I am whole-heartedly convinced that I am going through this right now. I've had both life changing events and periods of time: entering motherhood, moving far away from my family, meaningful and mature commitment, unemployment, and financial hardship are just a few things that I've had the pleasure of handling all at once in the last few years. Each and every one of those aspects are completely different but at the same time so intensely intertwined that it's no wonder I'm changing into this person. I was destined, AM destined, to be this person.
I never knew it was something that I could just decide to call myself one day, but this isn't something I just realized overnight. Since I earned an undergrad degree in Nursing 3 years ago, not being able to find a job as a Registered Nurse has been a huge blow to my ego. Classmates, as well as friends who graduated after me, seem to be finding jobs okay, then there was me continuing to chip away at the old job-hunt mountain. Time and again, I've told myself "that job just wasn't meant for you" or "you're just meant for other things". Defense mechanism, denial, they call those kind of cliche afterthoughts many things. At this point in time, I just see Nursing as something I will try at again someday, but not today (much to the delight of my parents, I'm sure).
Not that I'm complaining. I've been able to stay home with my son for 12 out of his 13 months of life and counting (maternity leave until he was 3 months old, returning to work for a month before we moved when he was 4 months old). Meanwhile, many of my friends who have children close to his age have long since returned to work and perhaps wishing for what I have. I love being home with him every day, don't get me wrong, even on days where I wish motherhood was revocable. (Well, I guess it could be for some, but I'm not one of those women and that's a topic for another blog.)
There are long hours during the day though, even when the 12+ hours that I'm awake seem to fly by. Long hours filled with constant thought; usually, I think about my boy's every move, what we're going to do next, is it time to eat yet, he's probably peed a few times in that diaper by now, and the usual oh my GOD when is Gary coming home. There are a few moments here and there that I can think about other things, though. Hashing out my life in my head, letting my vivid imagination run wild, those sorts of things.
An important event, however uninvolved I actually am from it, happened a few months ago: my home away from home, where I learned everything about being a nursing professional, from 2005 to 2012 is now no longer. All of my old coworkers, who were very much my extended family, are now unemployed. It makes me sad, but also relieved - had Gary not found this job, had we never left San Diego almost a year ago, I would be among them feeling even more depressed about myself. So see, unemployment is not an absolutely terrible thing for me right now. As it turns out, it was going to happen anyway. As a result, it's shown me a different route to take in my life.
It pains me to admit this, that after spending thousands of hours in school and probably an equal amount of time both job searching and being depressed about lack thereof, I am a nurse today because I settled. I am not undermining the profession at ALL because some of these most influential people in my life today are nurses and I would have never met them if I hadn't gone the path I did in my early twenties. But in regard of myself, I settled. At age 19, I had zero idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I mean ZERO. My parents suggested that I try vocational school, that a nursing track might be something I'll like. With a doctor for an uncle and a nurse as his wife (how cliche, right?!), I agreed. I finished a 9 month program, certified as a Nursing Assistant, and landed my first job (the place that closed). From there, despite all the other professional interests I had developed over a 2.5 year period, I decided that I would pursue a degree in Nursing because well, I was almost there and how hard would it be to find a job as a nurse once I graduate with all this experience? Ha!
There are days where I just want to slap past-Me in the face. But like my mother and I have said time and again, there was really no way to know back then just how hard it would be for me to find a job as a nurse. I mean, all those Johnson & Johnson commercials and statistics about how America desperately needs registered nurses, what drug are those creators and overseerers on? Because I want some. Maybe I'm just a disgruntled psuedo-Registered Nurse with astronomical student loans but really, I fell for it and the only person who was paying for it was myself.
I remember one time, when I was probably 7 or 8, stapling some lined paper between two pieces of green construction paper with full intention of writing a story. I don't remember what I wrote on the cover or what exactly I wrote on the first few lines (that's all I got to do, I remember that!), but the intent was there. All throughout high school, I loosely kept a blog and while none of them exist now, all those years of practice have led me to this moment. My mother instilled a passion for reading in me at a young age by taking me to the library to read books written in a very different language from her native Japanese. Now, despite not having much written work to my name, I am brave enough to own that title for myself. I deserve it. I just never knew these small things counted for something.
I'm in the process of writing my first book. Actually, make that 1.5. I think I will keep them as two separate stories as I don't really see a way of them intersecting in my head right now, but I'm not closed off from the idea that these two worlds might exist in the same story. So we'll have to see how they hash themselves out! I am so happy to finally share this with the world. Seriously. The only person who knows is Gary, who has been my cheerleader since we first met as friends. He asks to read my words, gives me ideas and advice, and always encourages me to write. This is probably something I will have to keep to my parents for a while but I have no problem telling an anonymous audience! So thank you for reading my story on becoming a writer and for being a part of the beginning.