It's been a busy couple of days in my brain and at my PC. A thought that had been wheedling for attention at the back of my mind suddendly burst into a loud chorus of conclusion on Thursday morning.
In May, I attended a brief seminar on how to progress in my career as a Breastfeeding Counsellor. The obvious next step was to enrol on the first module of an Educational Studies BA degree. For various administrative reasons, I had to get on with it in 2008 and I had to apply immediately. I am a sucker for any kind of "limited offer - hurry now" approach and was signed up without really thinking it through. (This is familiar: I all too frequently hear the words "I didn't really think it through," come out of my mouth!) Once committed, I could then use my favourite excuse: "Well, I'm stuck with it now so I'd better get on with it," not to think about it any more. There was no way I could not see it through as I had made a bit of a fool of myself last year starting, then withdrawing from and then re-applying to the Diploma. There were plenty of good reasons to do the course: it was interesting and intellectually challenging, it was about something I knew little about so there was plenty to learn, at the end of it I would be qualifed for a salaried role that I could fit part time round my children. I bought the books, I did the required work and I was fully prepared for the weekend workshop this weekend.
However, while I was on retreat, the a thought popped unbidden into my mind: "What if I used the 15 or so hours I spend on Breastfeeding Counselling each month to write ... ?"
I ran a breastfeeding clinic this week and was reminded how much it drains me.
I had a drink with one of my longest standing friends and heard myself say that I wasn't sure that being a Breastfeeding Counsellor is what God wants me to be doing right now.
So the doubts grew, until the fact that I was committed to a course, with a weekend workshop this weekend, did not seem sufficient reason to spend more time and energy walking along a path I am not enjoying towards a destination I don't really want to get to! Of course, I felt very silly pulling out, and very much that I had disappointed people, but I could not continue to be funded for, and to spend time and energy on this study if I wasn't sure I wanted to continue as a Breastfeeding Counsellor.
It took a lot of time and e-mails on Thursday to extricate myself and to explain to my colleagues what I was doing. And then Kathy posted about National Novel Writing Month, and used Heartbreak Hill as a metaphor. Within moments I was mentally set to write a novel and run the Boston Marathon. Then I remembered that I have decided not to run a marathon next year, but maybe I could do the novel thing ....
It took me until Friday morning to reach the conclusion that stepping back as a Breastfeeding Counsellor was partly about being more available for my children, and also it will take a while to notice any extra time as I serve out my current commitments. Then Mrs G. mentioned National Blog Posting Month! Here was something I could do! I post pretty much every day, excluding Sundays, so not much more to add. Focussing on my blog for a month will begin to exercise those writer-ly muscles and, who knows, I may even appeal to some new readers.
So, thanks Kathy and Mrs G. Good luck to both of you, and here I go, posting every day for a month.