Thursday, October 28th, 2021

P Shopper Columns


My occupational endeavors have always been somewhat unconventional. I love writing fiction, and I'm deeply passionate about animal rescue, but neither of these are particularly stable or traditional career goals. This has made choosing a vocation difficult. Financial stability is, after all, regrettably tangled up in the affair of chasing dreams. After much consideration, I secured a new job in January and began working as an animal care technician at a humane society in Virginia.

The decision to commit to an unusual path has been difficult, and perceiving other's incredulity over my decisions has only further diminished my confidence. I've been plagued by questions regarding my every intention for the future, my most recent endeavor included. Within my first week at the humane society, I was being asked questions like, "So, what do you want your real career to be?" and, "You don't want to be scooping poop for the rest of your life, do you?" In the face of these dubious inquiries, there is one thing that bolsters my resolve. A shelter is a physically and emotionally demanding environment, but the work is fulfilling and meaningful. My favorite part of the day is helping potential adopters meet the animals. Dogs and cats with physical or behavioral quirks are frequently passed over in favor of puppies, kittens, and generally more adoptable candidates. I recently watched a woman cry as she fell in love with one such overlooked dog. After being in the shelter for about two months, someone had finally given him a chance, and ultimately, a home. Being a part of the rehoming process and caring for forsaken creatures- this is where I feel like I belong.

We all have unique gifts,
and are each suited to unique lifestyles.
What matters is feeling good in your heart
about what you're pursuing.

Pursuing passions can be difficult, but worthwhile things are never easy. It's important to take the matter of your financial future seriously, and it's important to attempt to plan out your major goals. But what if, despite your best efforts, you can't seem to settle on a plan? If you're being discouraged from wanting something different, or for not having all the answers, let me tell you something I was not told. It's okay. It's okay to not know what you want. It's okay to find your career more slowly than others, or to have a job that's not conventional. We all have unique gifts, and are each suited to unique lifestyles. What matters is feeling good in your heart about what you're pursuing. I don't know where I'll be in 10 years, or where my path is supposed to take me, but I'm okay with that now. I think about the future, but I am also secure in my present: I'm proud of where I am, because what I do is so much more than scooping poop. I am not taking a traditional path. I am taking my path, and no one else's. I urge you to do the same. Decisions about the future shouldn't be taken lightly, but when it comes to choosing your path, you should never be governed by anyone's desires or heart but your own.

Breonna Loxley is an animal care technician at an animal shelter. She is an avid artist, writer, and animal-lover. She lives with her parents, a younger brother, two cats, and one dog.