“I can’t do this anymore!” I screamed at my husband. It was the day after Christmas and the tree lights shone brightly in our living room. Bacon was cooking on the stove, happily crackling in its pan. “People are just so disrespectful and I am just DONE!” My husband patiently listened as I ranted loudly for another 15 minutes about my day working at the hospital.

I have been a nurse for three years and currently work at an urban hospital in downtown Orlando. The days are long and tiring, filled with starting IVs, hanging antibiotics, giving pain medication, listening to patients, and many, many cups of coffee. Some days are rewarding and I truly feel like I make a difference in someone’s life: one day a sweet nana gave me a hug and thanked me for the job I was doing. It was the first time I had been thanked in what felt like weeks, and tears hung in my eyes. While other days, when I am cussed at, kicked, and even spit on, are downright disheartening. This December day was one of them.

Her hand had come out of nowhere. It cut just across the chilly air like a knife as she hurled insults at me. She told me I was a terrible nurse. She told me that I was incompetent. She demanded her way, and to get it, attempted to slap me. A mixture of shock and incredulity spread across my face as triumph danced on hers. I left her room to call the security officer and tears burned my eyes. I was done: done with being insulted, being treated as a servant, and being a punching bag for someone else’s frustrations. I needed a change: in scenery, in patient population, even in career path. I had to do something else.

As a young millennial, I have always been told that I can do anything I set my mind to. Astronaut, professional ballerina, journalist: but at times the options seemed too broad. The possibilities of the world lay above me as fruit on a tree and all I needed to do was pick. But how to pick when everything looked ripe and good?

The longer I lingered in the unknown space of choices and indecisiveness, the more I felt lost. I grew in bitterness of the season I was in. I grew in frustration. Perhaps the most encompassing was fear. It festered and multiplied by the lies I told myself: I would fail if I tried something new; I would be humiliated; I would have to go back in embarrassment to the place I left. I stayed stuck in this perpetual motion of fear of change, fear of the unknown, and fear of defeat. The longer I stayed stuck, the more anxious I grew as I realized that the fear had to be overcome or it would be all-consuming.

After a few weeks, I signed up for the GRE and applied to graduate school. Was this my dream? Was this the direction that I saw my life heading in? Was this my passion? I didn’t know, but I had to keep moving forward. I had to keep pushing to find my dream.

We were meant to push forward, to dream, and to soar. Our hearts were not meant to remain stagnant, for stagnation leads to despair. To pursue something, anything, despite our fear, gives us room to grow into what we are called to be. Change opens new doors for opportunities that mold us and shape us. These opportunities help us find our dreams. And when we find that dream, we can be people who help mold and shape our communities for the better.