Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. I have the world’s best job as a professional organizer. But I want to tell you about that time I did quit.
Back before kids, I got certified as an Emergency Medical Technician. EMTs ride in the ambulance and provide first responder care. I studied a full semester of study to get certified. Being a part of my local fire company in my small NJ town was like having another family, and then it was the same after transferring to Pennsylvania.
Staying active as a volunteer EMT required taking one night shift a week at the local fire house. We attended drills and company meetings every Monday. It also required a boatload of continuing education credits each year, which meant an additional shift of training nearly every week. That’s three shifts a week!
Six years and two kids later, those midnight shifts weren’t fun anymore, no matter how awesome the crew was. I hated to throw away the investment in my training and my community, and I hated to give up those sexy uniforms and boxy black shoes. (Sorry, I don’t have one picture!) But my EMT gig didn’t have to be a forever choice.
Volunteering on the ambulance was something I did, not something I was.
I had to make peace with that.
A year after my second daughter was born, I resigned from my local fire company. That was the year that my book was published. I had a lot going on.
Last year I made the decision to let my certification expire, and I felt like a weight had been lifted.
I’m sharing this story because it’s a simple story of organizing time. Someone told me recently that you can’t find time. You can’t manage time.
But you can manage focus.
It’s ok to give up an activity from another season in your life, even if it was something that you spent a lot of energy, time and money on in the past. There are new experiences to enjoy, if you make time for them.
You can grasp a new opportunity if your hands are unclenched, but not if you are still clenching your old life.
Even though I gave up my involvement in the healthcare industry, I am taking care of my own health by making decisions about where I spend my time, even if that means quitting.
I want to extend my thanks to all the first responders who might read this. I was truly honored to be part of your ranks for a while, and I completely appreciate your service, whether paid or volunteer. If you know of a young person just getting started as an EMT who needs a set of these (cuff and scope), please let me know.
This is still part of the 31 Days of Clutter-Free Living series. Did you ever think about organizing time just like you organize your junk drawer?
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