Well, sadly, I must admit I’m at the age when it may or may not be acceptable to have a mid-life crisis. I’ve reached the age, I feel like I’ve got life pretty much figured out. Life is pretty routine. We’ve met the adult right’s to passage: marriage, full-time jobs, kids, mortgage, etc.
So, a mid-life crisis is acceptable now, right? Well, I don’t know about acceptable, but its been an ongoing conversation between myself and my husband. The “mid-life crisis” we talk about isn’t the typical. No, we don’t talk about getting a divorce and marrying younger spouses or buying that fancy sports car or even plastic surgery to look younger.
Our mid-life has us evaluating the difference we are making in the world. Are we really making an impact on it or are we just living day to day? How does our job help with that?
Part of my re-evaluation had to do with my job. Working for the “man” and making a big company wealthy and seeing very little of the wealth trickle down to its employees who do the work, isn’t what I want. I don’t want to be a disconnected voice at the end of the telephone receiving the verbal abuse from dissatisfied individuals. I don’t want that anymore. That change isn’t BIG enough for this mid-life crisis.
I think my mid-life crisis started 2.5 years ago when I enrolled for nurse practitioner school. We had to write an essay which included an explanation why we wanted to be a NP. I simply said I wanted to give back and provide quality care to some of the most needing individuals. That essay, I believe started my re-evaluation of my goals and what I wanted to accomplish.
And so, here I am, in my mid-life crisis looking for ways for our career, our life-work to mean more than making someone rich or an accumulation of things. I want to feel like what I do, means something. That this little God-given life is used for a GREATER good.
Currently, I’m processing what this looks like. I’ve got questions to ponder. How and what beyond my recent education and career change, can I do to make the world a better place. What have you done? What should I consider? Where do I go from here.
As I’m working through my mid-life crisis, I may came back here to write about it. If I do, assuming I do, I’ll start it as a series. But feel free to comment and let me know what your non-typical mid-life crisis looked like.
My kids like to play the game, would you rather. Its a simple game where one person asks would rather A or B. For example, one of the questions yesterday was, “Would you rather eat boiled snake or fried frog legs?” Its a silly game and it occupies them.
As I sit on this hot Friday morning, drinking my smoothie and considering what we are going to do today, my mind wanders. I promised the kids an adventure today. And seriously, the only thing I can think of is going to Target. And that I want coffee. But I’m feeling lazy so my coffee is still in ground form sitting in its k-cup waiting on hot water. I need to come up with something other than Target. Because if I don’t, the kids will grow-up with a misunderstanding of the word “adventure” and (probably more likely) stop believing me when I say we are going on an adventure.
My mind has taken me to the thought, which I frequently go to when I’m bored with the mundane of modern society, of living off the grid and off the land. You see, I have the crazy romanticized thought that living off the land would be great. The sense of hard work and purpose guiding everyday. No noise from the electronic age replacing conversation. No pressure of being good enough or feelings of parenting failure. Because, seriously, surviving trumps all thoughts.
I have this desire of being self-sufficient and not needing to go to the grocery store. Growing all my food, hunting, chopping wood for a fire. Everyone sitting around in the evening and enjoying each others company. It kind-of sounds like a life-long extreme camping trip.
Then I’m pulled back into reality by the thought of no toilet, predators, and the reality that I’m too “soft” to really live that life. I have no idea how to really hunt or “clean” an animal safely to eat. I’ve gotten to use to my over-priced coffee, leggings, and air conditioning. But, its good for a day dream.
And now, I need to find some sort of an adventure for my kids to go on.
My question to you is, have you ever thought of living a simpler life? Living off the land or maybe something different? When you get lost in your thoughts, where do you go?
I’d love to hear from you.
Its been a while since I’ve written an Embrace entry. Its also been a while since I’ve blogged regularly. Life has a way to pull and push us along. The constant pulling and pushing and pulling and pushing can help us lose track of time. And before we know it, its 1 month, 2 months or a whole year later.
Part of my pulling and pushing the last two years has been my education. I’m a huge fan of higher education. Not just college level to get more credentials behind a name, but really life-long learning. After all, some of the smartest and most interesting people are not officially college educated. Rather, they are people who take the time to learn about the things that interest them. They spend a lot of time reading. And they spend time talking to people who share the same opinions as them. And more important, they spend time talking with (not at) people who share different opinions.
I have been to college 3 times now. First to earn my RN, then a MSN and now finally my APRN. Each time has been had its own struggles. As a newly graduated 18 year-old my main struggle was me. I struggled with becoming a responsible adult. I obtained my MSN on a whim. Now looking back I think it was a way to be distracted from the fact we were not getting pregnant. I struggled then with balancing work, life and school. I struggled with an obsession to only get A’s (which I did). Now, as an older student (almost 40), I’ve obtained my APRN. I struggled with managing kids, work, school and a social life. I also had to accept I wasn’t going to get all A’s and that’s OK.
You see, despite the struggles in the end its 100% worth. it I’ve come out with a degree and some added life skills. I’ve gained a sense of accomplishment knowing I after all that hard work and sacrifices, I did it. You see, I accomplished something I set out to do. This confidence is only gained from setting a high goal and achieving it.
Too often I hear people say, they want to get a degree or attend a seminar but they just can’t find a way to make it work. I get it, in some circumstances, it really is an almost impossibility (note ALMOST). I know the struggle. I know how daunting and exhausting it can be to think about it. I know the challenges of adding one more thing into an already jam packed schedule. I also know first-hand how it feels to be working full-time and running the kids everywhere. I know the struggle of attempting to string a few sentences together on a few hours a sleep that sound intelligent.
But what I want to say to you. The overworked, tired and stressed out in a going-nowhere (or at least nowhere you want to be) job, you can do it. Embrace a bit of exhaustion and stress. Embrace the chaos. Embrace the education and accept the responsibility of learning. You can do it. If you want it, you will do it. You see, its 100% manageable. Maybe not always pretty, but its manageable.
If the college route isn’t for you. Continue to learn about the world. Read and explore your library. Find something that interests you and learn about it. Life-learning can make the mundane seem less so. It can open up new doors and new friendships.
Explore what you want in life. Then take that first leap of faith. Know you can do it. I’m here to tell you, IF I can DO IT, YOU can too. Embrace education.
So this year has been beyond crazy and stressful. It’s also been an amazing year of growth for me. This year will be know as the year I tested myself and pursued a dream. It will also be know as the year of death and sadness.
In the spring, Joe, my father passed away. It was such an odd emotional experience for me. I and my father had a strained relationship to say the least. We spoke minimally and only when it revolved around my mom’s care. I was saddened because of the loss of a relationship that will never be. I was sad because, part of me, really wanted resolution to some of our issues. I knew our relationship would never be close and he would never be in my children’s lives. But I wanted to feel like if we saw each other in public or at an event, we’d acknowledge each other. That was now never going to happen. I also found myself very angry. I was angry when people told me he was a wonderful man.
Approximately two months after his passing, I started a nurse practitioner program. The decision to pursue my NP has been one I’ve wrestled with for a while. I prayed about it, and ultimately decided it was a good time to go back. The summer classes were killer, Advance Pathophysiology and Healthcare Statistics. This second semester has been much better. I have my MSN so I had some ideas on how this would play out, but seriously, there’s a reason people do this when they’re younger!
Then basically 5 months to the date, my mom died. I was surprised. I and my mom were close. We talked weekly and I managed all of her medical needs. I arranged everything for her. She was living in a nursing home and had been on hospice 5 years ago. Her health had been good for the most part. But cognitively she wasn’t there. Even though it had been a few years since she recognized me as her daughter, she always knew I and my children were important to her. Despite feeling like my mom had left years ago, I was still very emotional about my loss. Even now, months after she’s been gone, I find myself wishing she was here. I’m not sure that will ever go away.
Since the death of my mom, I’ve also had the death of an aunt on my father’s side and a dear friend from nursing school. So, as you can see this year has been a challenging one. I, however, view life as a chance to grow and learn. I know I could easily look at this and dwell on all the stress and problems. However, I refuse to do this. I will stay positive and focus on the amazing things going on in my life.
It’s funny how life changes. In college back when I was twenty-something, we had to make goals. 1, 5, & 10 year goals. To be honest, I have no idea exactly what I put on my goals. I am certain where I am now is not where I thought I’d be in my my twenties. Not that where I am or where I thought I’d be is bad. It’s just, different.
In my twenties, I thought by now professionally I’d be someone important. I envisioned me running a hospital, I seriously wanted to be the nurse making the BIG decisions. I was undecided about children but given my career thoughts, raising children wasn’t really on my radar. Being married was though. I also imagined a well-traveled woman would be looking back at me in the mirror. I was also 100% certain I’d have a large house that included a pool. I was after all someone important professionally.
Go back a few years into my teens, I envisioned a much different woman. I lived in some remote place that had mountains in the background.I owned about 5 dogs. I was financially sound and didn’t have to work- how in the world that happened, I have no idea. I had no children and no kids. My skin was weathered from spending most of my time on the land and hanging out with my dogs. I pretty much was pioneer woman meets hippie.
Fast forward to today. I’m still in nursing but didn’t climb any ladders. I’ve done just about everything a nurse can do. I’m now working from home and going to school part-time. I have two wonderful children and a pretty great husband. We own a house but it’s modest and (sadly) without a swimming pool. I have traveled in the US and have made one trip abroad.
As you can see, my life is very different from anything I could imagine. Its good and better than I could imagine. I couldn’t imagine being a cooperate person or not having kids. Although, I’d gladly move into the country and have a couple of acres and the pool, I don’t really want to be either of those women I’d imagined in my youth.
There are still hopes and dreams from my youth that I’d love to fulfill. And a few things I’ve added as I’ve gone. So, I’ve decided to publish my bucket list. I may never get to everything on this list and some I’ve checked off. But, if I’m able, these are the things I want to accomplish. I think all imaginary and real forms of myself would be happy with this list.
My Bucket List
1) Live in another state 2) Visit a country that doesn’t speak English
3) Visit a country that does speak English
4) Own land
Obtain an advanced degree- working on my 2nd advanced degree
6) Save a life
8) Complete a marathon
9) Witness the beginning and t
he end of life
10) Become fluent in a second language
General Life Goals (Because these don’t fit on a bucket list):
1) Be a good mom
2) Be a good wife
3) Be a good friend
4) Be compassionate
5) Know when to walk away
6) Know when to stand up
7) Remember there’s more to this life than life
8) Always have integrity
9) Ensure other’s have enough
10) Be generous