Three years ago I decided to grow a set of balls and do something I really wanted in spite of great, vociferous, nearly rabid protest from another department. I enrolled in a rigorous masters program for acupuncture in a school founded by Chinese doctors. I've been, and still am doing, marketing for 13 years now. It can be fun and creative and require deep thinking but it is always a stretch; I just can't quite get my heart in it. Because of circumstances (these also involve the other department, and I'm not thrilled about it) I've had to keep working in that field the whole time I'm at school so I could pay all the bills, meaning the program will take me years. It's been hard watching all of my classmates enter the clinic and start treating patients and then graduate. Hopefully in the next few months I will take the entrance exam myself so I too can treat actual patients in acupuncture. But those are side points. The different turn I started to take three years ago is becoming real. In a way, kind of, as of today.
Halfway into my time at school I took the required classes in "Tuina," which means "push/grasp," a vigorous form of traditional massage, and physical therapy of sorts, that can be used to treat nearly all the conditions acupuncture treats. Tuina requires physical conditioning and technique similar to what you'd develop doing qi gong or martial arts. That's one of the reasons I felt drawn to it and decided to go beyond the classes required for the masters' and complete the certification program my school offers in Tuina. I've finished the clinic internship for the Tuina program and have a few academic classes to wrap up. Six months ago I decided to be proactive (hate that word) which is sometimes unusual for me and lay the groundwork so I could start working in the field when I'm done. My plan was to start working doing Tuina while completing the masters'.
As of today I sealed the deal on a rental space. You don't have to have any kind of license to practice massage in the city so technically I can begin working before getting the actual certificate. I guess you could say today I also did my first treatment as a professional. I'm doing a trade with the woman I will be subletting from who is a massage therapist in a different discipline.
Next Monday will be my first day at work in a totally different career that I have actively chosen, and worked for, and in many ways suffered for (there's a brutal financial hit that comes from working freelance or for very small firms so you can go to school, since big employers suck and don't like employees going to school, and also a lot of stress trying to be successful at work while also going to school under the pressure of paying a mortgage for a house I'm now not even living in). I may not have any patients lined up with only a week to prepare; only today I started sending out emails to everyone I know; but the place is so cheap it doesn't matter. I'll bring my Mac and work on my marketing stuff while I'm there. In a couple weeks I will have patients. Not sure from where, but I know it will be so.
You know when people say "it's really happening" when something they've worked toward for a long time starts to take shape? I've heard my fellow students say that when they enter the clinic to do acupuncture. I feel like that today, having taken the step of securing this place to see clients. I wanted to write it down somewhere. (I could write a whole, long, separate post about all the fear that comes up when you do something important which, because it is important, is very different than what you've been doing). Since I don't keep a private journal anymore I'm writing it here and projecting it out into the internet, and I know nobody else will quite understand the way it feels to me. So thanks for listening in as I celebrate a small milestone in the development of my balls (I had to bring this back down to the nuts. Can't let it get too serious in here).
Minutia - I've not moved. I kind of want to, but every time I think of some super clever and unique name for a new blog, I check and find out it's not unique at all....