It is the New Year…Resolutions abound. I’m going to work out. I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to find the perfect partner. I want to cook more. These are all things I have thought of during this transitional time and many others. Inevitably, I’m defeated by the might of my own goal. I find myself making excuses. Then, I give up.
This year, I am taking a different approach. I’m going to give up the quest for perfection and live today. I’m going to live my life where I am today. Everyday, I’ll do the things I want to do instead of waiting for the perfect tomorrow. For me, this has been a very important decision to make.
I find myself wallowing in self pity because I am not where I think I need to be in order to do things I want to do. I want to sew more but I don’t because I don’t have the skills I need. I want to have a more fashion forward style but I resist because I despise my current shape. I want to cook more but it makes me sad that I have no one to feed. I want to write more about health and fitness but I don’t because I don’t have enough knowledge I presume.
I have a reason why not for every dream. The reason not to is often grounded in the imperfection of who I am today. The realization I have had though is that perfection is a moving goal that is crafted out of doing. If I don’t do, I won’t move the needle any closer.
I have always lived my life waiting. The wait gets longer and I spend that time unhappy. I can’t do that anymore. If there is anything I have learned, it is that life is unpredictable and the moment to live is now. Not later, not 20 pounds lighter or a nursing degree in hand…now is better than then, no matter how imperfect it all seems.
This year, 2018, my commitment is to live my life in the interim. I pledge to make the clothes. I promise to dress daringly. I intend to speak on women’s health passionately. I solemnly swear to live each day as I am.
I love my car but sometimes when I think of the added expenses of owning a car, I cringe. As I type this post, I am standing at the train station on my way to pick up my car from the repair shop. I feel like a parent about to go get a child out of jail. I only have to post bond for said child. In this case, I have to pay $600 to set my car-free. It is about $300 more than I had budgeted when I first took it to the shop for routine maintenance of changing my brakes and oil. Anyway, I have no choice but to pay the money to get my car.
One of the reasons I moved to the Boston area was because it had a robust public transportation system. The MBTA is relatively easy to use and has a good spread. In that sense, I am lucky because I know in most parts of America, a car is not a luxury but a necessity because of bad or non-existent public transportation. I really did not need a car when I first moved to the city. I could hop on and off buses and trains.
A few years in this city though and I yearned for more. So I got a car. My car has allowed me to do things that I never imagined. For one, I was able to change jobs to one that required driving from one city to another to visit clients. In this aspect, my car has been asset. However, sometimes, I get frustrated with the added cost of owning a car.
It starts with the monthly car payment and included random costs like car wash and tolls. The thrice-weekly visits to the gas station. I have even turned buying gas into a game. I am always looking to see what gas prices are everywhere I go. Even though gas is cheap at some places, I don’t like buying gas anywhere. I am always afraid of ruining my engine so I have my trusted places to buy gas. I tend to like buying gas from BJ Gas or Speedway. Both places are cheap and reliable.
Now that I have bought my car for myself, I feel like there are things that I have learned. I am already dreaming of upgrading my car and how to make a better purchase decision. I’ll definitely start with going to more than one dealer to look at cars. I bought the first car that I road tested because I just fell in love with it.
I might complain about my car but it is my baby. I love that Toyota Scion xB because I bought it and it made me feel all grown up.
I’m a big fan of mantras. This morning I have been telling myself good things. To keep moving. To stay the course. To not give up. To fight the fight. To not back down.
I’m stressed out by something that I don’t want to be stressed out about. Money.
I never really understood why people struggle to pay for school until now. I’m in the process of figuring how to pay for school. It is amazing how something that is suppose to be helpful becomes this complicated labyrinth of paperwork that derives you to anger and tears.
Yesterday, I cried to my friend about how I really am exhausted with anxiety of wondering if I would have the right amount of funds to even start school. I felt like delaying. I felt like giving up. She kept reminding me that I want to be a nurse. I really want to be a nurse. And I just need to tolerate this short term pain for my long term gain.
I’m a bit more in fighter mode this morning. I still have some of the anxiety of last night. But this morning, I focusing o the fact that I want this. I want this very much. I want to be a nurse.
I have had days filled with anxiety. An example is when I sign up for an event on where I will be mingling with strangers. For an introvert like me, that is putting myself in a stressful situation and hoping to survive it.
If this is clearly stressful to me, why would I do this? I have had time to think about it and I think it is simple. When I make decision, I consider my best and worst case scenario. If I attend the event, what is the worst case scenario. For me, I’ll arrive at the location, see all this people and start having an anxiety attack. I’ll still summon the courage to go in and stand in a corner while waiting for a random person to say hello to me. After a while, I’ll get scared and bolt out of the room. I’ll tell myself I tried my best.
Under the best case scenario, I’ll wake up feeling fabulous. I will wear my outfit, do my makeup and I’ll ‘ginger’ up some courage. I’ll arrive at the event and be upbeat plus flirty. I’ll stand in the middle of the room and somehow work myself into a conversation with strangers. I’ll make friends and manage to make connections. At the end of the night, I’ll float home knowing that I had done the best I could as an introvert.
The thing is I never know how I’ll feel until I arrive. Some days, I am really good with large groups of people. Other days, my energy level is just too low to actual care. Even though I stress out about going out, on my good days, I come out feeling proud and happy. On my bad days, I pat myself on the back for at least trying.
I have learned to make decisions based on dreams instead of fears. I don’t want to go through so afraid of the worst case that I miss out on the best days. So, even though I am stressing out about an event that is 5 days away, I’ll put on my big girl pants and keep making fearless decisions to show up. Sometimes, showing up is the biggest win of all.
I watched this interview that Jay-Z did with the New York Times and his words just stuck with me. Especially when he confronts his emotions and how that has impacted his life. One the things that is striking in this interview is how openly introspective he appears. It is a rare thing for a black to open up about his emotions to the world.
Something else that my friend pointed out is the way he presents himself to the world. Here is a man who is a considered a legend in the rap world for not just his music but his ability to build a business. Instead of letting his ego be on display by spreading out, he is actually quite contained. Watching him and his mannerism closely gave me a sense that he is comfortable with who his is. That comfort comes across in the way he is able to speak openly about his life and the things he values without being scared of judgement.
There is also the discussion on race which I find to be interesting on two levels. There is the discussion of OJ Simpson and the idea the money does not erase blackness. I related to this on the level of someone who had to realize that my education does not exempt from the racism of being black. Second idea, which I am still ruminating on, is his position that Donald Trump is good for the discourse on racism in America. Alhough, Jay-Z is clear that the discourse is not ideal, I find it hard to understand if the level of trauma with this president can lead to positive change.
I had an epiphany the other day that o had been doing life wrong. Haha! This isn’t one of my crazy life-changing moment. It is just a slight adjustment of outlook.
So, let me explain myself. I have always lived life focusing on the moment. When I was in school, I focused on school. Then after I got out of school, I complained that I was behind all of my classmates, in terms of career and personal life. The thing I realize now though is that when I was stuck on school, they were juggling school, jobs, relationships and other interests.
So, the reason I always feel behind is that I failed to take a strategic outlook on life. Instead of getting stuck on the minutiae of day to day life, I need to keep an eye on the big picture of my life.
This time around as I go through the process of returning back to school, I am focused on now and later. I am really learning to focus on balance. I prioritize my classes but also make sure I keep up with my loved ones. I am also being really proactive about remembering that the end goal is a career and a personal life. The end goal is not a perfect GPA.
I just keep telling me myself, “Live life as it now and plan for it as you want it to be.” Every time I tell myself this, it allows me to prioritize my day better. It helps me understand that those things that I am doing now that seem useless are part of the end goal. It might not make sense for the life I currently live but it is practice for the life I want to live.
Today I went to CPR class at my new school. I am supposed to be starting nursing school in January and I am required to be CPR certified in order to be able to take classes. It was really interesting being in that room because I was sort of in awe. The room was filled with students from my school. Both new, current and alumni attended the class. It was interesting to hear everyone talking about classes and certifications. It took back to when I was just beginning this nursing journey about 2 years ago. Can you believe it was April 2016 when I took the TEAS? Although I ultimately did not get into nursing school then, I have still been taking prerequisite classes.
Before I started my nursing school journey, I had known that I needed a career transition for more than a year. I think I outgrew my job in retail but I was too scared to quit. One, I have 3 degrees already. Two, I was thinking about how I was old. Four, I wanted to achieve other life goals and not be stuck in school. Also, because I am not rich, I figured the best bet was to keep the job and find a new one. I had been applying for other jobs consistently but nothing seems to happen. I kept praying and hoping that something would happen. But nothing seems to happen. The longer I stay in my retail job, the more I realize that the joy was no longer there.
So I decided that I needed to bite the bullet and do a career transition. I had a few criteria for a new career. It had to be people-centered. There had to be prospects for longevity. I also wanted something that had space for me to grow. I did not want to go into a clustered industry and have to throw my elbows around to find a job. I want to be in demand. I also needed a field that was woman and minority friendly. After much thought and consideration, I sent my sister a message it middle of the night: “Nursing?”
This is how I started my career transition from retail to nursing.