I grew up writing every day. Not until a thought travels down a neuropathic network into the fingertips and out does it truly find fruition. It’s my catch and release. If I don’t get thoughts or ideas out; they ruminate, grow, expand and take over until there is gridlock. Wine is pretty good at erasing most of them but too much wine is rarely a good thing. (Take note: I said RARELY. Not never.)
I cut back my hours at work to invest in the things that matter most to me last year – my family, my dogs, my friends, my home and even myself. Don’t get me wrong. I love what I do. I find great peace and joy in being a nurse, especially an emergency room nurse. I love helping patients. It’s important we all recognize our strengths and nursing is mine. It keeps me thinking; it connects all the dots for me. It gives me strength and reminds me of all the little things we tend to overlook — like what a miracle life is in the first place and how everything can change so quickly that we don’t even see it coming. I enjoy making people feel better and if we can’t get them better, at least we can bring them comfort.
It’s a demanding job. I don’t half-ass things. When I am at work, I am giving 100%. There is no autopilot. There is no “taking it easy” for the day. I work with amazing people and we all care about our patients. We may beat our head against the wall after caring for a few but it’s because we care that we are so frustrated. If we didn’t care, they wouldn’t matter. They do. A strong team is self-supportive. We feed off of each other’s energy and we give it back. It’s a reciprocal collaboration.
When the team is broken and there is no energy left to give, it’s time to seek another source for replenishment. We lost a significant part of our team and we lost them all at once. We lost the cornerstones and cheerleaders. We lost the people we count on most to hold us up when we are too tired to stand on our own. We lost our strongest leaders. With each exit, the void grew. It’s not that the replacements aren’t good nurses themselves, it’s that it takes a little bit of time to build a connection like that and we were pummeled.
So I cut back. I rebalanced my equation. I invested in the parts of my life that have a guaranteed return. It was an odd transition and not always joyful. Letting go of something that has always been such a giant part of me was a little bit alienating. I realized that I didn’t really know how to be myself without it and there were moments of, “Oh my God. Who AM I?” (Thank goodness I still work often enough to circumvent most of those moments.)
It’s also come with moments so full of pure joy and happiness that I can’t believe I didn’t do this a very long time ago. The other side of my brain is waking up. I want to create. I want to write. I want to grow things. I want to be alive. I want to taste new foods and see new places. I remember why I married that cute boy I met 20 years ago. I want to gaze at the stars and watch every beautiful sunset from beginning to end. I want to wonder about things and then go explore them. I want to feel connected to that energy we all call by different names. And it’s happening. Each day has new purpose. I’m waking up. I’m remembering how to be me. I feel present for conversations that were taking place all around me that I never noticed before. I watched my mostly non-verbal 3 year old nephew with Down’s Syndrome communicate all day with a dog that would usually rather hang out with other dogs than humans. They have their own language and it was amazing to watch. It gave me goosebumps and I’m so glad I didn’t miss it.
So I’m tuning up my blog in hopes to stretch a little more of that goodness out of myself. The more I write, the less stagnated my mind feels and the more alive I feel. It takes practice to sustain a good flow of thoughts and I am not a bestselling author to be sure. I am rusty. So bear with me while I practice, practice and practice. I think there are some pretty amazing ideas stuck in this head. It’s just a matter of bringing them to life.