Two months ago, I chose to quit my Master's degree. A decision I did not make lightly for it means the end of a chapter. Well, the end of a book. Because quitting my Master's degree means that I am no longer allowed to do the work I've been doing for years now. It means I'm no longer allowed to give sermons in church or work as a chaplain. This means that I went from having a full calendar to an empty one overnight. Which is a strange experience. But in my case a good one, because I chose it myself.
A few days after I made my decision, the title of this article started floating around in my head: an end is also a beginning. For a long time, I have been on this path with this destination of becoming a chaplain. A path I wasn't that excited about anymore. So when this phrase first popped up, it made me curious and excited. Curious to see what an empty calendar would bring me. And excited about the possibilities. For years I have been putting things on a list for later - with later being the time after I finished my Master's degree. But for years I had been looking forward more to those items on my list than actually doing the work to finish my degree. And when I realised that I no longer want to do the job I was training for, I knew it was time to end this chapter and start a new one.
Since I started sharing my decision, I have been getting mixed responses. The people who know me, are happy for me and see why this is the right choice. But others have been expressing fake concern rooted in their misguided ideas of what life should be like: about having a degree to get a job - I have a degree, and I don't need one for a job I don't want, or about my student loans. And then my favourite ones are about doing the Lord's work: about my calling, or the fact that I inspire people with my sermons, or that I'm good at pastoral care. Especially those last two made me think. Because when those things were said to me, it felt like I was being guilt-tripped into changing my decision. It felt like they were trying to tell me that I owe it to the church to use my talent in a certain way.
But the fact that I quit writing sermons or doing pastoral care, doesn't mean that I stop using my talents. I will simply be using them in a different way. To create unique and personal photo sessions for example. Or sharing my stories in this digital space. Or helping creative business owners build a business that aligns with the life they want. Who knows? There are endless possibilities. And that makes me excited for 2023.