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What Are You Waiting for?

What are you waiting for? Seriously! What’s your excuse? Your reason? Your rationale? What’s holding you back? Keeping you in place? Bottling up all of that potential energy with nothing to show for it? Why are you standing on the ground – staring longingly at the sky – without acknowledging your own wings?

Every day, people give me a laundry list of excuses for never pursuing…whatever. It could be a small goal. It could be a lifelong dream. But every day – whether in person at the hospital or at dinners with friends or online on social media – people will dismiss that internal nudge and proceed down a path that is often not their own. Do you ever stop and ask yourself: is this truly what I want from this life? Did I really see myself here – in this moment – allowing the time to slip quickly and steadily through my fingertips? I don’t mean to alarm you, but all of us are existing on borrowed time. Nobody is guaranteed anything beyond this very moment: not me, not you, not anybody. And so what gives us a false sense of security regarding the future? What is it that permits us to live a life without a spark, when there is no certainty that we can eventually stoke that burning flame?

Whether you work in healthcare or not, there is a good chance that you’re consumed by the minutia of every day monotony, and this likely establishes a framework for your daily existence. Instead of taking a leap and flapping your wings – permitting yourself to either fly or to fail, but feel the wind on your face regardless – you stay the course. You go through the motions. You live shift after shift or meeting after meeting, and you count down the milliseconds until the end of the day or the end of the week or that one week of vacation every so often that keeps you from losing your mind in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon.

But imagine if you weren’t confined to a life of monotony and milliseconds. Imagine if you permitted yourself to think about the very things you enjoy – your hobbies; your interests; your passion projects – and turned them into a career. Imagine if you stopped worrying so much about the future, because you finally enjoyed your present. Imagine if you stopped being motived by the prescribed list of boxes you are expected to check in life, and listened to that internal monologue that knows you so much better than any corporate client or hospital manager ever will.

Imagine if you bet on yourself. Imagine if you took a chance. Imagine if you believed in yourself so staunchly and firmly that your dreams became real and your future was now. Imagine if you turned someday into today. Imagine if you existed in this very moment. Imagine how much more beauty, magic, and wonder you would glean from this life if you lived it on your own terms; on your own timeline; with your best interests in mind.

I used to be a dreamer. I used to be an optimist. My career as an intensive care unit nurse nearly robbed me of these qualities…but they are back now, and my head is in the clouds higher than ever before. I am firmly planted in the present while floating toward my dreams, because I can sit in this very moment with a smile on my face. I exist completely in the present, because I finally took hold of the reigns and made this life my own. I bet on myself. I took a chance on my inner happiness. And I have never, ever been better for it. Getting to this place hasn’t been easy: to be sure, I endured some heavy times and put in lots of emotional work to get here. But I promise you – if I could find the truest version of myself again, I know you can too. It takes work to undo much of the trauma caused by our past – including the damage caused within the walls of a hospital – but I truly believe that if you are here reading this right now…you are ready.

Take a chance on your dreams. Take a bet that others wouldn’t. I assure you, the future is now. I assure you that what you stand to gain is far greater than what you’ll ever lose.

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