Today I Made New Mistakes

30 Sep

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As of midnight tonight, October 1, 2014, I am no longer a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

That era of my life has passed, the social work era, my early 20s, my first career, my first love. It all seems wrapped up in one jumble of wrong decisions and the slow, painful process of learning how to make the right ones.

It all seems wrapped up in Seattle Grace.

This year I finally, finally dropped Grey’s Anatomy from my TV schedule.

I’ve been a devoted Grey’s fan for going on a decade now, blocking out Thursday nights for MerDer, sticking with it through the ups, the downs, the Aprils.  I’ve watched the show go from must-see-change-my-life-TV to what it is now, a Denny Duquette ghost of its past, barely recognizable, limping along on nostalgia and shock deaths.

And I’ve stuck with it.

I have freaking stuck. with. it.

You don’t give up on something after you’ve put this much effort into it!  Not after 225 hours you don’t!

I’ve labored through season after season, grimacing a little more each episode, clinging a little harder to the good times, the 8-year-ago-times. And it wasn’t until recently that I realized my ridiculous relationship with Grey’s Anatomy sums up one of the great problems in my life:

I hold on to things for what they once were to me not for what they currently are to me.

Luke, the little econ major, refers to these things as sunk costs.  They are things I invested in in my past, things I cannot get back and therefore shouldn’t enter my analysis when making future decisions.

The example he uses is a fourth year med student who decides they don’t want to be a doctor.  This student shouldn’t finish their last year of medical school just because they’re already so far in.

I shouldn’t finish the final season of Grey’s simply because I gave it a decade of my life.

Or so the theory goes.

It’s hard for me to comprehend this, though.  Shouldn’t I dutifully renew my social work license every two years, slogging through hours and hours of CEUs, paying hundreds of dollars, hating every second of it, because I once decided to be a social worker?

Shouldn’t it mean something that I once gave five years of my life to this career?

“Sunk cost,” Luke says.

He says this to me often.

When I stare at relationships or traditions or things I’ve spent my time and money on, but no longer help my life.

“Sunk cost,” he says.

It’s refreshing, really.  He, so good at seeing life simply, at letting go of things that hurt.  Me so terribly, tragically bad at both.

But learning.

Snailing along, hinting at learning.

Today I got up and went for a walk on the beach.  I ate an extra large bowl of oatmeal and read some of my favorite Harry Potter book.  I worked on my novel and curled my hair and told my boyfriend, my kind, wonderful, nothing-like-what-I-ever-imagined-for-myself boyfriend I love him.

Today I am no longer a social worker.  My DVR will not record Grey’s Anatomy.  I am no longer 20 years old.

The mistakes I’m making are new mistakes.

What a revelation this is!  For so long I only made the same mistakes over and over again.  I hurt in the same ways.  I refused to let the past go, dreading it up for what it once was to me.  Dredging it up because it can’t have all meant nothing!

All of that time, that effort, that pain had to have meant something!

And yet.

Today I made new mistakes.

Today I made new mistakes.

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8 Responses to “Today I Made New Mistakes”

  1. Dollie October 1, 2014 at 5:32 am #

    Absolutely loved this post. I too held onto Grey’s Anatomy (a million other shows too) and relationships for what they were rather than seeing what they are now.

  2. Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage October 3, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    It’s a good lesson to learn! I too have been in that place, that relationship at some point, and then look back on it with regret. Though I try not to regret and just look forward. Good luck on the new mistakes 🙂

  3. Amanda-Living in Another Language October 3, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

    Jillian,

    Absolutely loved this post! I got my bachelor’s degree in Social work! Am I doing anything with it? Absolutely not. Do I regret toiling in college for 4 years of not doing anything with it? Yes. Do I hate my life and look back and regret the decisions I’ve made to get me to where I am? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

    I’m excited to see what life has for you!

  4. Rebekah November 2, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

    oh I so understand this post. I got my bachelors and masters in social work and about halfway thru my degree I realized I didn’t really want to be in this field anymore. I have no idea what I want to do next but I definitely don’t believe in continuing on if the love is gone.

    • jillianlorraine November 2, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

      Ex social workers unite!

  5. Denise- A Life Less Traveled November 3, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    Replace social work with teaching and I can completely relate. I taught for 6 years and I’m 2 years out and it feels so good.

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