Welcome to the first post in my journal series! As you will discover when reading, I am embarking on a new phase in my life. While I love this practice, it is time to move on, and I am blessed to have the support of Dr. Schlesinger (Larry) and the team. While I do not yet know where life will take me, I am embracing the unknown, and sharing my journey with you here on our blog. I hope you enjoy reading!—Jenna
Every journey begins with a first step. Mine was telling my boss of eight years that I was ready to move on with my life.
What he said next was the last thing I expected to hear: “You should join the Army.”
Awkward silence. I’m at a loss. And then I think, what in the hell is he thinking? And then I’m worried—did he have a stroke and forget who he was talking to?
Joining the Army is Larry’s first thought and suggestion to me as we are having the difficult conversation about me moving on. I think it’s like when dog owners assume that everyone else on the planet loves dogs. Larry was in the Army for ten years before getting out and becoming a plastic surgeon. From the stories he’s shared, I can tell it was one of the most exhilarating and rewarding experiences of his life. So I suppose it’s not unreasonable for him to want me to experience that too.
I am what can only be described as the work-wife. At least, that’s what Larry’s IRL wife calls me. Together, Larry and I have built one of the most prestigious and successful plastic surgery practices in Hawaii. I manage the practice and keep the pipeline flowing with patients and he performs excellent surgery. It’s been a symbiotic relationship for over 8 years.
So when I decided it was time for me to move on, while I knew he would be supportive, I surely was not expecting him to suggest that I join the armed forces. Facepalm.
In truth, I’m not exactly sure what I want to do with my life. I love the work I do with Larry and find it extremely gratifying, but I honestly live for when it’s time to go home and take my bra off.
The definition of a hippie (especially in the 1960s): a person of unconventional appearance, typically having long hair, associated with a subculture involving a rejection of conventional values and the taking of hallucinogenic drugs.
OK, so maybe my hair is only long because of the tape-in extensions. And perhaps the closest thing to hallucinogenic drugs I’ve ever done is twice the recommended dosage of Benadryl and something I may have swallowed while drunk at my BFF’s bachelorette party. But I’ve always fancied myself kind of a closet hippie.
I say “closet” because I can’t exactly be a full-on hippie IRL. At 31, social norms dictate that I present myself as a put-together professional. And having my shit together is a definite requirement for my job. Clients come to see us because some perceived physical flaw nips at their insecurities. As the authority on beauty (and how this translates into self-esteem), I empathize, listen to wants and needs, and recommend a surgical (or sometimes non-surgical) care plan that best suits a client’s goals and budget. My favorite part of the job is seeing the change in patients after surgery. I’m not referring to any physical change; I mean the lifestyle change that occurs after surgery when patients no longer feel burdened by what’s been holding them back, and they can finally feel free to live their best lives. I love what I do; it’s meaningful and I’m excellent at it.
But still, I long for 5 o’clock to come. I can’t wait to take off the makeup, the dress, and various push-up and suck-in things, the high heels. I stare out my office window and envision I’m tightrope walking between the high-rises or cliff-jumping into the ocean in the distance.
My intent is to find a way to mesh these two seemingly mutually exclusive worlds. As I journey, I’ll share stories of my life of social graces, composure, wealth and materialism and the people that have made it hilarious, interesting and worthwhile. I’ll muse about the times when I adventured so hard, I found myself unrecognizable, sunburned, caked in dried dirt and missing a toenail. I’m hoping that in the end, maybe I’ll find that they’re not so different after all.