Transitioning from one life to another

I spent last week at the annual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Anatomist. I have been the Program Chair for the last three years, largely because no one else wanted the job, and have, as a parts of the job, led a committee which decides where the annual meetings will be for the next five years, chose the hotels, worked with the Annual Meeting Committee which handles the details of the meeting, sat in on three conference calls per month, and did a lot of trouble shooting. I feel very comfortable with this group because of my years as an anatomist, but now that a new Program Chair has been elected (a real competition this time), I am dealing with the fact one of my last ties to my previous life is gone. Since I no longer teach or do research in the field, I have lost something that defined me.

Now I am a blogger – not the best but enthusiastic! – and I work hard at being a writer. I’m still not comfortable in these clothes and feel like I did as a graduate student: getting my feet under me on a steep mountain of learning. It’s proven hard to let go; I came up with the idea for a text book at that meeting, one which my scientific publishing company – Elsevier – would be happy to consider. I was an editor for three issues of the Netter Atlas of Anatomy, author of an anatomy review book, and they are marketing an online anatomy program I created (which the British Medical Society recently recognized). So you can see I am torn.

20150618_154248-1_2I know if I slipped back into my former suit of clothes, I would not have time to work on the Rhe Brewster Mystery series, or at least a lot less so, nor time for the marketing work, nor for the historical novel I am thinking about.  So here I sit, straddling both worlds, not comfortable yet in the new one, but knowing I have to leave the old to grow.



18 thoughts on “Transitioning from one life to another”

  1. It is never easy redefining ourselves, especially when moving away from a place we have been both happy and successful in order to pretty much go out on a limb. But if that’s what calls you, you just have to go 🙂

  2. That’s what makes life interesting, Noelle, working at getting comfortable on what we love to do, and maybe more than one thing, even if we love one more than the rest. I say it’s probably not good to get too comfortable at anything. Challenges, discomfort, push us. Hope the book is doing well.

  3. Good luck with your work. I imagine you will get more comfortable with your new role the more you do. The old work will still be there, if you decide you want to return to it–or perhaps return in some other capacity.

  4. This is so familiar! I had 35 years as a lawyer, working in to places, both extraordinary and compelling, both leeches of time and energy, both hard to leave behind. Now I’m confronted with my latest career choice – to blog and write novels like you, Noelle, or consider an associate professorship that has appeared out of the blue. I’m pretty sure I know where I will go with this but, as you say, it does make it uncomfortable. When I moaned to my father, early in in my career that I was being told what work I had to do, he said, ‘One day you’ll have choice and that is even more painful and frustrating’. I thought he was talking gobblydegook; turns out he knew a thing or to.

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