Sacrifice: how much is too much?

February 1, 2009

Deciding to join the naturopathic profession definitely requires me to make mature sacrifices in the life of my family. I must scrutinize my finances, postpone plans for children, uproot my family, abandon the theatre, leave a President Barack Obama administration, and conquer general anxieties. However, enumerating these sacrifices makes it all the more apparent how I cherish the naturopathic profession. Immigrating to Canada is an expensive and nerve-racking transition requiring our entire savings. Visas, passports, tuition, and housing are just some of the expensive necessities. The immigration process has taken years of planning and budgeting. Our search for new housing, banking, phone carrier, and employment for my husband has been a series of uphill battles. Even now, there is a high level of uncertainty about our financial future in this new country. My husband and I live quite frugally. I look forward to the day when we won’t have to be so restricted by our finances. The next five years will not afford us this luxury. How could they with the time, money, and effort required to transition into returning to college and immigrating? I have been married for nearly five years. We have a blessed marriage and are anxiously thinking about starting a family. Initially, we planned to try for children next year in 2010. However, when I decided to study naturopathy we determined that the time and expense required to provide for a child couldn’t even be considered until the 3rd year of the program. Even then it will still depend on where I stand at that time in the future and in the program. Though many say there is never a specific “right” time to have a child, there is definitely a “wrong” time to have a child, and beginning my education at CCNM would be one of them. Expenses are compounded by living away from loved ones for half a decade. This is daunting. Family and friends provide a ready-made moral, spiritual, financial, and emotional support. Our loved ones are quick to note that we will be a whole other country away. I feel I’ve neglected loved ones for the past eight years since I’ve left my beloved hometown; first moving to Chicago, then to Los Angeles. Oftentimes, it seems I abandon my friends right when our bonds are growing and they need me the most. I feel guilty about leaving my family and not being a present role model for my nieces and nephews in such a critical time in their youth. Theatre and art have been a consistent passion in my life. In undergraduate studies, I attained a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Theatre with a concentration in directing. When I decided to start naturopathy I didn’t anticipate the extent this intensive program would demand. Though I will be a lifelong patron of the theatre, I fear there will be no immediate time to participate. No directing, acting, stage managing, designing, or anything of that nature until my education is well underway. I’ve spent my last twelve years training in theatre, building up several professional relationships, and establishing the building blocks of a career. Theatre had been my future, so entering into a fresh discipline will be an added challenge. I must immerse myself into this new world yet keep sharp skills I’ve spent so long developing. This is an historic time that is especially poignant for Americans. Most of the citizens of the States are very excited and looking forward to living under a President Obama administration. It is somewhat bittersweet that we can’t be in the States while he is leading the country. These past eight years, under the former Bush Administration, have been a time of fear, anxiety, and trepidation for the country and in fact the world. We all have tremendous anticipation for the next four years to come. In some respect, I will be missing out of a firsthand experience. General anxieties about healthcare, employment, travel, and maintaining a fitness routine flood my thoughts daily. I have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) but hate taking oral contraception to regulate my cycle. School makes it impossible to start a family or afford a child. Through naturopathy, I hope to find an alternate solution for my PCOS. I’m proud of working with the Girl Scouts of the San Fernando Valley. I set up their curriculum and fostered positive girl to girl relations. My thoughts of working with the affiliated Girl Guides were crushed with the realization that my student status doesn’t allow for a work permit. I love to travel but have had to delay plans to explore Northern Africa with my parents and husband for years. Ideally, I’ll quell my wanderlust by travelling to Europe, Asia, and Africa during the summers when classes are out. I worry this goal will not be attainable. I’m not thoroughly optimistic that these next five years of school will allow the time or expense for exploration abroad. I’ve recently made changes in my lifestyle that benefit my health. They have enabled me to loose an excessive 50 lbs. I’ve become much more active. I realize that keeping up with my lifestyle will be hard because I will not be able to resume my gym routine for several weeks while we are getting settled. I worry that falling out of my routine will cause me to never get back on track. In spite of this, I have a healthy outlook. Loved ones are afforded comfort in that we used to live in California, which is three times farther from Midwest America than Toronto. The distance will inspire some to attain a passport and travel abroad for the first time. I am blessed to have their love and support for my future. I hope to show my nieces and nephews that a career in medicine is not out of reach. I’m optimistic that a warm, receptive, diverse faculty, staff, and student body will aide us in developing new community. There is potential to stay within the theatre arts loop by volunteering at box office or ushering. I’m mindful that Obama’s influence is sure to be felt worldwide, and planning is always in the works to fulfill lifelong travel dreams. This transition is giving me an invaluable opportunity to grow as a person and as a professional. My education requires me to give in to my passion for community service and social activism. It also prompts me to face a fear of taking risks. Most importantly, naturopathic medicine gives me the chance to have a life of passion, educate others, and provide alternate options for their healthcare future. This is quite satisfying.


One Response to “Sacrifice: how much is too much?”

  1. […] Sacrifice: how much is too much? […]

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