Sometimes I ask myself why I write this blog. It’s often uncomfortable for me to write about my own life. It feels great to receive positive feedback from readers who find the articles relatable, but publishing articles about my private life often makes me feel over-exposed. So why do I put myself out there in such a public way? I guess I like writing and reflecting, but – like everyone else – I also care about what people think of me and my decisions.
Which makes this admission difficult: I dropped out of massage school. Surprised you, didn’t I? Frankly, I surprised myself.
Even though the courses were challenging, it wasn’t that the program was too hard for me. (I earned high marks on all my first term classes.) I didn’t run out of money. It wasn’t too stressful. I liked being a student and I found some of the stuff I was learning really interesting … I just didn’t want it badly enough.
At the onset of my studies, I said that I was studying massage therapy because I was interested in learning more about the body and developing a hands-on skill, and that I may or may not go into a career as an RMT. I quickly realized, however, that this is not a program you take for mere interest-sake. You have to really, really want to have a career as a massage therapist. It’s way too intense, time-consuming, and expensive ($30,000) to do it ‘for fun’.
The program wasn’t a good fit for me. There was no way I was ever going to give 20-25 massages per week as an RMT. I thought my interest in the human body and in promoting health and healing people was enough to make me want to touch people for a living, but it wasn’t! It’s not that I’m averse to touching people, it’s just that I would usually rather do something else. Like watch other people demonstrate their massage skills. Or read a book. Or write something. Or have a discussion. Or pretty much anything other than palpate my partner’s Rectus Femoris or practice ‘fine vibrations’ or ‘muscle stripping’ on said partner.
It’s possible that if I had stayed in the program, I would have gained confidence and grown to like massaging people. But it wasn’t a gamble I was willing to take. You see, by saying ‘yes’ to continuing the massage therapy program, I would have to say ‘no’ to several other important things – free time to be the wife, friend and family member I want to be, any remaining momentum in my school career, earning an income over the next 16 months, and $20,000 in remaining tuition payments. To sacrifice all that on the seemingly slim chance I would want to work as a massage therapist when I graduate seemed unwise and even irresponsible.
My husband, Chris, gently voiced his concern that massage may not be a suitable career choice for me when I initially expressed interest in it. (Of course, he went on to support me fully and unconditionally when I decided to go for it anyway.) It turned out that he knew me better than I knew myself in this regard, but I needed to find out for myself.
So no, I don’t regret any of it. It wasn’t an impulsive choice. I first requested an information packet from a massage school back in 2012, so massage therapy had been percolating in my mind for a long time. I fulfilled my curiosity so I won’t always wonder ‘What if..?’. I gained a lot of knowledge that will benefit me in life and in any future yoga instruction that I give. I now have some Swedish massage skills that I can use as a hobby and to treat my husband, friends and family members who request a free massage. I have been enriched by the experience and am grateful for it.
And no, withdrawing from massage school does not mean that Chris and I are packing up and moving back to Manitoba! We love Victoria and I can’t wait to find out what opportunities Vancouver Island has for us on its horizon.
Have you ever intentionally turned back from a goal you set for yourself? I would be interested in hearing your experience. Did you regret it later, or was it a wise decision?
Thanks for reading!