Instead of Professional Development

I have a birthday in less than a month, and I haven’t accomplished as much as I once thought I would by this age.

When I was in grad school, I went out on a couple dates with a nice guy from church. I enjoyed his company, but I told him it wouldn’t work because he was looking for someone to settle down, and I wasn’t ready for that. I wanted to go get my PhD.

That, obviously, hasn’t happened.

There are reasons I didn’t get my PhD, of course. Mainly, within a month or two of my starting to studying for a subject test GRE I was knocked off my feet by a minor financial emergency that consumed fully four months of my attention and hundreds of dollars. By the time I picked myself up, I’d veered away from my intended life track.

On the one hand, thinking about where I am now, I do regret not doing more professionally.

But last night I was talking with a family member in a similar situation, and they pointed out that there’s always a trade-off. A lack of professional progress may mean progress made in other areas.

Here’s what I’ve done instead of, or alongside, professional development:

  • Started running. I run 30-40 miles/week now (depending on the season) and consider myself a runner.
  • Started yoga, just this year.
  • Learned about podcasts and started listening. I’ve even gotten to guest on a couple, including this one here!
  • Learned to make granola. Even my mom likes it (and it has lots of nuts in it!)
  • Learned to bake bread.
  • Learned to knit. I don’t do this as frequently as I’d like to (it’s kind of expensive) but I enjoy being able to make things.
  • Visited family & friends in Georgia and South Carolina, visited friends in Texas (multiple times!) and family in Missouri and Kansas, visited friends in Colorado.
  • Visited Seattle for a conference.
  • Climbed Mt Yale and Mt. Sherman and Handies Peak. Visited Four Corners.

have made some professional progress: I’ve gone to a few conferences, started teaching online, made progress towards a certificate for online education, and completely revamped the writing curriculum where I work (with positive results).

So life hasn’t been all bad. I’ve been blessed in many ways.

I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do want to be grateful for the things I’ve had.


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