If we wait around to do something new until we are “ready”, then we will likely never do anything at all. I want to keep reminding myself of this truth. I start a job next week and I have been less than positive about it, even though it is a good opportunity. It’s my reintroduction back into the nursing field after taking a break from nursing earlier this year. I had felt defeated with my previous job and was desperate for a break to focus on my mental health. My fiancé and I have since sold our home and moved to a new city. I decided to start looking at nursing opportunities about a month ago and I recently got accepted at a surgery center here as of a week and a half ago. Since getting accepted for the job, though, it feels like there has been a black cloud over my head.
I have been having overwhelming feelings of dread and hopelessness in the days leading up to my first day next week. I have felt myself bringing the negative thoughts and emotions from past nursing experiences into this new job. I am still working on changing my old mental programming that generates worst case scenarios for me to get anxious over whenever a new situation arises. I still come up with scenarios in my head for this new job, even before having met any of my coworkers, doctors, or being exposed to any of their cases. Seems like a terrible way to use my creativity, right? In the midst of these thoughts, however, I am reminding myself that this is a fresh experience not fated or bound to my past, and that it is full of potential to challenge myself, gain confidence, make new friends, and start saving money away for future plans. I am also reminding myself that it is unfair to assume that past experiences will come to define my future. The past is the past and that is where I want it to stay. This is a new me, a new life, and a new future and I am working to keep the spirit of bright possibilities alive going forward.
But the feelings of doubt, dread, and powerlessness have persisted. It has felt like I am being sucked into some negative vortex which I have no control over. I know that I have a tendency to fear uncertainty, to the point where I will think up worst case scenarios just to have some illusion of certainty and a known variable. I have sat here with these menacing thoughts telling me that I am being dragged into something that I am not ready for. “If only I can get a little bit more work done with my mental health and confidence, then I will be ready”, I deceptively tell myself.
The truth is, I will never be ready to start this job. It’s something I just have to do. Readiness is an illusion that keeps us from just acting and can stir us into a never-ending cycle of procrastination. What is being ready anyway? It almost seems to be the idea of removing all uncertainty and knowing exactly what needs to be done and what is going to happen through every single step. And this is when I had to pause and tell myself that there is no way to be ready for this job. There is no way to remove all uncertainty and to have absolute security going into a situation. Life will always have uncertainty. There is no way to escape it and there is no way to prepare for something with 100% certainty and security. Accepting and reflecting on this notion has been of tremendous help to me today.
And then when I started to think about it, I realized that uncertainty isn’t the one-dimensional doom inducing, fear generator that I think it is. In so many cases, I love uncertainty! I think to when I start writing or go on a hike. Half of the fun is not knowing what is around the next corner or what side avenue my mind will take when I start writing. Uncertainty is not something to be feared, but celebrated. Uncertainty makes life worth living. Surprises are the spice of life. How boring and soulless would life be if everything was perfectly predictable?
I think back to when I decided to do travel nursing, which was one of the most rewarding experiences of my adult life. I remember just signing up and going. I remember how uncharacteristic it seemed for me to just blindly commit to something, but I did it! When the idea popped into my head to travel alone across the country, I just did it. Was I ready for a measly 3 days-worth of orientation at the main Level 1 trauma hospital in Seattle before being set lose on my own? Definitely not, and if I had known that was going to be the case beforehand, I probably would never have done it. But I did it without being “ready” and because of that, I learned that I was capable of far more than I had previously thought. The challenge of it was empowering.
I jumped into the water and not only did I not drown, I swam beautifully through it all and gained a whole new level of confidence in myself. Waiting around for confidence to do something would never have worked because confidence was built through uncertainty and challenge. Confidence was built through just doing it, through putting myself in uncomfortable situations and learning to adapt to them. I jumped in and I found out what I was made of and it broadened my whole spectrum of what I thought I could achieve. It seems I had forgotten that lesson as this new job has been on the horizon, but I am reminded today that I am not ready and that’s okay. Not being ready can lead to so many amazing experiences and realizations. And so, I will embrace this new, uncertain experience for the flavor, joy, intrigue, and growth it can bring into my life. Here is to the next chapter!