When Your Reason for Hiking Changes

Do you ever feel stuck in your life. Not sure what direction to go or feeling like you are missing something?About three to four years ago I was feeling stuck in my professional career. I was starting to contemplate if I really wanted to be a social worker for the rest of my professional life. When you have invested several thousand dollars into your education and licensure it is really hard to walk away from your career. I did not hate my career. I have had rewarding moments and have worked with some amazing people. With that being said a social worker has many challenging aspects of the job that can make it difficult to stay motivated to be in the profession.

As I was struggling to figure out what I wanted to do moving forward in my career, I started to look to the the outdoors for an outlet. My family and I started hiking more and having more vacations and day trips focused on outdoor activities. This led to finding an amazing outdoor community. Over the last few years I have had some remarkable accomplishments thank to my dedication to get outside more. Such as being an ambassador and now part of the leadership team for Hike Like a Woman. Leading a very successful hiking group in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire.

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Becoming an ambassador for 365 Mile Challenge.

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Having several publications and continuing to build my blog and website. All of these accomplishments focused around the great outdoor did a lot for my own mental health and being able to better balance my personal and professional life. The passion I had to my outdoor community helped pull me out of the professional slump I was in.

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Then a little over a year ago I came across an amazing professional opportunity to build my own Social Work Program for an Oncology Center. I have always covered many disciplines thought out my career and was a little concerned that I would be bored. The director interviewing me also said that same thing. Then I thought about something that a former co-worker said to me. Early in my career he gave me the advice to find a speciality as that is where I can become the most successful and hopefully the most happy. I went back and forth for several months on this opportunity because change is never easy and the older we get the harder it is. Sometimes change is necessary to help us grow and continue to find ourselves. This new position offered me so many benefits to my professional and personal life that I could not pass up this opportunity. After much discussion with my husband and the prospective employer, I accepted the new job.

A few months ago I started noticing I was losing interest in my hiking community. I was contemplating if I should keep up with the ambassadorships and my hiking commitments. Even though I had more free time I found it was going to my daughters activities. I still enjoyed my time on the trails with my family, but i was lacking motivation to schedule group hikes, come up with new material for my blog and participate in various activities through my ambassadorships. I was questioning why I was struggling so much when just a couple years ago this is what helped me pull out of my professional slump.

As I approach my one year anniversary of my job I have never been happier or more content in my professional career. My former co-worker was right, speciality is the way to go. Even though working in an Oncology setting is not easy, it is very rewarding. I find myself brought to tears often from the kind words of my patients or the pure joy of truly being able to help those in need.

One day my husband and I were texting about my lack of motivation for my hiking community. Side note how did parents get to communicate prior to texting? Then the words came out without me really thinking. “I think the reason I am struggling with my hiking stuff is because I am not looking for a way out of my career.” Then a light bulb went off in my head, even though I knew I was using hiking as a way to try to get out of my professional career I never thought that my hiking community would not be my passion or I could find true passion in my career.

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Then i started thinking could I have the best of two worlds? A career I was passionate about as well as a hobby I wanted to continue to build? The answer is yes. I have slowly found my excitement for my hiking community again, but now it is because I want for fun, not because I am trying to change careers. When I am on the trail I am reminded to why I love being outside as I truly feel like home. My lesson from this has been that hard work does pay off. All the education and time I put into my career has made it all worth it to the point that I am finally content in my professional and personal life. Those of you working towards something do not give up as you will get there, also remind yourself why you chose that career path.. Also do not forget what you are passionate about in your personal life. I am thankful I never gave up on either.