Out for drinks with an friend I hadn’t seen in a long time the other night.. catching up, she asked what was next for me now that I’m done with the big exam/school. I rambled about continuing to work on my business, the personal training I’m already doing and the therapy I hope to add on soon, the travelling for business and fun I’d be doing over the winter/spring, and putting together a master’s program application. Her reaction was to exclaim “so, basically you’re living your dream?”. I agreed and we both chuckled. But she’s right.. I’m working towards exactly what I wanted my career to look like… and that’s a pretty cool (odd) feeling!
The last week or so for me has been kind of a academic/study/future looking hangover. I’ve had many, many moments that remind me to be living in this moment.. where usually I’m always looking ahead. I went through my biggest challenge with the CATA exam, and now that that’s actually- knock on wood- over (part of me really thought it was never going to happen), I’ve been stuck wondering “now what?” between moments of complete relaxation.
Four years. That’s how long my brain has been thinking about the CATA exams. Four years, all for 6 hours over 2 days. And now it’s over.
They say take a week off of studying before the exam, because by that point your brain is probably so full of prep work and anxiety that it’s better to just let it sit… or “percolate” as one of my profs put it. So that’s what I did (and it was needed).
The exam itself was probably the most mentally challenging and I nteresting thing I’ve done. It was pretty cool to see all the prep I did come out when I needed it to, and run on autopilot for the practical portion, almost as if it was an outer body experience.
They then say take a week off after the exam, because your brain won’t be in a space to function fully yet… and they were right.. as usual. This week has been a blur, and I simultaneously feel much lighter mentally as well as somewhat aimless.
A lot of thoughts have glazed over my brain this week… surprisingly not many of them being anxiety over the 6 week results wait. Most of them have been about the face to face position I find myself with the rest of my life.
That sounds a bit dramatic.. but you have to understand how much mental space this exam apparently took up. Until now it’s been all about getting to this point… I didn’t really do a lot of solid planning for what exactly to proceed with once I got here!
Who are we kidding, that’s a lie. I do.
It feels like a big shift happened once I walked out of the last practical in that exam. Suddenly there was no looming test of all things I can do. All of a sudden the reality of “I may be on my own in the real world” hit. Of course pending on the exam results. Figuring things like insurance and business registrations are a real thing I will have to do soon. Deciding my next promotions, how I want to plan the next year, if/when to apply for a masters.. all things that were always in my head, now coming up fast. There’s no structure, no class-schedule, no required hour count or logging system, no candidate handbook for this next step. It’s really just up to me to decide/figure out.
This adult thing. It’s kind of terrifying and great all at once.
So what have I done in the last week to start figuring it out? I starting reading novels again. Went to work, felt a little aimless, went to yoga, spent time with friends.. without the sense that I needed to be doing something else. There is a certain sense of freedom now, alongside the sense of figuring out responsibility.
I also decided to start working on a book or two, which is another little project that’d been in my head for a while.. but never plausible with other steps to be completed first. I figure now, with 5 weeks of limbo left until results come in, is a great time to start dedicating time to research and brain storming where I couldn’t give full effort before!
Onwards and upwards… that’s what they say right?