMPORTANT to attend to your intellectual well being as it is to eat well and exercise.

Meanwhile, I'm completely excited for "back to school" even though I teach on-line. I look forward to meeting my new students and getting back into the least until the first wave of papers are due for marking (then I become bitter and angry). 

Happy September 1st!


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