And as for what I’m going to do now? Well firstly, I’m going to slow. . .down. . .and then, I’m going to do a whole lot of nothing. Or as close to nothing as one can do when you’re a wife and mother. There’ll probably a bottle of wine and straw involved. . .
I have been spending quite a bit of time writing about the goings on that make up the bulk of how I spend my days. I haven’t talked much about nursing school, and that’s been for good reason. I’m not in nursing school any more.
For those of you who know me well, you probably already heard this story, but for those of you who don’t, let me tell you. This is an abbreviated version, but all the facts are true and recalled to the best of my recollection.
What is comes down to is that I didn’t want to be a nurse. It was never my dream. It was more like something I thought I could do and be good at. I have never doubted my abilities when it comes to trying new things. Want to learn a new language? Why not. Want to try a new instrument? Hand it over. Want to try grad school? Absolutely. See, some folks thought my leaving school was because I couldn’t handle the clinicals. Sure, no one wants to wipe senior citizen ass, but you do it because it’s part of the curriculum and it’s part of being a nurse. Did I want to wipe ass and give sponge baths? Nope, not really. Did I wipe ass and give sponge baths. Yes, I did and I was very good at it, too (toot, toot! beep, beep!).
It was never a question of can I or can’t I do it. I can do anything. It was whether I wanted to do it. When you have a passion for something, it doesn’t matter the peaks and valleys you cross to get there. Whatever your goal is, you are so passionate about it, you can’t see yourself separated from that goal. That goal is who you are, what you know. It’s what you eat, sleep, and breathe. It’s what makes you say, “I have always wanted to be XYZ. I have always known that I am supposed to do XYZ.”
So how did I get here? How did I learn the difference between capability and desire as motivating forces? Let’s start at the beginning. When I was pregnant with Co, I had some fantastic pre-natal nurses at my OB’s office. They were smart, efficient and personable women that had a great camaraderie in this practice. I thought, “That looks pretty cool. I could do this.” I talked to some several of the nurses throughout my pregnancy, culling information about how they had gotten into the field. One in particular woman, Lecia, said that she had been an investment banker before deciding that at age 35, that she wanted to be a nurse. At the time, she was married and had two small children. Still, she went back to school and became a nurse. I thought, “Oh, I could totally do that!”
So from there, I started the process of visiting schools, collecting transcripts, fulfilling pre-requisites, and submitting applications. Throughout my education, teachers always wrote on my report cards that I was a great student, but that I needed to slow down and stop rushing. That is advice that I have had a hard time following and my foray into nursing school was no exception. I see that I completely jumped into the whole thing without fully knowing what I was getting into.
In any event, I went through my pre-requisites, I agonized over A&P, as I’m sure you recall. I found that I still enjoyed being in school. I liked being a student, learning something, talking it over with my peers. I made it through first and second semester and submitted my nursing school application. I got in last spring and opted to take the summer off to have one last family filled summer before giving myself over to two years continuous years of school.
School started and I threw myself into it the way I always do. I completely removed myself from all forms of social interaction. School became all consuming. The grading system in nursing school is pretty brutal. Anything less than a 70% is a failing grade. A 94% is the low end of an A-. My grades, of course, were spot on. I have always been the type that bellyaches about how I totally didn’t study for a test, how I’m going to absolutely fail it, blah, blah, blah. Then I get 105 points on an exam. Yeah, this time was no exception either.
I was a little more way through the semester when three things happened:
1. I had just taken an exam that I went into feeling as though I would do alright. I came out of it thinking, “I completely jacked that test up– and not in a good way.” I left the lecture hall and just thought, “You know what? I don’t even care. I just don’t care.” I had called a friend who is about to graduate nursing school this winter and we commiserated on how stressful our lives had become. She said how she had wanted to quit school every single day the past two years, but “[I] have never wanted anything more badly than to be a nurse.” Hmmmm. I chewed on that the rest of the night, but knew full well that I just didn’t feel the same way.
2. That same week, my instructor, now keenly aware of my school related neuroses, pulls me aside and says, “I graded your exam. You got a 100 out of 105.” Okay. . . . . I mean, seriously, I said, “Okay,” as though he said, “Your shoe’s untied.”
3. That week-end, I went to bed around 10pm and woke up at 1:00am. My mind was cycling at top speed and my stomach was doing a slow, roiling burn. I sat down on the couch in a sleep deprived daze. I started to put some pieces together about school, my attitude, my emotions, my place in the world, and how I saw myself.
And here’s where the Aha! moment kicked in — I didn’t want to be a nurse. There it was. It was like this stone I had been carrying in my stomach and I finally coughed it up. I’m not going to say the clouds parted, the Hallelujah chorus kicked in and angels appeared from on high, because that totally didn’t happen. What happened was, in that moment, I grew up.
When they say growing up is hard to do, they ain’t never lied! What followed from that moment was a number of discussions with God, with myself, with DH about what to do next. Was I really going to walk away? Was I going to stick out the rest of the semester? Was I just needing a break from the stress? What am I going to do next? See, school has always been the one thing I could call myself good at. I’m a marginal dancer, I can kinda-sorta play some sports. I know enough French to get through an afternoon if I ever find myself in Paris (one can hope, right?). But school was where I was the master. To walk away from it? Could I really do that? Yes, I could. So, I did.
I wish it was as easy as I’m making it sound, but this is an abridged version of events and I’ve got to rouse the troops. There’s not much more to tell, anyway. And to answer the question, “What did DH say?” — DH is/was/has been/will continue to be supportive of me, though I think it’s because he subscribes to the “Happy Wife, Happy Life,” theory of relationships (kidding, kidding).