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Life Changes… – Geek Turned Athlete

Life Changes…

So, you may have noticed that the frequency of my posting has significantly been reduced for the past year. My work schedule had A LOT to do with that. Without going into too much detail, the job that I had here in Spokane was not only a massive time consuming entity, but a total mental stressor. I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world, and no matter how many times I tried to tell myself that I enjoyed my job, I didn’t. Often times I would go home after work and cry. I felt guilty that I felt this way especially since I just completed my masters degree in that career field only a year and a half ago. Something just felt missing. I wasn’t fulfilled. I began to realize that I’m not one of those people who can work a job and not get something emotionally from it. I was not happy at all. I couldn’t share this on the blog since I was still working there!

When my husband received orders to San Antonio a few months ago, it really got me thinking. Did I want to attempt to start at the bottom of the totem pole AGAIN in the same career field (once in Tucson and once in Spokane), or did I want to change careers to something that was more conducive to moving around so much AND emotionally satisfying? My husband’s AF career is what moves us around, and technically he had his career before he met me. Plus, I kinda like visiting new places all the time.

Then, it hit me. For the majority of my life, I have wanted to be a doctor. I changed my major a few times in college trying to figure out what I wanted. It is funny how I’m kinda going full circle back to my first major doing the premed route. However, I don’t want to work 60 hour work weeks. I’ve done it, and I honestly, I want to enjoy my life spending time with my family and enjoying my hobbies while having a fulfilling career. That’s why I’ve decided to apply for Physician Assistant school.

For the last 2 1/2 months I have been attending EMT school to gain clinical experience for PA school. So, between working a crazy amount of hours at work up until a month ago, going to EMT school, trying to do the absolute minimum for my Ironman training, home renovation hell (did I mention that we redid our entire basement including new flooring, electrical, walls, a bathroom, etc.), trying to get our house ready to rent in Spokane, finding a house to rent in San Antonio, packing and moving my husband to San Antonio, blogging was not a priority at all.

My last day at my job was about a month ago, and let me tell ya, I felt like an elephant had been lifted off my back driving home from work on my last day. I learned a lot from that job, don’t get me wrong. I learned that I should never sacrifice my self worth in any job that I have. I also learned that I should speak up if what was promised to me during the interview was drastically different than than what actually happened once I started working at a job. Most of all, if I’m crying practically every night for the first month, let alone the entire year that I work at a place, I need to leave. It is not the right job for me. I deserve to be happy, and so does my husband. He knew I was unhappy, and although he tried and tried, I was the only one who could fix that.

So, the plan is: finish up EMT school and home renovations while continuing to train for Ironman Lake Placid in Spokane for the next few weeks. I am still looking to shadow a PA or two while I’m here. Then, drive down to meet the hubs in San Antonio the beginning of July. He left a few weeks ago. Although these long stretches of time without each other are normal, they are still hard! I miss him along with my dogs so much! Once in San Antonio, look for ER Tech jobs to gain experience for PA school, take only one semester of prereqs for PA school and apply! I may not get in this year since I don’t have a lot of experience in the career field and a lot of schools require that you are done with your prereqs before this upcoming Fall semester, but I’m prepared for that.

I am nervous for this drastic career change (environmental science/engineering to premed!), but it seems like every person that I have talked to in the medical field LOVES what they do. This feels SO right like this was something that I was meant to do with my life. I have always wanted to help people and although I was still doing it sort of indirectly with environmental science, I have discovered that I need a more direct approach. Things worth having in life are not supposed to be easy, and although I took a 9 year detour, I’m back on track. :)

To my readers, thank you for sticking by me this year. I know my posts have not been as personal only because I didn’t want to be a “debbie downer” ALL the time. I feel like a completely different person since I had this epiphany about my life and career. This is what I was meant to do!!!

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to cut off a good majority of my hair to signify this change in my life. Here are the pics just in case you missed them on twitter. 😉



I wrote this post because I don’t think it is okay to just sit there and have a lackluster life. If you don’t like something, change it!!  Life is simply TOO short!! I’m hoping I can inspire some of you to make that change you have been thinking about even though you are scared to do it!

Have you been thinking about making a change in your life that is scary as hell? Are you happy in your career? If you are happy, how did you get on that right path?


I’ve got a gnarly Boise 70.3 Race Recap coming up!  It was the most terrifying race that I have ever done.  I’m not kidding. 😉

{ 26 comments… add one }

  • Heather (Where's the Beach) June 11, 2012, 11:55 am

    So exciting!!! Very happy for you. I think it’s so important to be happy with your career path. I definitely am not totally satisfied and need to figure out how to take the plunge myself.
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted..Full Weekend of Runnig, Shopping, Relaxing

  • Alicia June 11, 2012, 1:04 pm

    You are busy! But doing what you love and are passionate about makes it so worth it. I’ve decided to go back to school this fall and get a certificate in something totally different than my college degree. I’m excited and nervous. Like you said life is too short! I’m excited to hear all about your adventures.

  • Sana June 11, 2012, 1:11 pm

    YES! We seem to be on the same future path! I am so pumped for you :)
    Sana recently posted..The Imperfect Workout

    • Nicole June 11, 2012, 8:13 pm

      Yay!! What are you working towards?

  • Jess June 11, 2012, 1:21 pm

    Wow. HUGE change going on up in here!! But I LOVE it. It suits you. This is YOUR path, I firmly believe it and love that you are going for it, as scary as I am sure it is! Right now, I’m sort of in ‘happy medium’ mode – my day job is one that I’m good at, that I can do from home ,that pays the bills and gives me the balance I was missing in my last job, but is it my DREAM? Nope. My dream job is my side job – teaching fitness classes…something I ADORE, but simply doesn’t pay the bills right now. I’d love to somehow parlay that into something more than “Just” a side gig, so we’ll see. Maybe it’s not out of the realm of impossibility?? (and why, oh why didn’t I KNOW what I wanted to do way back in college 10 years ago?? then I’d be an RD and fitness instructor…the ultimate dream job combo in my mind). Annnnd end novel length blog comment!!!
    Jess recently posted..Celebrating strength (in running)

    • Nicole June 11, 2012, 8:18 pm

      Feel free to write a novel on my page anytime!! 😉 I wish that I was 100% sure like I am now about what I want. Hindsight is always 20/20. What would it take for you to go back and become an RD? We are definitely taking some financial setbacks b/c I’m going back to school, but I definitely think it will be worth it!

      • Jess June 12, 2012, 6:04 am

        The hard part is that I make more financially than my husband does so for me to go back to school to become an RD would be near-impossible…we can’t afford for me to NOT work at all, though I suppose if I went back part-time at night I could figure it out. So you’re right, there’s always a way to catch a dream, I guess I’m just scared of all the “what ifs” that come with chasing that dream. If that makes sense.
        Jess recently posted..Celebrating strength (in running)

  • Beth June 11, 2012, 1:37 pm

    Congrats on going for what you really want! I literally just did the same thing, quit my job, chopped off my hair and am looking into what I want to be when I grow up. It’s so liberating! Good luck
    Beth recently posted..Last Day!!!

    • Nicole June 11, 2012, 8:19 pm

      It is liberating, isn’t it? Whoop!!!

  • Amy June 11, 2012, 3:38 pm

    Good for you for knowing that you needed a change-we are meant to enjoy life-it’s way too short to be miserable!

  • lindsay June 11, 2012, 5:38 pm

    i love the short hair! and I love that you will be closer to me!! SA is 45 minutes away!

    • Nicole June 11, 2012, 8:19 pm

      Yay! Yay! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We will definitely have to get together once I get down there!

  • Lauren @ Lauren Runs June 11, 2012, 5:40 pm

    Your post is inspiring! I’m at a similar cross-roads in deciding about my career/job choices. I love the company, but I’ve realized I’m not enjoying what I’m doing. Starting to look at what I would enjoy doing.

  • Carrie Symes June 12, 2012, 5:48 am

    So excited for you!!! Sometimes it takes awhile to figure out where you are meant to be. But that is what life is all about!! Live and learn!!! Good luck with your move and getting into PA school!!!
    Carrie Symes recently posted..I AM NOT ON A DIET!

  • Brooke June 12, 2012, 8:00 am

    Congrats! I recently did something similar…… went to school 8 1/2 years, bachelor’s + master’s in biochem. I quickly discovered I like people more than research for my daily work, so I spent the bulk of 10 years teaching college.
    But I also had unrealized dreams of wanting to be a PT or rehab professional. I was a fitness instructor on the side and taught mat Pilates, so went for a 500 hour cert which I finished 3 years ago. I haven’t taught a college class in a while (tho it would help with bills) and I now teach private Pilates sessions in a studio attracting mostly people with acute or chronic injuries/medical conditions…
    You only have one life, and it’s too short to be miserable! :)

  • Mackenzie June 12, 2012, 9:12 am

    Work it, girl! I totally understand about working a job that doesn’t make you happy, and I am so glad that you’re making such an amazing life decision. I actually worked as an EMT for a year, so if you ever have any questions, feel free to ask! I’m a biology teacher now (which is my passion), and I was just hired on for next year which inspired me to cut my hair short too (still haven’t done it yet, but I’m going pixie)! Kind of interesting that women chop of their hair to symbolize major life changes, huh? Anyway, congratulations!!!

  • Holly June 12, 2012, 2:36 pm

    A to the MEN! Life is too short, and I could not be happier that things are going your way. I truly believe we have to trust our gut and our intuition, which means I know you are making the right decision because when it feels right, it IS right.

    Best of luck with all the craziness! I’ve been going through similar so I feel you. Beer helps, FYI 😉
    Holly recently posted..funemployment, day #1.

  • Holly June 12, 2012, 2:36 pm

    P.S. LOVE the hair!!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) June 12, 2012, 6:04 pm

    Congrats on doing something to make you happy! It will be challenging but I think an IronMan likes a challenge.

    AND your hair is fantastic!!!!
    Cynthia (It All Changes) recently posted..Lessons from Top Chef

  • AmyD June 15, 2012, 5:26 pm

    Hmmmm, I’m in a position where my job is ok, but not great. Before my problem was that I was married to an USAF pilot too and felt my options were limited. Now that I’m happily divorced, I feel like I need this job to support myself. I think I would be willing to make a change if I could figure out my passion. That’s where I’m a little stuck, but I’m working on it.
    Congrats on getting yourself back on track! Your hair looks great.

    Good luck,
    AmyD recently posted..Tarawera Ultramarathon – Part 1

    • Nicole June 18, 2012, 9:38 pm

      Wow. I didn’t know you got a divorce!! I’m glad you are happy now though. :) My cousin is sort of going through something too now where she doesn’t know what her passion is. My advice to her has just been to talk to everyone she knows about their jobs. Then, if they sound even remotely interesting, ask them if she can go with them to work for a day. You never know what you may or may not like! Good luck. It sounds like your journey is just beginning. 😉

  • Matt @ The Athlete's Plate June 16, 2012, 4:50 pm

    Congrats! I hope you truly find what makes you happy!
    Matt @ The Athlete’s Plate recently posted..Friday Favorites

  • Leah June 19, 2012, 1:55 pm

    Congratulations!! So happy for you and this big step you are taking to a happier you. I think so often we just go through the motions and sometimes end up feeling guilty for what we’ve done and how we feel about the outcome (like you spoke about getting your masters degree)… sometimes we just need to make a change. Good for you!!
    Leah recently posted..the first time

  • Meygann June 19, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Well, what can I say? Congratulations! I am sure you will be successful and good luck for your next journey in life.. Be happy always!
    Meygann recently posted..GoPro HD Hero Fan Videos

  • Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama June 24, 2012, 1:26 am

    Hugs to you! And I am also sad because we never met up and we were so close! =(
    Your post has a very similar ring to it… I too have been going through some transitions with career, school and life in general. It is about happiness, hands down.
    I wish you the very best in your new path and new home! =)

  • Mares February 10, 2013, 7:06 am

    I came across your blog today and this post really resonated with me! Great post!


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