by Carrie Jurney DVM DACVIM (Neuro)
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” -Jimmy Dean
I've been thinking a lot about change and control recently. What we can control, and what we can change.
It is not a great world-changing revelation to say that we can only change ourselves. Trying to control or change other people rarely works out. We can do our best to control circumstances, but somethings will never be fully under our control. The only piece of control we truly have in a crazy world is to control how we react to the circumstances of our life.
I think that I like change as a person. I don't really need to feel settled. It's likely a part of why I like locum jobs so much. Always a new person, a new place. I like to feel like I'm learning new things and growing. But, I know that I really only feel this way when I'm taking care of myself.
I think the best example is my trip to Japan. I generally love to travel. I love trying new foods, and learning about a new culture. I enjoy getting lost in a city and seeing how people live in different corners of the globe. I typically really enjoy a change in scenery. However, when I went to Japan I was at the very bottom of my well. I had used every scrap of energy in every corner of my body both mentally and physically. I had not been eating right. I had not been exercising. I was unfocused and unhappy. I thought the trip would be resetting. That it would be a welcome break. That I could reset myself in a far away land.
Boy was I wrong. I was overwhelmed by Tokyo. An environment I would usually have found fascinating was cluttered, and too close. I couldn't seem to catch the rhythm of the city. I couldn't rest, and I was tense. And after a 20+ hour flight over the ocean, my back gave out. We had chosen very traditional lodgings too- which meant many things were on the floor. So I was mentally overwhelmed and in physical pain.
When I look back on this trip, I mourn it as a missed opportunity. I was miserable, and have a general distaste for Japan now that Japan likely doesn't deserve. But like all mistakes, I can learn from this.
Change is wonderful, and can bring you to a new and exciting place. But you have to be ready for change. Just wanting change is not enough. I also need to have the mental and physical reserves to be able to change. The hardest change I ever made- leaving a full time clinical job to start my company- came only after I let myself recover from the mistakes of how I used to practice. This recovery took far longer than was convenient, but in the end it allowed me to make one of the most important changes of my life.
The Admin Team of NOMV is a group of veterinarians dedicated to improving veterinary mental health.