11 January 2007

It Feels Like the Tip of Your Nose

This happens at every turning of the year: I start to freak out that I'm not living to my fullest potential, that I'm making a mess of my life and thus of my children's lives, that I'm not following my bliss enough, that I'm getting deeper into a rut that will become harder to get out as I get older. It's stupid and fruitless to worry that maybe I should have studied harder in school, or that I should have majored in Economics or Chemistry, or that I should have gone to Carnegie Mellon instead of Smith, or that I should have applied to nursing school after graduation like I wanted to, or that I should have been more disciplined about fiction writing in college. I should have slayed the dragon when he showed up on my porch, and it's no excuse that my knife wasn't sharp enough. I should keep my knives sharper. It never ends.

So here I am focusing on the fact that I don't love what I do for a paycheck, and there's not any real future in it. But the reality is our finances are structured in such a way that I need to bring home a pay check or we could lose our house and I couldn't put food on the table. Ideally my work for pay would be something I love. But the things I love don't pay very much, or they require that I quit my job to get a piece of paper to prove I'm worthy of doing what I love, or I shy away from them because people whose opinions I respect have discouraged me from pursuing the knowledge. It's really a combination of all of the above, except I probably wouldn't have to quit my job if I were to pursue what I really ,truly, honestly love.

Let's revisit nursing school for a sec, because it was so close to what I really want to do. I get a little defensive when I think about the fact that I never finished, and why I don't regret not finishing. I started nursing school with the idea that I would eventually become a nurse-midwife. Then I fell in love with psych nursing at the same time I fell out of love with being a CNM or L and D nurse. Did I really want to be a nurse? Yes and no. Going to nursing school seemed like a great idea at the time, and I think I would have made a damn good psych nurse, but it's not totally what I want to do.

I've been entertaining going to graduate school in psychology or to teach biology. Do I really want to be a psychologist or a teacher? Yes and no. And I'd probably be pretty good at either, too. But again, it's not the whole vocational enchilada.

I have a BA in Religion and Biblical Literature. I've entertained the notion of going to divinity school to be a pastoral counselor or a minister. Do I really want to be a minister? Abso-freakin-lutely not. Pastoral counselor, perhaps, but...

When I think about it without worrying about what other people would think, and without worrying about whether I'd make money, or any of the other insecurities I can conjure, I really want to be, and have wanted to be for many years, a midwife. Not a nurse-midwife, but a traditional midwife who comes to your house, and helps you give birth to your baby, who counsels you, consoles you, teaches you about your body and your baby and your family. A teacher, a nurse (in the traditional sense), a counselor, and a little bit of a minister. It's a totally illogical endeavor with regard to money and certification, but when I see myself doing what I love, I see myself catching babies and teaching women how to find their cervices, among other things, too many to list here. Maybe another post.

In reality, I will finish my game, and I'll teach the dog how to walk on a leash, and I may even start running. Those are easy goals. But the resolution I should have made was to stop worrying about what other people think of how I should follow my bliss (to quote a bumper sticker commonly found on Subarus around here), and to go ahead and follow it. Why is that so hard? One thing that scares me that I won't get the approval from people whose approval I've sought in the past, namely my mainstream, academically decorated mom and practical in all matters future and money father. Primo may say, "why don't you become a teacher?" but he'll get why, and if he won't he'll still be supportive in his own way. He's a little like my dad. Others may say, "why don't you go back to nursing school?" Because it's not what I wholly want to be. My approval-seeking has lead to point-proving in the past, which does nothing beneficial for me.

I should do it before I'm talked out of it again (by myself or other people).

What feels like the tip of your nose?

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