Have you ever spent countless hours, weeks, months even years striving so hard to accomplish something, struggling to get to a certain place you thought you needed to be or wanted to be in life, just to wake up one day and ask yourself “what am I doing?” ” Do I even want to do this anymore?” “Who am I?” “Am I even happy doing this?”
I have, I am at this very moment! I have worked in the medical field for 29 Yrs. primarily in geriatrics. I fell in love with caring for others all those years ago. Helping people who no longer could do daily tasks for themselves, helping them recover from illness or surgeries. I loved spending time with them, listening to stories they shared about their lives, their families, their careers etc. There is so much wisdom to be gained from our elderly population. I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world.
Over the years, I have watched healthcare change, some things for the better, others for worse. Priorities have changed, dynamics of care have changed. Throughout years of working in healthcare, I have seen money become priority over quality of care, more simply put.. Money over people. Advocating for my patients being my top priority only to be disappointed by the importance of the almighty dollar, a growing endless battle. I grew tired, my hope diminished. I felt what I thought was my purpose fade away.
So here I am today, I am in my mid forties and I woke up and said to myself, “Am I still happy doing what I am doing?” “Do I want to do this anymore?” I have gone through many changes the last few years. I still carry a love for geriatrics and always will. It has become very obvious to me that its time for change. I can’t help but wonder, “when did this happen?” “why the sudden need for something new?” “Who am I?”
Looking back I realize, it didn’t JUST happen, it has been happening for awhile. I have been so wrapped up in caring for everyone else and what they want, that it became part of who I was and I forgot the me part of what makes me who I am. Sounds confusing, maybe even a little selfish. It isn’t meant to, it is meant to shed some light on the fact that often times we give so much of ourselves to others or other things, like jobs, careers etc. That we lose ourselves in there.
I ask myself, “self, if you could do anything you wanted to at this very moment, something you love, what would you do?” ” WHO do you want to be?” Who knew this would pose as such a difficult question to answer?
I jokingly tell people it wasn’t until now that I am in forties, that I finally grew up. My priorities have changed, my passions have changed, my wants and opinions regarding everyday things have changed. I now define success completely different than in my younger years.
Mid -life crisis maybe? Well I might entertain the possibility, except things that have changed in my life are all positive and blessings I am incredibly grateful for so No, mid- life crisis for me. Back to square one, what is wrong with me?
Nothing, there is nothing at all wrong with me. I am just at a point in my life that I have slowed down enough and have so many positives in place and so many negatives that have been lifted from me, that I have time and ability to find myself again. I am coming at life, differently. I am trying things I never had time for before. Contemplating new possibilities, entertaining new challenges. I no longer freeze in that feeling of fear, the unknown. I take it one step at a time, one adventure, each situation. I breathe then exhale and move forward. I learn things to do and things not to do. I make mistakes and improve because of them. If it doesn’t bring me joy I don’t do them. If people don’t add to my peace and happiness, I distance myself. I make mistakes and grow from them. I remind myself to take note of how I treat others during these times and situations. There is nothing wrong with me, I was just lost while finding me.
I am just learning to find myself again after being lost to life’s demands, after getting lost in the hustle and bustle of each day. If you think about it many of us live life as if we were hamsters on one of those wheels chasing “the American dream” what ever that is for whomever. Thinking we have to reach some threshold to be crowned successful. We go around and round the wheel. Get up in the morning, get ourselves, Kids, husbands, partners, whoever ready for work and school. Get through our work day the best we can, come home, cook dinner, kids, homework, baths, bedtime routine. Try our best to grab a few hours sleep to get up and do it all over again. The monotonous routine of life aka “the hamster wheel”. We create expectations for not only ourselves but others. We don’t dare put ourselves in a position of being outdone by someone else and we shun others if they are different. Where is the passion and excitement for life? Where is the time to stop and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us everywhere we turn, and in all people? Where is the joy in the journey? Who do we think we are.
Life is short, shorter for some than others. I for one, don’t want to miss out on anything. I don’t want to be so wrapped up in the “round and round” that I let all of the precious gifts we are presented with daily pass me by. Stay with me follow me here…..
Finding myself, it wasn’t some task on a checklist I could just set out to conquer and cross out upon completion. Not at all my friends. Finding myself, learning to be in love with myself again took many many failures, losses, start overs, dreams, ideas, discussions with in myself in my mind, even arguments with God. My point is what I learned while going through all of these things trying to figure out why I felt so lost…was because I was desperately looking for the answer in the wrong way and in the wrong places. I wasn’t asking myself all the right questions.
I am not lost any more. Did I find myself? I did indeed, partly….. I believe that we are constantly growing and changing into “who” we are meant to be all awhile traveling through this thing called life. What I learned is, that journey is unique to each individual. Some find who they are in their success career wise, some reach this point after they retire, some at a time in their life that they endure tragedy, others know from very early on. Some base it on appearances, physical or daily life, the amount of material things they acquire, some in the size of their bank account.
Myself, I was looking for something deeper. I wanted to find, revive, grow the ME that makes me WHO I am. I wanted to redefine how I see the world through these eyes. I wanted to change how I face the day and the challenges placed in front of me. I desperately wanted to find the me that determined what choices I make, how I treat others, how I handle anger, loss and even victories. Sometimes people go through their entire lives and leave this earth without a single person knowing what they were all about. Some just take the time to scratch the surface, some interpret someone in a totally different context than is reality. Some, more than I care to admit, just don’t care period.
I figured out that all the times I insincerely prayed asking God to grant me things, help me get out of situations I put myself into, asking him to save me, feeling like he never answered me. I learned that when you truly ask him from your heart, he answers. The question is are you really listening? Are you ready to hear him? When I asked from my heart, admitting I was tired of doing it all my way and thinking I could handle my life that way I wanted… he answered. No, it wasn’t just a definitive answer.. he continues to guide me each day. We talk. I tell him the things that are important to me, things I want people to feel when they cross my path, the things they are left with from knowing me. I ask him to help me be graceful, forgiving, loving without condition. I plead with him to go easy on me, my journey has been so tiring but assure him I trust his plan, ESPECIALLY when I don’t understand.
That is the moment I believe I knew I was ready. This is the moment I believe he knew I was for real. The moment he knew I trusted in what ever plan he has for me. I never was much for allowing anyone to have the last say or decision in what or where my life was going. He knew when I cried out to him to please work in me and send me where I was needed and send me the person I needed, to help me become the person he wanted me to be, that I was listening and ready to hear his message. Don’t make the mistake of thinking just because I asked God to guide me and use me as he intended that I don’t make decisions of my own… we all do. He just expects us to ask him and trust in him. His way is so much more rewarding.
Why did I bring God into this? I am sure someone reading this is asking. It is because it is when I finally was able to see the forest through the trees if you will. It is when I understood. It is when I found me again. It is only now that I trust in him and feed my relationship with God that I am able to grow and become that person I choose to be. I will spend every moment until my last breath trying to be a better person today than I was yesterday.
A woman of grace, of forgiveness when deep offenses occur, to have an open heart and love when others do not. A woman who is kind to those most cruel. A woman who encourages and lifts up those who insult others, because I see their pain and their struggle. A woman who grew from her own struggles in order to be a woman that is a beacon of light for those in constant darkness, feeling hopeless of finding their way out. A woman who sees past ones mistakes to focus on their potential and help them celebrate their triumphs. A woman that finds happiness in simplicity. A woman who sees beauty in everything. A woman that God creates me to be. This is success for me, this is the ME I am striving to be.
I can’t become this woman, I can’t be ME without him. For without God I would stay lost trying to find my way for all eternity.