So many people live their lives through without ever really discovering a true passion. People spend day in and day out working a 9-5 desk job that they might hate or might actually quite enjoy, but it doesn’t fulfill a passion deep inside them, their lives aren’t richer as a result of working such a job.
I am a deeply lucky person. I have found a passion – something that makes my life better, which makes me happier, gives me drive and motivation, something that truly makes my life worth living. Problem is, I have found two of them.
I began my training to become a midwife at the tender age of 17. Until 6 months before commencing this training I had had no previous desire to enter the field of midwifery, but one day I woke up and like something out of a film, I had a sense that midwifery was something I had to do.
So I commenced my training and fell more and more in love with midwifery as each day passed. I loved working with women from all walks of life. I loved cuddling and caring for babies. I loved the thrill of bringing a new life into the world and the little rush of adrenaline it would give me each and every birth without fail. I loved having a woman walk in the door as a wife, or girlfriend, or daughter and watching her walk out as a new mother. I loved advocating for women – especially in environments heavily dominated by primarily male obstetricians.
I felt as though I had found my passion. I counted myself lucky, thinking I had found something that I could envision myself loving for the rest of my working life.
A year or so after commencing my training, my two best friends Tess and Ethan ventured off together on an 8 week backpacking trip through South-East Asia. Tess had asked me to come with them, but for a number of reasons, I said no. To be honest, I still don’t know why I so persistently turned her down.
I remember saying that I didn’t have the money, but I had just gotten a hefty tax return so that was not exactly true. I remember worrying that I wouldn’t fit in on a Contiki tour – which they were doing for a portion of their trip. Also, I was still recovering from a messy break up which had resulted in a real blow to my self-esteem. Travelling through South-East Asia means wearing a lot of bathers in public, and after having my self confidence shattered by said break up, the mere thought of that had me wanting to go and hide in a corner. It may have been one of these reasons, or a culmination of them, or something completely different; but either way, the travel bug had not bitten me yet and at that point travelling was not on my radar as a goal or even as a possibility.
When Tess left for the adventure (her and Ethan were on separate planes) I went to the airport to see her off. Eight weeks is a long time for a teenager to be without her best friend! As I watched her go through customs and as her flight took off, I got this strange and profound sense of sadness and longing. I wanted to go off and see something new! I wanted to feel excitement so strong that it would completely overtake me!
Two or three days later I had booked flights to the United Kingdom and about four weeks after that I was waiting at the airport to board my flight! With a pristine new passport in one hand and an economy boarding pass in the other, I passed through customs as nervous as a deer but excited all the same.
That first three week trip was full of highs and lows. I hated London but fell in love with Edinburgh. Paris was eventful and Glasgow was kinda dull. Belfast was vibrant and Dublin was horrific. The trip ended on a low note thanks to a sadistic asshole in Dublin and I really could have thrown away my passport then and there.
After coming home and slowly recovering, I had a bit of a revelation. If I never travelled again, I would never experience the excitement and happiness I felt in Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands. If I never travelled again I would be depriving myself of countless amazing opportunities and allowing one Irish dickhead the power to negatively influence my life for a lot longer than one bad night. There was no way I could let someone ruin my life like that.
So I planned another trip. Booked more flights. Packed my bags once again. I embarked on another journey, hesitant and scared but fully determined. That trip was absolutely unbelievable. I loved every single second and had so many joyous days that I would not have had otherwise. By the time that trip was over, I had not just been bitten by a travel bug, I had been completely swarmed and eaten alive by them. Just like that, a new passion was realised.
The path of my life which had once seemed so clear was now going fuzzy. I loved midwifery, but I also felt a calling to pursue the dream of solo world travel. Which passion was I meant to indulge?
This is a question that several years on, I still don’t have a clear answer on. I feel a constant tug and pull to attempting continuous and uninterrupted world travel – backpacking from place to place and surviving off of very small amounts of money. But, as much as I fantasize about such a life, I don’t think I could do it.
As much as I love travelling, midwifery has its hooks in me too. I go too long without catching a baby and I get restless. If I go more than a month without cuddling a newborn I found myself not knowing what to do with myself. If I go too long without being completely run off my feet from an understaffed double shift, I start getting kinda bored.
So for now, I’ll try to pursue two passions. I will throw myself wholeheartedly into caring for women and babies for half my life and for fearlessly exploring the world with the other. I hope one day, a time comes when these passions of mine collide and meld and mesh and become one with each other, but until then, I will continue leading two completely different lives. At least I can say that there is never, EVER, a dull moment.