Today was one of those oddly surreal days...do YOU ever stop and pause in your life and ask yourself, "How did I get here?" I'm not talking concretely "how did I get here" as in where I am standing in that moment...but "How did I get here?" at this current space, this current place in time? What if my life experiences had been different, where might I be finding myself instead? I know...maybe too "deep" of a post for a Thursday morning, but it IS what is on my mind! LOL
As I stood today amidst the chaos and craziness of a patient's family dynamics, I found myself drifting in and out of thought, wondering why I was standing in this stranger's living room trying to sort out the current mental health crisis that was falling apart around me. I began to wonder why I ever chose to do the type of work I do...I began to wonder what "path" I took that has gotten me to where I am today...I began to ponder how my life might have been different had I turned left instead of right during my life's journey.
When I was in junior high and high school, my life's ambition was to become an English teacher and also teach Phys. Ed...I also wanted to become a writer. I played basketball in college and, although too short to matter much, I was fast and methodical and dreamed of playing basketball for a living...there weren't any women's professional basketball teams that I knew of at the time, so my thinking was more of a "pipe dream". Somewhere along the way to an English degree, I changed course abruptly and went into nursing. In nursing school, I chose my focus profession, which was psychiatric nursing. I have been practicing in the psychiatric field for the past 21 years. Today, I am an officer of the court, doing psychiatric evaluations for commitment and also crisis outreach in my community...I do this while riding the ebbing and flowing tide of Multiple Sclerosis.
Certainly my profession has shaped and also jaded my outlook on life...I deal with life and death every day...this tends to have a huge impact upon one's psyche. I also deal with the unspeakable, the bizarre, the unusual, and the deviant of society...I have trouble "relating" sometimes at parties because I have no work humor I can share and my life is quite different than someone with two kids, the mortgage, a dog, and teaching school (or any other profession, for that matter). I live in a constant world of silence about what I do for a living and the people I interact with that I call "patients"...most people have no concept for what I do in my job (and most don't want to!), nor can they relate to the things I've seen.
Today is just ending as one of those days where I let myself wonder: How might my life had been different if I HAD become an English teacher, if I DID have two kids and a dog, if I DID write for a living, or if I had NEVER seen or experienced the things I see and do on a regular basis in my work? How might my life have been different if I had never been diagnosed with MS?
Purely speculation, I know, but sometimes taking this look can bring deeper appreciations as well as other choices in life. How might YOUR life have been different if?... Care to share in the comment section?...