03 September, 2010

Lifelong Decisions

Making decisions is never easy. Making a large decision is even harder. Making a decision that could potentially change the course of your entire future is devastatingly scary.

We're staying in Florida to finish some business. We need to handle some things surrounding Adrian's case, and in the meantime we're starting a life here. When and if we decide to go back to California it will be a calculated decision involving homes and hopefully jobs before we get there, and a u-haul, so we don't have to leave everything behind again.

Because of this we've got a beautiful home here in Sanford, Florida. It's a two bedroom, two bath, mostly tile, with a huge kitchen. It's already painted in pale, homey colors, and the fixtures in the home are absolutely beautiful. There's a wonderful screened in porch outside (to keep the mosquitoes away) that overlooks a lake. The pups seems to love it here and we've even got a new tortoise who will live outside on the patio. We have absolutely nothing to put into this beautiful home right now but we're making plans. And the greatest thing about it all is that whatever we put into this home Adrian and I will have purchased and decided on together. I won't be living in a home with things she bought before we got together. It will truly be ours, the entire thing.

Staying here in Florida and deciding to really live here, instead of stay here, has brought up a few things. Right now I've decided not to go to law school. Ultimately I need to go to school in the state I plan on taking the bar in. Now if I were to get my law degree here in Florida I could move back to California and take the bar there, and thus practice there, but I think I'm kind of burnt on the legal system. I see how Adrian's been treated and although I know I would be a different type of lawyer, I'd be working with cutthroat, disgusting people who are only in the profession for the financial security. That's not why I wanted to do law. I wanted to make a difference. And I may still end up getting into government at some time in the future but I don't have to have a law degree to do that.

Right now doing clinical psychology sounds absolutely fantastic to me. I have always wanted to make a difference and I'm not sure I can do that in law anymore. I love things like behavioral therapy and helping people who have OCD that controls their life. I would also love to work with married couples in MFT or children with art, play or music therapy. I feel like I could truly be satisfied there. It excites me.

For this reason I've reevaluated my educational career. I have my Master's Degree now and I'm very proud of myself. But to do clinical psychology I need either a Master's or a Doctorate in Psychology. I'm going to look into things to see if the FAFSA covers a second Master's but I'm not hopeful. I know from personal experience that it doesn't cover a second Bachelor's so I'm thinking they won't cover it for the same reasons. Now, with my medical condition I may be able to try to spin it that I can't do law anymore and then it would cover a second degree. But I don't know how difficult that would be or even if they would accept my proposal. If I can't get a second Master's degree covered by FAFSA then I'm looking into getting my Doctorate in general psychology so that I can get licensed to practice. This is a huge decision.

I don't want to wait indefinitely to start school. If I decide to do this I will be putting in my application at University of Central Florida (UCF) by February. Should I get accepted school starts in August. Here's where the decision comes in - if I start at UCF I want to finish at UCF. This is a five year program. So not only am I making the decision to potentially get my Doctorate, I'm also making the decision to stay in Florida for at least five years.

Suzi and I have talked about doing this together. Honestly, that's one of the biggest reasons I'm even considering my Doctorate. I don't know that I could do it all by myself - the idea of a doctoral thesis has always terrified me. But doing it alongside of one of my best friends would give me a sense of support and motivation. Suzi and I have talked about opening our own practice. Should we get our Doctorate's together and decide to go into business together then I'm staying in Florida.... for a lot longer than five years. Florida would become my new home. And that is an even bigger decision.

I have family and most of my friends in California. Moving to Florida does not mean that I'll never see them again. If anything, working in my own business and being able to potentially make $100+ an hour, I'd be able to visit whenever I wanted. This is a complete 180 from what I ever thought I'd do. I'm a California girl. I fully expected to live, raise a family, and die in California. When I moved to Florida I hated it - which only made me feel like I should be in California more. Then I moved here to the Orlando area and Sanford/Lake Mary. It's absolutely beautiful, about 10-15 degrees cooler, and it's just "homey."

I could actually see living here. I could see raising children here. There are a lot of benefits to Florida. The biggest negative is being so far from my core family and friends. It's scary but I have to do what's best for me and my life - of course I'm not 100% sure what that is right now.

If I decide to do this I have to make the decision soon. If I'm going to do this I need to start getting letters of recommendation for my application to UCF. There's no guarantee that I'll get into UCF so if I really want to do this then I need to make sure my application is amazing. The application deadline is in February which is five months from now, but that's not really that long in the grand scheme of things. So my pros/cons list starts. Family versus career. More of a possibility to buy a home here. There's a Florida Child College fund here - which would be great when we decide to have children. But holiday's would be very different from what I'm used to and what I love. Sure I'd make new friends, and keep my old ones, but that is even a bit scary for me.

Florida versus California. What is truly the best option for me, for us, for our future? This is the grand decision I'm in the midst of right now.

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