"Far from what I once was, but not yet what I'm going to be..."
Sometimes when I finally stop to take a moment at where I'm at, I look back and am amazed at what's behind me and where I am. Sometimes that amazement is a good thing and other times it leaves a heaviness in my heart.
Both can accurately be said when I stop and look back at several steps behind me. When I look back to a couple years ago, I'm amazed at where I am and who I have become. There have been some huge hurdles and tribulations to say the least. Events that I never imagined would happen to me have left me stunned and weakened, and blessings I couldn't fathom have blossomed from piles of ruins. Lessons have been learned, my heart has been shattered, and I am all the stronger for it. On the other hand, I look back with sadness at those times because of the "jaded scars" they have left behind on my soul.
When I look back to a year ago, I feel triumphant (and scared) that I am finally chasing dreams. Goals are no longer being talked about, they are IN THE MAKING! For awhile I doubted I would ever actually be doing and not just talking about. I also feel sadness as the amount of hope and faith I had at that time was so strong, stronger than it is now oddly enough (I hate admitting that).
When I look back to right before I started this program, I look back in longing. I have been headed down a slow path of losing sights of small bits and pieces of myself.
Little did I know that in chasing my dream of becoming a nurse, sacrifices of my heart and identity would have to be made.
"It's a means to an end" my mother has always said and I've always hated that quote. Because when one believes in that line, one can also dangerously fall into a trap of always being in the mean, searching for the end, and can sacrifice the journey and happiness of that journey along the way.
Nursing school has been intense. I think the accelerated program was a great choice, and horrible all at the same time. One year folks. That's not that long right?! 15 weeks. Meh that's nothing right?! Wrong. That's the amount of time it took me for finally dive into losing a good grip of balance and of my identity. That 15 weeks of pure sacrifice, where nothing but nursing school was all that existed, were enough to throw me into a tailspin. One I'm finally just realizing that I've been in.
What makes me tick?! What makes me thrive?! Social interaction. Though I might be a little shy at times, and a tidge socially awkward, I thrive on relationship. I thrive on positivity, humor, happiness, welcoming souls. I find so much beauty in this world, and in the small things. The joy and hope and faith that can be found were so vital to me. Love, the most important of all. Kindness.
I found that when I left working with my preschoolers to dive into the "real world" and working at Denver Health I left behind a huge part of myself. You see, kids just naturally are so vibrant and joyful. It's time and heartaches that jade that away from people. Naturally adults are lackluster in these arenas, a great majority of the time.
That's ok though. Your attitude is what makes an experience. Usually. So I threw my heart and soul, and dug from the depths, and made work a great place to be. Because gosh darnit! If you can make others laugh and smile, and really care about them, it comes back to you. Though I admittedly found I have not been fed into in the same equalities I give to others.
One of my biggest strengths and weaknesses is my caregivers heart and always giving of myself to others. It's a weakness when my own well is not being given into.
Nursing school only intensified that. Thrown into an intense program that is so rigid and serious and all-consuming, with people who know very little about me, and unable to form very many deep quality relationships, I found that after awhile, not being able to do the things I enjoy or are my respite became a huge sacrifice.
Now here I sit. After two weeks of giving nursing school the middle finger and socializing with friends, family, and throwing myself back into my "life", I find myself realizing that I dived off the deep end of sacrifice and it left me feeling so empty.
I'm still mad. Super mad actually that I'm only halfway done with a program that consumes all my energy and time. I want to be OUT in the world, with friends, experiencing life! Sure my dream of becoming a nurse is important and is my passion (that after one awful clinical experience I am relearning all the reasons I wanted to be a nurse again), it's not everything.
There are much more important things! God, family, friends, relationships, happiness, love. Being a nurse won't define me, rather it will be an outward extension of part of my heart. I think I'm just mad right now that it's being made to define me. This year is defined as "the year of nursing school". Ick.
With that being said, I'm doing a lot of soul searching. I'm reigniting and relearning what it is that's deep inside me, what makes me who I am, and what makes me tick. Funny I was able to forget that huh?!
Here's what I've discovered.
My relationship with God is so important and needs more focus. Faith is something I need to start working on again. I had SO much faith, where did it go?! I'm quickly remembering how much faith my kiddos had in me, when did I lose faith in my God? And losing that faith has translated into a lot of doubt of myself.
Relationships. God I love relationship with others. What the hell is the point in living if you don't have people you love and care about and that know you beside you?! Here's to remembering to spend quality time with those that have gone by the wayside.
Passion, happiness, optimism, joy. I lost a lot of those and I definitely feel it. I could find joy in anything, and while I still do, it's not the same degree or intensity. Damnit, I want my emotions to be all-consuming and intense again!
Humor. It's just way too damn important to laugh your way through life. Really there's just no other way. Not to mention those who are happy and laugh live longer :-)
Love. This is such a deep area. I shut myself off to loving others, romantically. One blind date later and I realized just how much I had shut myself off to that. While I've always believed in fairy tales and true love and "happily ever after", I literally doubted God would even want or plan that for my life and in doing so, also shut myself off from taking risks. Risks that I used to take willy nilly! How can I possibly find love if I don't take risks. Duh. I might get hurt. We lose 100% of the risks we don't take. So here's to taking risks again! (Slowly and more mindfully of course).
And I will freely admit, I'm a sucker for romance. I might put on a tough bravado but romance...have always fantasized about being "swept off my feet". Well here's to hoping it might actually one day happen ;-)
So here's to me. I'm far from who I used to be, in both good ways and bad. I'm not yet who I'm going to be, and that's ok. But here's to strapping on my boots, realizing that this is just another part of the beautiful journey that God has laid out before me, and I'm stepping forward. While this is probably the gazillionth time God has thrown this lesson my way, I'm still gonna take it as a learning experience, that I might eventually peg down! So here's back to getting to myself, and to rediscovering myself, and rediscovering the beautiful parts of life, even with the bad and ugly.
Gosh it feels good to take a deep breath again and leap.