Saturday, August 22, 2009

Was your life something you chose or did it choose you?

I really believe that my life wasn’t exactly my idea. I have asked many young people, including my nieces and nephews, over the years what do you plan to do with your life and most all of them at one time said, “I don’t know” but then several years down the road they moved in more of a structured direction, thank God.

I probably would have felt the same way if mom wouldn’t have started her brainwashing very early in my life. She insisted that I was going to be a nurse. I got a book about a famous nurse or a nurse’s kit for just about every gift getting occasion while growing up. I didn’t read any of those books, I just stored them under my bed. It probably would have helped me in my nursing philosophy class in graduated school if I had.

Nursing was really mom’s dream, not mine. Her grandmother, who raised her, told her she wasn’t going to be a nurse because it was a dirty profession. She resented that decision and decided that I would fulfill that dream for her. It wasn’t that I had any more potential than my two other sisters, it was that I was the easiest to manipulate. It took me a good while to recognize that.

When I got to college, which is something else both my mom and dad insisted on for their kids, I was asked what I wanted for my major. The word nursing came out. I looked around to see who said that and it was me! I guess the brainwashing worked.

Thanks mom. Nursing turned out to be a pretty good career choice. And there are so many different career choices within nursing. I’ve tried on many and wore them for a while. You can always find something that you like and never get bored. Every time I changed career paths, there was something blocking one direction and something else kicking me down another.

I am currently working as a nurse practitioner, in a corrections setting, providing the health care to 1200-1300 inmates. It takes all that I have learned, from all my other career experiences, to adequately fulfill this responsibility. Besides being a tremendous challenge, there’s never a dull moment with this job.

The life that chose me didn’t offer any children either but I got my procreation needs met throughout my nursing career. Teaching nursing for 23 years, and now taking care of inmates has more than met that need. I often tell the people I work with that I feel like I’m raising a huge bunch of teenagers because most of the people we have in jail seem to be stuck in their adolescence. I don’t think they chose their lives either, at least they swear they didn’t. They just “caught that charge”.

PS. It's so weird the synchronicity that goes on every day. As I was finishing this little post I checked in on a blog that I follow every day. It's Craig Crawford's Trailmix, a political blog. http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/trailmix/ I can't get through a day without checking in there. I saw Craig on MSNBC one day. At the time, he seemed to be the only person I heard on the news who made any sense. I looked him up to thank him and I ran into his blog. I've been addicted to it ever since.

One of our blog members is Lard. Lardass Liberal is his handle on the blog. I didn't know it but he is also a journalist. He was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and has started his own blog to share his experience, http://seanholton.wordpress.com/ Isn't it interesting, that at a time when the country is involved in a serious discussion on health care, that this journalist gets brain cancer and has to examine the health care system from the inside out. I don't think he actually chose his life either.

50 comments:

Chloe said...

Wow, Carol, that last paragraph was eye opening. I don't think our lives are given to us, because I believe in free will. I have to believe in it, because to me, it's everything. I mean obviously, we don't come into the world with that control, we're given that childhood part of our life, but if we handle it right, we take the wheel later on.

I feel sorry for you, if those inmates are like teenagers. What a nightmare! Teenagers, once they reach 16 or so, can't be described any other way. Parents lose control of them then, and those young adults develop and an attitude, and are never the same again. That's where the free will begins. Heaven help us.

Carol said...

I think that it could be that the good parts are given to us but the bad parts may be what we mistakenly choose but choose because there is something that we need to learn.

It seems that it is when I fight destiny that things get nasty.

Several years back I left a correction's job because the Doc I was working for got into legal trouble. I tried to save him from that trouble before he even got into it. He was too stubborn and his trouble ended up causing me more grief than it did him. It was the very worst experience I have ever lived through and it was at the same time that my mother was dying. There were times I just wanted to cease to exist.

There weren't very many NP jobs around and I couldn't sit around and wait for something I really liked to come along. I had settled for this ER job that I definitely wouldn't have enjoyed. Just as I was going to take it, I fell down two carpeted stairs at my house and cracked my pelvis in four places. I never could even figure out how I could manage to do that. It was as if a poltergist pushed me down those stairs.

I didn't take the job and when I fully recovered from the fractures, the CEO of a local hospital called to offer me my current job. I was pretty much the only one around who had the necessary credentials to do this job. Synchronicity.

ivygreen said...

Just wanted to say "hey." Your blog is rich rich rich in food for thought. I'm just glad it's a diet that won't make me overweight!

More later...but first a question, Carol are you a book reader? I find much to "ponder" in books, and since this is a pondering place, just wondering...

ivygreen said...

Wow - that post went through in one click and no letter-check! Must have decided my credentials are okay...wonder if they did a background check...?

(^_~)

Carol said...

Ivy, I went in and turned off that silly type the word thing because I have a real problem with it. I hope it doesn't lead to any problems later.

I have lots of books stacked up here I want to read but I also have lots of CEUs I'm behind doing and I would have to quit reading on Craig's place to have the time.

I do still have to reserve at least 4 hours for sleep.

Since you have the time to read books, it's your turn to give us something to ponder on.

Carol said...

And we often only see what we are looking for. As a nurse educator, who taught physical assessment fot years, there wasn't a goiter that passed me that I didn't notice. I never noticed how many people had them before.

When you open you observation to the synchronicity that is in your life, you will see that fairly often also.

Wiktionary defines synchronicity as "coincidences that seem to be meaningfully related" Keep your eyes open.

ivygreen said...

Ha Ha! The computer has cut way far into my reading time!

But I went to Barnes and Noble this morning. I came across a novel that made me think of you...it's called "A Lesson Before Dying." I didn't buy it, but I feel it tugging at me. Here is a blurb about it from the google, and I think it's from the book's jacket. Wondered if you had heard about it.

"Ernest J. Gaines's award-winning novel is set in a small Louisiana Cajun community in the late 1940s. Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shootout in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins has returned home from college to the plantation school to teach children whose lives promise to be not much better than Jefferson's. As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson's godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and pride to Jefferson before his death. In the end, the two men forge a bond as they come to understand the simple heroism of resisting--and defying--the expected."

ivygreen said...

A writer who inspires me is Jean Shinoda Bolen. She is also a Jungian analyst and a feminist. Carl Jung is the person who coined the term "synchronicity." Dr. Bolen gives her description of it her memoir about her mid-life passage, "Crossing to Avalon" as "coincidences between our inner subjective world and outer events. Synchronicities such as the uncanny and timely appearance of a significant person or opportunity are often choice bringers. Will we respond? And if we do, will it usher in a new phase of our lives?"

ivygreen said...

My trusty Ben Franklin's Almanac has an entry today about dragonflies. In light of the synchronicity with your avatar, I will quote it.

"Anyone who has tried to help a child catch a dragonfly for a science project knows how fast the winged creatures fly. If you see a pair hovering near the edge of a pond, it's probably a male hovering above a female. She is looking for a place to lay her eggs; he is protecting his genetic interests. Her fertilized eggs will be laid in the water, unless the female is so harassed by competing males that she flies off in disgust."

Carol said...

No to having heard of the first book Ivy. The second sounds familiar. My older sister is the bookworm of our family. Even though she has her PhD in Special Ed, she worked at a bookstore for a while just to be close to all the books and get to read them for free.

With my ADD, I really have to struggle to read. Graduate school was a real killer. I got up early, drank lots of coffee, underlined everything that was important in each book and then wrote it down. For good measure I would sometimes even sleep with the books but just doing that alone when I was in high school didn't work out too well.

And I usually respond to any synchonicity I recognize in my life. I'm afraid not too.

Being out here at the camp, around the water, keeps me surrounded by dragonflies. They come is so many different colors. I never really paid much attention to them until that day shortly after mom died when one sat down beside me and seemed to try to offer me some sympathy.

Chloe said...

Carol, That's quite a story in your first post. What a horrible sequence of events, it took, to get you were you feel you were meant to be. I agree, that's one way to look at it. But the way I usually see it, is things usually work out for the best, if you expect them to. It seems to me, that you came through all those hardships, got the job you love, and said to yourself, 'If all those things hadn't happened, I wouldn't be where I am today". I also say the same thing to myself, but think of it as more of 'looking on the bright side of things', that it all worked about for the best. I guess it doesn't really matter what you call it though.

I was 'pondering' today too, and think that you may look at things from a faith point of view, fitting things into your thinking (philosophy of life) in a way that supports the faith you already have. I'm the opposite, and I fit things into my thinking (philosophy of life) from a point of view of free will. The same things happen, but we perceive their meaning differently, even though the results may be the same.

(Ok, I read down a few more posts, and see that you mentioned that we see what we are looking for. Now I see the synchronicity you were referring to this morning - coincidences that seem to be meaningfully related. I like that.)

.... and now I see Ivy pointed out the Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity. Well, he should know about thinking patterns.

Ivy, I find what you said about 'choice bringers' very interesting. Our response is the thing that varies.


Carol, I never paid much attention to dragonflies either, until you mentioned what happened to you after your mom died. Then when I started noticing them, they're everywhere.

Chloe said...

... sorry I put so much into that one post, and sounded all over the place. Call me Max, if you want. :)

Carol said...

Oh no Chloe, you have a long way to go before you hit that level.

ivygreen said...

Carol,

I read further (on the 'puter, of course) that Ernest J. Gaines is a renowned writer of Southern fiction who is compared to Faulkner. I hadn't "heard" of him either, but then I learned he is also the author of "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" which I do remember well from the movie made from it starring Cicely Tyson. That was filmed in Baton Rouge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Autobiography_of_Miss_Jane_Pittman

I didn't buy the "Lessons" book because I'm worried it might be painful to read. I don't like pain, and I try to avoid it. But I might have to go back and get it, or maybe put it on my wish-list. At the root of pain-avoidance is often fear. Sometimes it is necessary to go through the pain in order to get to the other side of it and conquer the fear.

ivygreen said...

Don't worry, Chloe. I can follow your posts with no problem at all. Even if a post is lengthy, as long as it is written with coherence, it is easily readable.

On the other hand, breaking them into bits like I do can make you look like a "serial poster." (Guilty, as charged, your Honor.)

ivygreen said...

Carol, sorry for trying to make a linky-poo like on Craig's blog. I know now not to do that.

Carol said...

I'm with you. I try to avoid as much pain as I can these days also. I'm around too much of it with my work to want any part of it when I get home.

Chloe said...

I try never to conquer fear. I prefer to pretend it isn't there. So no voluntary pain for me, either.

Carol said...

Chloe you were saying that I depend on faith while you believe more in free will. Well there are influences outside yourself where no matter how much free will you muster up, it can't change those forces outside yourself. On the other hand with faith, I just may have a chance to influence an outcome by having the option of praying for it. That's a little more compatable with my tendency to be a control freak.

Chloe said...

Carol, Regarding faith, I was thinking about how it guides you and I in our philosophical view of things. Actually, I do have faith, faith that everything will work out. But not the kind of faith you have, where you pray to a higher being, and then either hope, or have faith it will happen, that He will take care of things for you. I accept the fact that I can't change some things, forces outside of myself. I believe that we each have our own little Universe, which includes everything within our reach (and that reach has expanded with the internet) and that it is our job as individuals to run that universe the best we can. I do think affirmations can make things happen and prayer is like affirmations.

I am only talking about it, because I think it accounts for our difference. But actually, we pretty much believe the same things, we just go about somewhat differently. That, and probably place our gratitude in a different place.... but imo, it comes out the same in the end.

(very hard to put into words)

Chloe said...

The main reason I brought up 'free will' is because you said that our life is given to us (paraphrasing). I take it you believe in fate, and I don't.

Carol said...

I have been pondering what life is all about for a long time now. My ideas about it all continue to evolve.

I want and need to believe that our time on this planet is not all there is. I believe that our time here is a time for learning and that will take more than one go round.

When crap happens it does have meaning, not always apparent at the time that it is occuring. When crap keeps happening then there is something we are refusing to learn.

I need to make sense of those who have short and/or miserable existances. I think that they chose to come here as our teachers, a much higher level of evolution. An example is little Mattie Stepanek. He was so wise, wise beyond his years. He was definitely a teacher.

I don't pass up any opportunity to learn, whether it be from the ramblings of some of my psychotic patients or the homeless guy on the street. I keep my ears open. Everyone has something to teach us.

Chloe said...

If I took out 2 short sentences out of your entire post, then I'd completely agree with you.

I especially, wholeheartedly agree with paragraphs 1, 3, and 5.

Well said Carol.

Carol said...

If anyone is not familiar with Mattie Stepanek, here is his website: http://www.mattieonline.com/

Carol said...

I never claimed to be right. Just trying to come up with an idea I feel comfortable with. Do you believe this is all there is?

Carol said...

And Chloe, you can't change the timer on this blog. It's stuck on Pacific time. That means we can stay up later.

Chloe said...

I'm going to read that site you linked just now. BTW, I think we're both right. I actually don't think we contradict each other, and I sure wouldn't want to change your mind. The idea you feel comfortable with is a good one. I would have never brought it up, if it weren't for my thinking about how we both came up with slightly different ideas. I'm always changing too. Listening and changing. I just am sure of where I am today, no telling we're I'll be a year from now.

After I look at that site, I'm going to read and try to get sleepy early. I have a lot of extra work this weekend, since my hubby's not around to help. Plus Emma's with me this weekend too, because my daughter is spending the weekend with friends.

solarcrete said...

Can you guy's stand a little male company: Or do I have to break the door down in order to get in. Carol, I really like this place here, and, my pic is right in the middle of Patsi, and Chlo.

Chloe said...

Carol, I have noticed I'm not as open to change lately. It's the first time its ever happened to me. I'm not sure what to make of it. But I'm pretty darn sure of things. Surer than I've ever been. It's unusual and strange for me to feel that way.

Chloe said...

Solar! It's about time you showed up. I've been a blog hog.

solarcrete said...

I'll say.!

Carol said...

Oh Solar, so glad you showed up. We needed a little testosterone here. Hey I put up my pic of my taco salad just to get you over here.

And I'm so glad you added your pic.

solarcrete said...

Actually: I like it, cos I can see a little bit more of where you are coming from; you don't usually take the time for this kind of conversation over at tm. Lot to ponder....

Carol said...

How did you manage to squeeze in between Patsi and Chloe? Well if anyone could, you could.

Carol said...

Well Solar, I'm not even sure where I'm coming from.

Chloe said...

I just read his 6:28 Carol. Now we can be sure it's Solar. I'd recognize that smart... anywhere.

solarcrete said...

Carol, I have been meaning to come over here and take a look; and yes, I did see that bait put out for me.....Im not easy you know.!.....well maybe I am, have some candy?

Carol said...

You've done quit a bit of pondering Solar and you were raised in the south. You can take a turn at coming up with a blog post. You can give us something to ponder on.

Carol said...

Always have candy Solar. Just went to Wal-Mart today, my grocery shopping day. I got a box of Russell Stover's chocolate covered nuts in the ice box. They'll last until about Wednesday.

solarcrete said...

Carol, I love philosophy, and can get quit wrapped up in it: I just recently ( 10-12 years) have come to the conclusion of what I think, about what it all means; to me that is, maybe not for anyone. How I managed to get to this thinking, is all of the different things that I have been interested in; seem to point to one thing. Learning the hows, and when's are what I try to do now.

Smart ass.....I told you Im sensitive.

Chloe said...

.. so am I

Carol said...

Hey what did I say? I'm trying to be hospitable here. It's what the south is all about.

Chloe said...

Carol, It's nice that you mentioned that Solar could maybe be the guest blogger now and then. It's funny, but earlier I was going to say the same thing about Ivy. She reads a lot of good books, and I know she could give us a lot to think about.

solarcrete said...

http://ct-carolssouthernspice.blogspot.com/2009/08/was-your-life-something-you-chose-or.html?showComment=1250991527504#c8797253759135747950

You know what I meant.!

I will try to read all of the above post, and see what you all have been talking about, Im glad that Ivy was here too. S

Carol said...

I hope you all will Chloe. I didn't plan to do this all by myself. It will get pretty dull if I have to hold this place up all alone.

solarcrete said...

Carol.

U didn't say anything, it was the little gal Sal, and That is a nice invite, to be a guest blogger, thanks.....lets see?...nope that would be deleted, how about, nope that would be also.....

Chloe said...

...not me, I told you before I don't have much to say (except in the comment boxes, that is). Ok, I'm leaving for real this time. See you guys tomorrow.

Carol said...

Jes Solar, little Chloe can be quite spicy but we like them hot don't we Solar.

solarcrete said...

Yes Carol, Wouldn't have Chlo, any other way, or you either. Will catch up on your blog tomorrow I hope. Going over to tm, and see what up over there. Had a very long day, and will probably turn in early, unless Im too tired, that when my mind start to take off on it own....and gets me lost in space adventures, I night dream a lot, between that and day dreaming, I don't get that much sleep! HA.

Carol said...

I'm keeping up with the TM also.