Sunday, October 4, 2015

Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

A few months ago, I thought about starting a book about change. I even had a title for it, which I promptly forgot. But as it turns out, I wasn't procrastinating. I was living the book.

After 15 years as a psychologist, I've become a real estate agent. When I tell people about this transition, they usually look at me, like, "how did that happen?". And all I can say is, it started with a dream.

To be fair, it wasn't just one dream. It was a series of dreams, recurring dreams, that happened over the course of four or five years. The timing is a little fuzzy, as is common for dream infused information. Anyway, the story lines in the dreams were always the same. I was going back to high school, even though I already had my doctorate, and at some point or another, I would be sitting in class, surrounded by people scores younger than I, wondering what in the hell I was doing there. Often times, I would have forgotten to bring an assignment, or even to attend an entire semester of class. Most of the time, I was wildly unprepared for whatever was ahead of me.

I would wake from these dreams confused and disillusioned. In real life, I do already have my doctorate, and it isn't even partially paid off yet. Admitting that I wanted to go back to school, in any capacity, felt like failure. Looking back, this is probably why I couldn't "figure out" this transparent dream for almost half a decade. I just didn't want to see the truth.

So, what is the truth? The truth is that I am tired of being a psychologist. It's a really hard job. You work with people for months or years, and even if you are great at what you do, many people just don't get better. Doing therapy is like offering sugar-free snacks to a diabetic; she knows she needs what you are giving her, but it's not what she really wants. She really wants the sugar; the chaos of an abusive relationship, the drama of a horrible boss, or the cloud of a belief in what can't happen. And, honestly, I can't blame people either. Truly engaging yourself in the therapeutic process is extremely hard work! Ridding your life of all that stands in your way means that you must face your greatest fear. Yourself.

Don't get me wrong. I have had some amazing experiences as a psychologist. I've had clients who have bravely taken a front seat on the roller coaster and come out winded, and smiling, on the other end. In a few cases, I've heard from clients years after our work together ended, when they call to tell me how much a certain phrase I said helped them, and how well they are doing in their lives. I've also had clients who've challenged me to grow as a therapist and as a person. And for those experiences, I'm eternally grateful.

But still, I feel that it's time for me to move on. I'm tired of focusing solely on someone else's needs for hours at a time. I'm tired of holding my personal reactions, not to mention my pee, to make space for someone else's truth.

There was a time when I loved being there so fully for others. Come to think of it, that time was before I had kids. I'm sure that's not a coincidence! But now, at this stage in my life, I'm ready to do something fun. Is real estate fun? I have no clue. I will have to get back to you on that. But, at the very least, I've stopped having dreams of being in high school, which is quite a relief, considering how much I loathe florescent lighting. Although, I have to wonder: did I graduate, and if so, what is the next course in this school of life?

Yours in growth,

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