Giving up the Dream

When I was little I wanted to be a dinosaur. I think I actually wanted to be an archeologist but didn’t know how to articulate that. Next, I wanted to be an astronaut and then a rocket scientist (though, admittedly, I am so not smart enough for that). I wanted to learn about the universe and work at NASA. When that phase settled I set my eyes on veterinary medicine.

My dream: to be a vet

I don’t know what sparked that obsession because I didn’t grow up with animals (not unless hermit crabs count). My mother knew how much I loved cats and dogs so she made arrangements for me to volunteer at a vet clinic when I was 11. Since then I have known I want to be a vet. When I turned 14 I began working at the same hospital and continued that job until I was 25 years old. I worked as a veterinary technician and loved every second of it (except for the time a cat whacked me on the eyelid while I cleaned his cage).

The dream was vet school. I worked so hard for it. I tried my best at school and padded my resume. “vet school” fueled every action, every reaction, and every decision. I did everything right.

So why did it go so wrong?

When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Disease I continued to push through my hospital job as best I could. But, after a particularly hard winter, I had no choice but to take a medical leave of absence. Stress and physical strain just beat me. Though it was during this time I began my new obsession with skincare, beauty and nail art!

After the proper two weeks off, I returned to the job but I just couldn’t keep up. I was doing more damage to my body by pushing myself past my limits. I turned my focus to my beauty hobby and teaching elementary school classes.

Adjusting my dream?

I found out I am a good teacher. I am a great teacher and I have a knack for special education but…“I wanna be a vet” lurks on the back burner of my brain. I have to face the truth sometime, right? I cannot physically keep up as a veterinarian. Even the technician job is too demanding and I must now stop. I already lost the dream because I’m still in the first stage of grief: denial. I can’t accept that I probably won’t be a vet. Do I have to move forward?

I still do everything with vet school in mind but I need to move past denial and on to anger, bargaining, depression and hopefully acceptance. This is the only way I can truly pursue other options and hopefully find something I want to do with the rest of my life.

**Disclaimer: I am well aware I did not use definite language in this article…I just spent so long working for this one goal I just can’t seem to let go! And who knows, maybe one day I will go into remission and I can go to vet school. Do I really need to give up the dream?*** Did you give up a dream when you were diagnosed with Rheumatoid Disease? Share with me in the comments!

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