May 1, 2016

How to Get a Clearer Image of our Lives (When we’re feeling Stuck & Miserable).



“Everything has changed and yet, I am more me than I’ve ever been.” ~ Iain Thomas

Sometimes we have to remove ourselves from our everyday environments in order to get a clear image of just how monotonous or daunting our lives have become.

Step out of your comfort zone and into the land of unfamiliarity—it’s where all the magic happens, after all. Over the last three months of my life, unfamiliarity has become my familiar. This couldn’t possibly be more different from the life I was living in America.

I don’t want to give off the impression that my reason for leaving home was because I was running from something, but let’s be real, it was a huge factor in my departure.

I went to visit a medicine man during my recent visit to Ubud, Bali. By the end of our visit, I was dumbfounded by his words, with tears welling in my eyes.

Most of his visits consist of him helping people with physical or mental ailments (pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, or infertility to name a few). He spends about 10 minutes with each person, first reading them, then using his energy to help relieve them of their issues.

Then there was my visit.

He hardly spent five minutes with me and didn’t find it necessary to use his energy to help relieve me of my “very small issue, very very small.” He said there was nothing he could do to fix this issue, that it was up to me. Now mind you, this man didn’t even know my name, let alone what kind of job I held at home.

“You need a new career. No patients…passion.”

What?! Crazy, right?

He couldn’t have been more right. This is exactly what I had been running from.

In fact, when talking with friends on the way to visit him, they had asked me what kind of guidance I was looking to obtain from this man. The only thing I wondered about was what on earth I am supposed to be doing with my life—a career change had been on my mind for some time now. While I already knew this going to visit him, hearing it from a total stranger made it real.


For so long, I felt that I was stuck in my nursing career, thanks to the intense pressure society puts on us to stick with our jobs for the long haul, whether or not we are satisfied. Sadly, I had fallen for this unrealistic expectation.

But why? No one would encourage me to stay in a relationship that caused me to be unhappy, so why would I be encouraged to keep working a job that was making me so unhappy?

These feelings are something I have found myself embarrassed to admit. I mean seriously—I am still paying off my student loans and I’ve put my heart and soul into my nursing career. How could I honestly consider starting over?

I started my career by putting my heart and soul into it, yet after awhile, it was as if my soul was being sucked out of me instead.

Don’t get me wrong—in so many ways, I love being a hospice nurse. But until our broken healthcare system begins to care more about the well-being of people and less about the money they can make off their illnesses, it can be incredibly difficult to be the great nurse that I have worked so hard to be. Please understand that I am not sharing this to receive pity. I’d just like for people to understand how I found myself burnt out and questioning my decision to be a nurse forever.

Working nearly 24/7 all of last year due to being under-staffed, I lost the ability to see my family and friends. I would leave my house before the sun came up and many nights I wouldn’t find myself crawling into bed until after midnight, with my phone by my pillow, praying I wouldn’t be called back to work in the middle of the night. I often had to drive home with my windows down (no matter how cold it was) and my music blasting, forcing myself to keep my eyes open so I could make it home in one piece.

I would count down the days until my weekend off, just to be told near the end of the day on Friday that I would be working through the weekend, that I had no choice. People quickly stopped making plans with me because I was constantly having to cancel last minute. All because the company I worked for couldn’t keep a night and weekend nurse staffed for the life of them.

Having absolutely zero work/life balance, no time to feed my soul through my passions, no time to take care of myself, this routine quickly began to tear me down. I found myself becoming depressed, crying on my way home, wondering how much longer I could go on living like this.

So why didn’t I just find another nursing job?

Every nursing job I’ve had has at least one thing in common. The budgets are being cut and the nurse to patient ratios are being increased, therefore decreasing safety and patient satisfaction. This is a problem that has become all too common in healthcare.

I don’t think I will completely walk away from nursing. It is all I have ever thought I wanted to do with my life. However, I refuse to let it be something that takes control over my life and takes away my happiness. While the last year of my life was by far the most challenging, I am grateful for every long day that turned into a long night. Without this experience, I may not be where I am right now. I’ve met so many amazingly beautiful souls and was beyond blessed to be able to help support and care for them on their final journeys.

I’ve met many people who told me time and time again not to put my dreams on hold. People who were waiting for their retirement to make their dreams a reality, just to find out that they, or their significant others were ill, and their dreams were washed away by medical bills and broken hearts.

With all of the daily reminders of just how short life is, I decided to take their advice. I took a leap of faith toward making my dreams a reality, a leap out of this unhappy life I believed I was stuck in. I bought a one way ticket to Thailand, quit my job, gave away most of my possessions and put the rest in storage.

I have been traveling for nearly four months now and I haven’t regretted it for a second. I have visited many countries throughout Asia, but most of my time has been spent living in an ashram, practicing yoga and meditation in India, which has led me to taking a 200 hour yoga teacher training course. The time I have spent traveling has been incredibly therapeutic. It has helped me to become grounded, taught me that I am capable of more than I ever imagined and showed me that life is about more than working just to pay bills for the things we can hardly enjoy because we are always working.

“Everything you are going through is preparing you for everything you asked for.” ~ Unknown

I am beyond grateful that I made the decision to leave the only life I’ve ever known to explore beautiful parts of the world, while also exploring myself. I have realized that money and happiness do not correlate, though many may disagree with that notion. Many objects I possess at home that I once found necessary, I’ve quickly learned that I can easily live without. Living out of and having everything I need in my 60 liter backpack really has put things into perspective.

Eventually, the money I worked so hard to save will run dry and I will need to find a new job. I have absolutely no clue in this moment how to make money pursuing my passions, though I have a few ideas brewing. In the meantime, I have no other choice but to trust that I will find my answer sooner than later. I trust that the universe is taking me on this crazy ride to prepare me for everything I have asked for, while also reminding me that it’s okay to color outside of the lines by doing what you want and not what everyone else thinks you should do. I may or may not end up rich, but I sure as hell plan to be happy!

The beauty of being in a situation where you are unhappy is that you don’t have to stay! Find what feeds your soul, fills your heart with joy and never let anyone make you think your dreams are improbable. Do what you love, love what you do!


Author: Alyssa Brighi

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Images: Courtesy of Author

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Alyssa Brighi