Saturday, February 22, 2014

So, what did you want to be when you grew up?

People often ask me, as I am halfway through a mid-life career change to nursing, if I wanted to be a nurse when I was a kid.

The answer is yes, but that's not the whole answer. Truth is, I wanted to be a ballerina, a nurse, a member of the French Resistance, a mom, a teacher, a famous detective, and a chef. Among other things. Like most kids,  what I 'wanted to be' when I 'grew up' changed often. I did think about nursing more than some things, but only because my entire concept of the profession was informed by the Cherry Ames and Sue Barton series of novels, which I devoured between 6th and 9th grades. By the time I was 18 and figuring out my major, however, you couldn't have paid me to go into a nursing program because a) math, b) science, and c) a significant 'ick factor' related to bodily fluids.

And in truth, once I was in college, and then in the working world, I didn't think again about nursing as a career until I was, oh, 39 years old. At that age, I'd just completed 6 months of treatment for breast cancer, and had been in the care of some really awesome nurses, and it occurred to me that, "hey, maybe...."

But I told myself that, no, it was too late to switch careers, and besides, I actually liked what I was already doing.

And then my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer when I was 43, and died when I was 45, and his hospice nurse was just so caring and fantastic. But still, I told myself that I wasn't a 'change careers in mid-life' sort of gal.

And then came my brief tenure in NYC. Honestly, after the first 6 months, I really didn't enjoy my time in NYC, except for one thing: my weekly gig as a hospice volunteer. And that was where it happened - where suddenly, the question of 'would nursing have been the right path for me when I got out of high school, oh well, too late now' became 'I must go back to school and get my RN.'

And so here I am. In nursing school, approximately 300 days from graduation, and loving every minute of it, even when I'm so stressed out by the course load that I'm breaking out in hives. I cannot wait to be an actual nurse. When I'm with a patient, either as a hospice volunteer or on clinicals for school, I feel like I am in 'the zone.' I feel like I am where I am supposed to be, and all is right with the world.

Do I regret not doing this sooner? No. I think perhaps I wasn't ready until that moment that I absolutely knew that I had to push forward toward this new career. But I'm so glad I didn't wait a moment longer. Not just because I'll be 50 right after I graduate, but because I cannot wait to start doing this work. This meaningful, amazing work.

Thoughts on social media, bubbling to the surface...

I was not an 'early adopter of either Facebook or Twitter. But once I did join both of those services, I enjoyed them for a good long while. My approach to both evolved over time, but the enjoyment didn't diminish.

Until last year, that is.

Twitter was the first to go, last summer. And then, over Christmas break, I began to lose my taste for Facebook. I decided to take a break. Well. I'm the administrator on a group page, so I can't really take a 'full' break, but I took a break from posting on my own page, and endeavored to ignore my newsfeed as much as possible. A week into that, I realized how liberating that felt.

And then, I slowly started to untag myself from posts, remove photos, scale back the various 'about' sections, and, bit by bit, I deleted every post I'd ever made, from 2008 until the present.

And then I started culling my 'friends' list. At first I felt bad about that, but I realized, hey. Life is short. And while I wish it were otherwise, there are folks in this world who add more complication or pain or frustration or even simply a complete lack of communication to one's life than any of the positive things they might add. And these days? Well, I believe in focusing on what's good and true and honest and edifying, and if someone balances out to be a lot less of that, and a lot more of what's negative, I don't have time for that on social media. Offline may or may not be another story, but as far as social media goes, I need for it to cause less agita and to provide more enjoyment.

I'm still not posting over on Facebook, except for the page where I'm an admin. And I probably won't post more than one or two updates between now and the end of the semester. And I don't even miss it. It's been great. I didn't actually expect that. I thought I'd miss it more, but I think I'm starting to mull it all over and question my former approaches to it, and to start to formulate the approach I want to take going forward, when I end this 'Facebook fast'. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The passage of (a lot of ) time

The crazy thing about semesters, especially semesters chock full of mind-numbingly demanding coursework, is that they seem both to drag on endlessly, and to fly by at the speed of light. I swear, it was just August a few days ago. And now it’s almost the end of my winter break and the start of a new semester. 

Over the last semester, I jotted down a lot of ideas for blog posts, and have some of them partly written (er…typed) out, so I’m hoping to start getting them up here soon. Before the deluge of nursing courses and clinicals and the ever-present threat of near emotional breakdowns begin in earnest. Haha.