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3 Ways I'm Finding Fulfillment After My Illness Made Me Leave My Career

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Chronic illness doesn’t eradicate ambition, desires, goals and dreams. But it can limit our capacity to achieve ambitions we have geared our lives for. Careers we aimed for, trained for, had, wanted, lived for… just limited them. To the point we can only work casually, part-time or not at all. But it doesn’t stop us from having ambitious thoughts. From seeing those mountains that we cannot climb. And it can be immensely frustrating to know we cannot achieve certain goals. Cannot have certain dreams. Are not permitted certain ambitions? Giving up a certain career can be a massive blow to our self-worth. Who are we without what we do? How do we have fulfillment in our lives without the career that held some sort of meaning for us? Kept us engaged and interested? Held our goals and ambitions? Our purpose? Our future aims and desires? Our financial stability? How do we find fulfillment with that void there?

Chasing gleams of sunshine, my friends, chasing sunshine.

I do not hold all the answers to this with my damaged self-worth and difficult time coping with this vary issue. Seeing mountains everywhere I want to climb and very aware I cannot. Trying to convince myself I can, and just falling down. It hurts, that fall, it really, really hurts. But I know a few things. I chase gleams of sunshine.

1. Keep myself interested and engaged. So I lost a career that was interesting and engaging. This is important. I lack this now. I need something to replace it. We all need something to keep us interested. So we have to fill that void. I fill it with this blog and my creative writing. So a hobby. Something I have a passion for I can throw myself into. Something I find interesting and engaging.

2. I chase smaller dreams. I make smaller goals and chase smaller ambitions. I try to anyway. I want to have ambitions. I want to have goals and dreams. I just have to make them reasonable and achievable. Focus on what I am capable of instead of what I am clearly not capable of. I want to create something from what I am capable of. Find some sort of niche there.

3. I realized life is about more than work. Work is a small fraction of what life is about and what it should be about. And if everyone knew this, they would be better off. We just need to focus on the aspects of life that are meaningful beyond the job we have or don’t have. Our friends, spouse, children and families. Our connections. Our interests. Focus on the meaningful things we do have in our life.

By no means is any of that easy. I want to stretch my limits, knowing the consequences. What happened to my health recently with this massive vestibular flare is a rather epically large print message to my mind that I have health issues aside from pain. That I have limits. That I cannot exceed them because I won’t get far and I will regret it, like I always do. Desire and want don’t equal physically capable. No matter how much I wish, desire, want, no matter that I’m mentally and intellectually capable, or that I’m willing. They just don’t equal physical capability. A part of me hates that and therefore doesn’t find satisfaction in what I am capable of. Belittles what I am capable of. Mocks it. Says I am worth less because of it. Which is something I, and none of us, should do. There is value in all the things we are capable of doing. We just need to see the worth in what we do, and the value in our lives as they are now. And find the fulfillment there is to be found in there.

Chase those gleams of sunshine and making them shine, my friends. Making them shine.

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Gettyimage by: Rawpixel

Originally published: January 24, 2018
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