Last week, I announced that I’m shelving the pursuit to be a paramedic. This decision was made on pragmatic grounds: with trying to start a life together with my fiancé, I need to focus on setting down strong roots and establishing financial security. Changing careers while both supporting my partner and building stability is far more risk than I’m willing to tolerate. Good things are happening at work right now, and I enjoy a generous paycheck and benefits. If I hope to continue to pay off my existing student debt in a timely manner, contribute towards the mortgage, etc., my best option is to stay put for now.
Having said that, deciding to not go the paramedic route is not without its share of doubt and heartache. When I started entertaining the idea that I wouldn’t apply off this February, I felt like I was giving up. I had carefully laid out a timeline and a series of objectives that would take me step-by-step to my destination. To give up now would mean I failed in my goals. I felt like I was a failure.
I’m largely over this mindset now. What helped me re-frame this was a passage out of Peter Pan. I stumbled across this quote on a Medium post late last year and jotted it down in my notebook. From time to time, I read the passage to remind myself that I have more important obligations than what I want. Sometimes, you need to re-evaluate your goals to ensure you’re staying true to your priorities.
*Side note, my awesome fiancé, whom I read this quote to, put a copy of Peter Pan (the book) in my stocking for Christmas as a result.*
“There are many different kinds of bravery. There’s the bravery of thinking of others before one’s self. Now, your father has never brandished a sword nor fired a pistol, thank heavens. But he has made many sacrifices for his family, and put away many dreams.”
Michael: “Where did he put them?”
Mrs. Darling: “He put them in a drawer. And sometimes, late at night, we take them out and admire them. But it gets harder and harder to close the drawer… He does. And that is why he is brave.”
It’s important to remind ourselves that there is no shame in letting go when things change. My decision to become a paramedic was made when I was in a different place in my life, but I’m no longer in that place. There is certainly nobility in staying the course, even through uncertainty and change. But it’s important to reflect on your priorities, and act in accordance with what is most important to you.