Jesus Year", so named for the the estimated age of Jesus when he died. It symbolizes the transitional crossing over from young adulthood (which - from a personality developmental stance - is marked by the need to find love and companionship) into adulthood (marked by the need to make our lives generative, meaningful, and fulfilling). It's purported to be "the happiest year of my life."
If we haven't spoken, then the words and tone of the above paragraph should give you some clue as to what has been going in my life since last I've written. (Yes, Chrissy Jo-Jo, too long! I know!) You may have gathered that I'm somewhat pessimistic about this being the best year of my life. And thus, you've probably intuited something about my prevalent life struggles of late: I am feeling unhappy and unfulfilled, and I am searching for meaning and purpose. You've no doubt at this point recognized that implicit in this struggle are questions and concerns about work, marriage, family, spirituality, etc.
You also may have noticed that I dropped some Psychosocial Personality Theory (a la Erikson) on you, from which you have no doubt deduced that I finally followed through on that commitment to getting myself out of pharmacy and into the psychology/counseling arena. And you would be correct. I have, in fact, been admitted into the MS/PhD Pastoral Counseling program at Loyola University Maryland, and did start an early course last summer in Human Development.
What you probably could not have surmised, however, is that the fine folks at Bravo (my previous employer) - despite being supportive of my desire to go part-time so that I could go back to school full-time - decided last-minute that I could not go part-time because of "company policy". Instead of crying foul and calling out "BULLSHIT!", I graciously accepted my lot in life, and (unsuccessfully) began a search for part-time work elsewhere. Not finding any, and being completely done with this awful experience at Bravo, I chose instead to accept a job elsewhere (Xerox of all places!) where I will be helping the State with a new initiative to decrease expenditures on antipsychotic medications. This of course sounds like a dream come true for a pharmacist: a job which perfectly weaves the breadth of my experience and training in psychiatric pharmacy practice and managed care pharmacy. But, you have no doubt been keeping track of my struggles, so you already know that there could not be a perfect pharmacy job for me because I am completely unfulfilled as a pharmacist. How bright you are! So yes, you guessed correctly...this is simply a layover.
A new full-time job, of course, means that I cannot take a full-time course load. The best I was able to manage was taking one course in Family Therapy which meets on 5 Saturdays for 8 hours per class. Eesh! But a man's gotta do what man's gotta do...to pay the bills.
I'm not happy about it. In fact, I'm quite displeased with being completely unhappy with my career. Part of this, I understand, is my ongoing struggle with not being able to be content with the present. I'm working on that though... slowly, but surely. The whole reason I'm blogging (and hope to continue blogging more regularly) is to help ground me in the present, so that I'm not constantly fantasizing about the future, or numbing myself with HGTV so that I don't have to think about the here and now. (Yes, I am 100% addicted to all things HGTV...And what? This surprises you? I am still gay, you know...)
But the other part of this is that I do think I am genuinely stuck right now - stunted. I'm not doing what I was made to do - I'm not being who was put here to be. I'm not living out of passion and heart, out a sense of purpose and authenticity. Instead, I've just been hopping from job to job to get away from the previous horrible job.
After a probing discussion with my best friend P a couple of weeks ago, he really challenged me to think about why I was not fully pursuing my dreams. I was forced to face myself and come to the stunning conclusion that *I* am the culprit. Not my training, not my mortgage, not Bravo...me. Just me. And so, I've decided that if I'm serious about being tired of my unhappiness, I need to do something drastic...
If I can't find a part-time job by this time next year, I will quit my current job and start full-time in a program that offers tuition remission and a stipend (Loyola's program requires me to pay tuition, thus the need for the part-time job so that we don't go bankrupt). One way or another, I will be starting full-time in school by next fall.
This fall, J will be applying to several PhD programs, and I will be
applying with him to schools in similar geographic areas. So by next year, we'll either stay here in Maryland, or transplant ourselves to the Charlottesville area, the Princeton area, the Boston area, or the Ithaca area. So if you live in one of these areas, we could be neighbors :)
In case the options have gotten too confusing, here's the recap for next year. Either I...
1.) Find a part-time job and continue the Pastoral Counseling program at Loyola.
2.) Quit my current job and start full-time in the counseling psychology program at UMCP.
3.) Quit my current job, and J and I start programs (English for him, and either counseling, clinical psychology, or counseling psychology for me - depending on the program) in another locale.
So pray for me! Or wish me luck! Or do whatever it is that you do to send good vibes someone else's way!