Friday, April 11, 2014

Evaluate Your Options

Lately I've been reading up on the responses to Sheryl Sandberg's famous Lean In TED Talk and book. I heard it mentioned several times at NAVC, and I had never heard of it, so I made a little note in my iPhone to look it up when I got home. Something about it didn't sit right with me. What if I don't want to be a CEO? Am I letting down the girl power movement, and all the women who came before me, if I don't always put my career first? This timely response, written by a veterinarian, takes spin on work/life balance that really articulates everything I was feeling.

What really struck a cord with me was that she extended her discussion of work/life balance to include men and women, with and without children, who want time away from being a veterinarian. I turned 31 today, and have spent the last 3 years being a full time veterinarian; I spent the first 28 becoming one. So last month, I decided I need to take a breather this summer. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do.

I think most people have some place they'd like to travel to, a place they always fantasized spending months or a year backpacking around. Most people might imagine Europe, Australia, or maybe Southeast Asia or South America. For me, I've always loved classic Americana: diners, highways, neon signs, the National Parks; I romanticize them the way other people might romanticize the Eiffel Tower.

So, when I graduated high school, instead of a typical gap year in Australia, my sister (who had just graduated from university) and I road tripped across Canada and the United States. I can say that I have been to every province and 46 American states. I'm still missing Hawaii, Alaska, Oklahoma, and....Kansas. My favourite vacations involve a highway and music on the stereo. So when I asked myself, "Where would you go?" the answer was obvious. Road trip.

But I wanted more than just a mental break and a bit of fun. I wanted to work towards being the veterinarian I want to be. So I decided I would spend the summer in Kansas, and check at least two things off my bucket list in one go.

What's in Kansas? A 5 week intensive veterinary chiropractic course, at Options For Animals. Yes, I'll be going back to school for most of my summer vacation, and travelling through 10 or so states on the way there and back. I want to return refreshed, and with an ever expanding knowledge of animal health and well-being. I'm so fortunate to be a part of clinic that shares my vision for what we want to offer our patients, with an understanding boss and colleagues who are there to pick up the slack while I "lean out" for some much needed time off.