The timing couldn’t have been more ironic. I’d just landed my dream job. I was about to take on the role of ‘User Research Lead’ within the Scottish Government, working with an incredible team who, like me, were driven by a passion to make Scotland better. Life, however, had other plans.
On my first day I was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer and I never made it through the front door.
📷 author’s own
Over the following year I was provided with incredible support, from my colleagues, the organisation and, above all, my line manager.
Through regular meetings and conversations I was constantly inspired by their incredible passion and care for people. I’d finally found my ‘tribe’.
As time went on and my health started to improve, I had many conversations with my medical team about my return to work. These, however, were always met with a look of concern…concern that I wouldn’t manage the two hour commute, concern that I wouldn’t manage the stress, concern that my brain function wasn’t what it used to be, concern that my health would suffer…concern that I wasn’t making the right choice.
I struggled with this. My fierce independence and stubbornness often led me to believe that I had to prove that I was still capable and that, one day, I’d be walking through the doors and starting my career as a civil servant.
As time passed, however, I started to appreciate these concerns and understand that I was no longer the same person who had applied for the role. Not only had the capacity of my body and mind completely changed but so had my spirit and, with it, my priorities.
I had a few more heartening and honest discussions and then I made a final decision – the decision to leave my job.
This was not an easy choice by any means. Not only was I leaving a career path I’d dedicated my life to but, on a more practical level, I’d been the higher earner in our household and now we would be shifting to life on one wage.
However, my instinct guided me to this decision and, surprisingly, I felt no worry or concern about the outcome. It just felt right.
It’s odd to me really. I mean, I’d spent my whole career chasing the illusive societal view of ‘success’. I had a PhD by the young age of 26 – an endeavour that cost me the freedom of my 20s! Following this I took on several national research roles, each requiring hours of daily commuting and limited time with my husband. As for a social life, it was practically non existent! I was far too busy expanding my knowledge with extra courses in hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and so on! To say I was driven would be an understatement!
Yet, when I was making the choice about my job I realised that my priorities had changed. My decision was in no way swayed by status or money or what people would think. Instead I was overwhelmed by the realisation that, above all, I wanted to spend the rest of my life improving the lives of others in whatever capacity that might be.
I also began to recognise and accept a life long desire to write a book and I realised that, were I to have died my biggest regret would have been not becoming an author.
This realisation was key in my decision to challenge this societal standard that suggests ‘success’ means employment and instead to prepare myself for the unknown (and possibly terrifying) path of un/self employment.
A meaningful life is not being rich, being popular, being highly educated or being perfect…it is about being real, being humble, being strong and being able to share ourselves and touch the lives of others ~ unknown
At first I thought I might be ‘wasting’ my education and PhD but then I began to recognise that this skill, alongside my personal experience as a cancer survivor, could only serve my future endeavours.
It is for this reason that I have decided to utilise my personal and professional experience to write a book that (hopefully) inspires others – not just those with cancer, but also those supporting a loved one with cancer to seek a deeper, more fulfilling and healthy life!
I also want to embrace my passion of public speaking and supporting others on a one to one basis.
Today is officially my last day of employment. Tomorrow I start a new chapter.
I don’t know what 2017 has in store for me but I do know that wherever it takes me I will embrace it with all of my heart and spirit.
I’m ready for the next adventure. I hope Life is ready for me!
Bring it on!
Love and light, Fi xx
You can read more about Fi Munro on her website and public Facebook page.
She is also on twitter, instagram and youtube.
© FKMunro.com 2017