As I mentioned last week, work stress really started taking its toll on me. For the first few years, I was distracted by friends, a new lifestyle, and dating. Back in dental school, most of my friends were guys. They often shared funny dating stories and jokes about how every 28 year-old woman wanted to get married. They were fine dating 27 year-old gals, but those 28 year-olds were on a mission, and these guys wanted no part in it. I laughed right along with them and made fun of how desperate these women seemed. That was never going to be me. Well, I woke up one day at 28… and that was me.
Desperate, 28-year-old me was too busy to worry about my job.
I was determined to do something about it, and sometimes I can be a little OCD about things. For me it was not about a timeline and the need to have something done by a certain age, but it was about a feeling I had. I was ready. And truly, it was less about having a wedding and being “married,” and more about finding that lucky guy to share my life. If dentistry was my day job, finding a man was my night job. What I’m saying is, I had a huge distraction, and I was having way too much fun to notice my feelings about dentistry. There were bigger fish to fry.
Eventually it happened. I met The One, and I started this wonderful life with him. Here we go… for just a moment… I’ll talk about how great he is because he reads this, you know. He taught me about living in the moment and being present. He taught me that happiness is more important than money. He taught me that what we do with every moment matters. And in some way all this helped me to realize that I wasn’t living the life I was meant to live.
Once I got this husband thing under control, I now was forced to face the other big problem: my career.
Things just got worse and worse as the days rolled on. I found it difficult to find the will to get out of bed, drive to work, and walk into the office every day. I arrived home daily, often in tears on the drive home, with horrible stories about the day’s troubles. I complained about it until bedtime, only to wake up at 2 a.m. ruminating over the same stories again and again. Some weeks it was night after night, getting only 3 hours of sleep. Insomnia is hell.
Then one day I finally decided I needed out. I couldn’t do this anymore. I had a business lunch with a sales rep from a dental supply company. I barely knew him, but we had really connected, so I felt comfortable asking him for help. I asked Patrick if he liked his job, and if it was something I should consider doing. I came clean about being unhappy as a dentist, and this seemed like the only way to transfer my skills. What else could I possibly do with such specific and seemingly limited skills? I’m pretty sure he thought I was crazy. He talked me out of it and helped convince me that it was the job– not the career. I agreed that I owed it to myself to explore that. I mean, it certainly was the responsible thing to do– and not to mention the easiest. He introduced me to a great guy who had just opened a new practice and was looking for an associate. When I met him, I knew that was it. This was my dental dream job. We shared similar values and beliefs. I had found my perfect match.
The romance wasn’t over after all, and I was eager to start living happily ever after.