I refuse to accept that I can’t take two classes and write a blog without killing myself in the process.

The quote above is from a recent article I posted. Regular readers know I’ve been struggling with time management and generally feeling overwhelmed. I’ve been trying to balance college classes, blog writing, some volunteer work I do at church, and most recently I’ve added to the list career/freelance writing. It wasn’t working out. I was failing on all fronts. My grades at school were plummeting, I had to cut back on the number of blog posts I do each week, and I reduced the number of hours I’ve been volunteering. None of that mattered. Despite making changes to all the above, everything was going sour. I needed relief.

Within the past week I had an appointment with my pdoc and my therapist and talked extensively about the matter. At both appointments I discussed the same subject and both appointments we came to the same conclusion. On Wednesday I withdrew from school. It was a difficult decision to make.

My goal has been to get a Masters of Divinity degree so I could be a chaplain at a hospital or hospice. Typically, that would entail six or more years of school if you are going full time. I have been going part time…really part time. And by part time I mean only one or two classes a semester part time. Being fifty years old means I’d be lucky to graduate by my late sixties.

Wasn’t being a chaplain a dream of mine? Absolutely. But, sometimes you have to change or modify your dreams. Sometimes you want to change your dreams. I had to and wanted to at the same time. First, I had to. Given the amount of time it was going to take, it was somewhat unreasonable. Some of you may be thinking, “Who cares how long it takes and how old you’ll be? If that’s your dream, you should continue.” True, but I wanted to change my dream as well. If there’s one thing this blog has taught me it’s that I have a passion for writing. More passion than I had for being a chaplain. More passion than all the other dreams I’ve had in my life. This is one passion I’ve had for as long as I can remember, but never felt I was good enough. I realize now that isn’t necessarily true. Hell, even if I never sell another short story, or a novel, or a magazine article. Even if I can’t even give any of that away – I’ll always have this blog. And that’s my new job.

As my therapist pointed out a couple of weeks ago, writing brings out the best in me. He pointed out that when I’ve taken semesters off in the past, I made blogging my job. I structured my time and got the job done and felt a great amount of satisfaction doing so. Since I can’t work in the “real world,” this job is perfect for me and provides me the structure I need.

I still don’t plan to post more than three times a week. That number works for me. Hell, I don’t know how I’m going to structure my time. Maybe post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday? We’ll see. Posting three times a week allows me the freedom for more creative writing and that’s very important to me.

On Wednesday, when I went to discuss this with my school advisor, I was trembling. It was such a huge decision to make, but the minute I made the final decision, and filled out the paperwork, it was like a refreshing wave washing over me. That wave was Relief.

So, now I have started on a new path and I feel no fear or hesitation. I’m buckled in and ready to enjoy the ride. I hope you’ll come along.

19 comments on Relief

  1. Hi Bradley. I’m sorry you had to give up your dream of being a chaplain. However, you are a fine writer and you help so many of us. Although you aren’t reaching out spiritually in your blog you are reaching your readers in many ways. You are ministering to your readers concerning mental, physical and emotional issues. Thanks for keeping on. I’m glad you are going to be around for a long time.

  2. what a big choice to make, and also a scary one. it is scary to change directions, it is scary to give up something, and it is scary to dedicate yourself to something new. brava!

    1. It was a big choice, kat, but not nearly as scary as I anticipated. I think now I knew the right decision all along

  3. Hi Bradley…. My first thought is that you might not be continuing with your dream of being a chaplain, but you are still ministering to many people through your writing….

    1. I agree, Cat, it is a form of ministry for sure. Occasionally I’ll get a private message via my contact form thanking me for making a difference. They’re usually from family members of those with bipolar and they thank me for helping them understand. It always reminds me that I’m on the right track.

  4. When God calls us, we do not always fully understand how He/She wants us to fill that call. I attended seminary, twice. Both times I had to quit. I now believe that I am doing a ministry by blogging. We minister to others daily, even if it means simply smiling and complementing someone. In those acts, we love. In loving, we do God’s work. You have a vocation. You are doing that vocation. You do it well. God bless you. Thank you.

    1. First, Kitt, a big hug to you. I love it when someone says “vocation” rather than “Occupation.” I agree we both are doing good deeds here and I’m happy about it.

      1. Anyone who felt called to go to seminary to become a chaplain knows the difference between occupation and vocation. I used the word purposefully, and I realized you would recognize that. We are kindred spirits in that respect. I get it.

  5. I agree with journeyupward, Kat, and Kitt. You’ve found your ministry and you clearly have a vocation.

  6. Afternoon Bradley, you know it really is true when one door closes another one opens.
    We can only do what is right for us at the time and right now it’s not working for you. I’m glad you have made peace with yourself as we punish ourselves enough, agree? I hug you and wish you well with whatever you choose to do. Paula xxxx

  7. I relate to what you shared here as one who struggles with managing time in the most productive way (even when I have more of it, it seems to pass even more quickly for some reason or I waste it far more, ugh!)

    Like you, blogging has enlightened me tremendously to just how passionate I am about writing. I am a musician also, and trying to balance all these things, along with leading worship at a house of prayer and working part-time, can be quite a challenge. On top of that, I’ve been contributing to a friend’s book, but this has even more fueled my hunger to write like never before. One of these days, I hope to have time to finish some of my own projects: Two books of poetry, and perhaps something in another genre as well.

    Thank you for sharing this glimpse into your life, it inspires me to keep pursuing my passion for writing even when challenges arise!

    1. Wow, you do have quite the schedule. I’m impressed you are able to manage it. Thank you for stopping by my blog, it is much appreciated.

  8. I had to give up a career in freelance writing when I had my breakdown and was diagnosed bipolar. I was writing for ten different publications and having the time of my life. I certainly understand the feelings you have about “giving up”. I’ve worked hard to rebuild my life and I’ve just started writing about it at I hope the blog can replace the freelance writing in life satisfaction. I’m glad to see that blogging is your way of helping people. I hope it can be mine, too.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Julie. I’m sorry you had to give up your career, it is difficult. I hope you find blogging as rewarding as I do. It feels like its been a lifesaver at times. I look forward to visiting your blog.

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