Managing Career, Education and Passion

May 5, 2015

A year and five months after submitting my PhD and a little longer after finding out about my infertility I had to re-think a lot of goals and plans. I wanted to be Dr Mum and to be honest for the past year I’ve struggled to understand how I could be the Doctor without being the Mum. There was never a plan to be one without the other. Not because I feel I need my life to be defined by children but because it was a passion. A goal I aspired to – the way others would aspire to be an artist or surgeon. Working through that, over time, has helped me let go of the Mum part but its opened my eyes to the wider tensions and conflicts regarding who I want to be and the realisation that I wasn’t going to fit into any clear cut category.

I love research, the consultancy work I do and academic writing. These I felt fit together, they made sense to me (and the world around me). Last year I set up Making Connections Fiji the consultancy firm that I’ve always wanted to have. It utilised my academic achievements in a way that was deemed acceptable and almost expected. Having this business established is a big life goal achieved sooner than I thought I would be able to.

That I felt was easy – it was anticipated, a given almost. A greater tension lay in reconciling my career and education with this deep-seated interest in life and style blogging. Even while doing my PhD I saw these two pathways as being separate. There were almost two of me. The me that went to the office in the day and wrote up chapters, advised students and then the me who rushed from the office to get my hair and make-up done for some fashion show or event. I’ve kept them separate for the most part mainly because I hated having to respond to those raised eyebrows when people found out about the two different versions of the same me.

Lately, and I’m talking about the past month or two, I’ve seen my two worlds collide naturally. The achievements in one boosting my status in the other. My academic background enhancing the blogging opportunities that have come my way and the content and community created on my blog launching me into a platform that helps me extend the conversations of my academic interests. I know there are many people who still don’t get ‘it’ (it being what I do) but there is a great beauty in finally being able to own it and allow the two paths to intertwine and feed off each other. I embraced the realisation that my ‘jobs’ aren’t jobs – they are who I am. I can tell you it’s already becoming easier for me to get out of bed in the morning because I’m no longer having to put one Vanisha on hold while the other works. I wake-up and I can be me, entirely.

I’m sure we all have our own struggles and tensions between what we love and what we’re good at. I thought I’d share my journey because often what you see is perhaps someone who is doing it all. What hasn’t been as obvious were the tensions and the shifts in thinking (mostly the result to my two paths merging the way they have) necessary to get me to this point.

Have you had a similar struggle? Did your reconciliation take place somewhat naturally like mine did, or was it something you’ve had to more consciously work towards? 

1 comment

  • Nadeena

    Reading this made me so happy. I graduated college with a degree in Community Health Education and through it I gravitated towards working with women and underprivileged communities. Educating them. Empowering them. One of my goals in life is still to stay and do charity work in a developing country. Maybe back home. For a long time I thought this was all I was, but it wasn’t. And when I figured out it wasn’t…I felt torn. Like you said. Two Nadeenas running around. I found that my struggle to embrace both me at the same time was..really just internal. I just saw those two nadeenas as separate but when I stopped…when I just accepted that I like to work with people, I like to get my hands and feet dirty and do the work, I come alive when I create, I come alive knowing my creative talents can serve others…I couldn’t ignore that. I battled with the “CHE Nadeena” turning her nose up at the “Creative Nadeena” because..she wasn’t really helping people the way CHE Nadeena could. You know, people who REALLY needed my help. And what was I, a sell out now? But I had to let it all go. And just learn to accept myself as a whole. See myself as a whole. I am not just one thing, I am many things. And that is actually a beautiful thing.

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