May 10th was the last time I posted a blog.
While I may have seemed to “gone ghost” on here, if you follow my Instagram (@rikkilynnshields, shameless plug), you know that I have been actively teaching yoga and writing freelance.
However, I promised myself I would stay on top of my blogging at the start of summer (Mid May)
I wanted to create a plan of action to make my posts more consistent.
Since then, while I didn’t anticipate much change, things have most certainly changed– drastically– but I’ll keep this as brief as possible.
This past year, I’ve been questioning myself, my career, and all of the life choices that have led me to this point.
Feelings of uncertainty and dissatisfaction began to come up more than ever.
These feelings were almost inescapable and consumed me for days on end.
Rewind three years– I entered college as a communications major, with hopes of becoming only half of the woman that Samantha from Sex and the City was.
After meeting my first college English professor I decided to follow my heart and my dreams and pursue a career as a writer– Carrie style.
Somewhere in the mix, I discovered religious studies and developed a passion for Western religions and yoga.
This newfound interest led me to complete a research paper on the mental and physical benefits of yoga and meditation, as well as obtaining my certification to teach yoga.
(This whole yoga thing will come back later, so don’t forget it.)
Anyways, for as long as I could remember, I have always loved reading and writing and anything having to do with literature.
While studying English was something I truly enjoyed throughout college, something never felt right.
When my English classes became less about the novel and more about the political climate, and my creative writing classes were harder than my general education classes because I didn’t have “good enough stories to tell,” I felt like I was losing myself as a writer.
I barely read for myself, and I had no drive to even think about writing a story that interested me.
I worked so hard up to this point to establish myself as a successful freelance writer, getting paid to write at the age of 14 and going above and beyond to publish as much work as possible.
Writing was something I loved with all of my heart. It was an escape.
It allowed me to create a world of my own. Writing helped me discover myself, preserve myself, and make myself.
Even though I loved writing, it scared me. It wasn’t writing that I was scared of– it was not writing that terrified me the most.
However, as much as I loved to write and was determined to make a career out of it, it always felt like something I could do while still doing something else– does that make sense to you?
I knew that no matter where I went or what career I pursued, I could write– I could write articles and publish books and scribble poems no matter if I was a doctor, a lawyer, or a waitress.
I wanted more.
So, I began to do some writing and reflecting on my own.
I remembered a quote I had read in high school:
“Writing is like sex. First, you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”
Writing wasn’t what I wanted to pursue full time any longer.
When I finally gained the courage to say it and came to terms with this realization, I wasn’t lost or scared.
I knew exactly what I needed to do and I was ready.
This is where the yoga comes in again.
My abilities to help others go way beyond writing and storytelling, and I was done selling myself short.
Fast forward to May, right after I published my last blog post to be exact.
Not only did I begin writing poems and stories and reading books for fun again, I began researching new career opportunities.
It kept coming up.
As an athlete since, basically birth, this career resonated with me more than I ever imagined.
I remembered being treated for injuries as an athlete.
The physical therapists who helped my grandmother after breaking her pelvis kept coming up.
After getting into a car accident, the physical therapists who helped me kept coming up.
I thought of the countless times I said I would love to help people, but always seemed to doubt my abilities.
So I said it aloud: I want to be a physical therapist.
Nothing had ever felt so right.
I took action.
Now, it’s June.
I contacted my advisor to see if it was possible to change my entire fall semester schedule.
Researched the prerequisite courses required for admission to Doctor of Physical Therapy programs, as well as all of the other necessities.
Looked at my nearby community college’s summer course list, assuming they’d be full.
Contacted local inpatient and outpatient facilities to see if I could obtain observation hours.
Everything fell into place within a week.
I changed my fall semester schedule, began obtaining observation hours, and registered and paid for two community college courses.
The community college I had studied at previously was full, however, another local one was not.
After paying over $3,000 for two courses at a new community college, one spot opened in the courses I needed at my county’s community college.
I went down to the school as soon as I saw one open spot, registered, and got all of my money back from the other school.
This saved me over $1,500.
I began preparing essays, for the GRE, and everything in between that is required to submit an application.
Since then, I’ve obtained just about 100 observation hours, started my two summer courses, and have begun my application.
Fast forward to today, July 12th.
It has been exactly two months and two days since I last published a post here.
Amidst all of the emotions and anxiety and worry, my courage and my drive prevailed.
Writing will always be a huge part of my life.
I hope to continue to use it as both an outlet and as a way to research mind-body medicine.
However, I have never been more confident in any decision I have ever made.
I have never felt more driven or content in my entire life than I do today, at this moment, and every single day since I’ve decided to pursue physical therapy.
I have a poem being published in print this summer, and while I do hope, one day, to publish a book, I plan to incorporate my knowledge regarding yoga with the knowledge I acquire obtaining my doctor of physical therapy degree to become a part of such an essential element of reducing pain, restoring function, and preventing disability.
Ta-ta for now.