I’ve found myself at a fork in the road, with a ‘very important decision’ being the  destination. I have until June 10th to accept my Masters offer from UBC, and I don’t know if I’m ready to undertake this commitment yet. As many of you may know, this is usually not a difficult decision for me. Normally if I hear ‘education opportunity’ I say ‘sign me up’ before I blink. But this time around feels different. Now that I am enjoying my life and health, I am wary to add anything extra to my plate. I am now able to see that while I do love education, many of my expensive pieces of paper were obtained as a form of numbing myself from the real world. It was easy for me to get lost in a research paper rather than address my crumbling mental health and family life. So here I sit, with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ email defining a significant part of what the next 4 years of my life would look like, and I’m personally shocked at which road I’m leaning at going down.

While at my women’s recovery group this morning my sponsor said something that struck such a huge chord with me. She was talking about how before her recovery she was always a person who needed to make it to a sale that was going on. She felt that if she missed that one opportunity to get that awesome ‘thing’ (lets use shoes for this analogy), she would miss out of having them forever. But as she has grown and explored this personality trait, she has come to learn that there will always be another sale! How profound I thought! And how true! I immediately associated this idea with my underlying need to accept the Masters offer now. What would that make me if I missed ‘this sale’? What version of Natalie would I be without buying the fancy shoes (that I can’t afford) tomorrow? Sure the shoes would look great…but would they give me blisters and make me hate every step I took? Or would they be super comfy and and put a spring in my step? Yes, I know I can’t have an answer unless I buy them and try them on. But do I really need new shoes right now? The one’s I’m wearing are the best one’s I’ve ever know! And I’m not so sure I’m ready to trade them in.

So how does the decision to not accept my Master’s offer this year affect my still burning desire to help others who are suffering from mental health illnesses like PTSD? Well, I feel it means that I am to carry on writing and sharing about my experience, strength and hope, while possibly looking into reaching beyond the realm of this blog page. One thing I know without a doubt, is that writing every single one of my blogs has been a joy to me at some level. Either by getting something off of my chest and feeling free, or by learning how someone else could relate to my words and how it helped them to feel not alone. ALL pretty amazing results if you ask me!

Another amazing woman in my group mentioned this morning that, she wasn’t sure which layer of the onion she was at with regards to the healing she has made throughout her recovery. I could instantly relate to that analogy as well! The onion I’m peeling back is getting easier (i.e.: It may not bring tears to my eyes as often), but I have no idea how many more layers are left. Or if there will ever be an end? So why not continue to be mindful of the layers I’m peeling back, and not put the onion aside to struggle through a extension of education I can’t afford, nor feel ready for?

Just like there will always be a sale, there will always be time for me to complete my Master’s. And for now, I’m more comfortable continuing ‘life education’ with my onion in hand. I look forward to peeling each layer back and seeing what amazing lessons are left to learn through the tears. Who knew? 🙂