Really, every birthday is a milestone. But today, I’m 65. When you are a child, that seems VERY OLD. When you are a young adult, in your 20’s, it seems like forever away. When you reach your 40’s, and feel very wise, 65 starts becoming more real, but still, a long way off. In your 50’s, you start looking forward to when you can retire and get Medicare.
This year, my 65th year, has been a gift to myself. I quit my full time job and did a lot of traveling, including two 2 month travel nurse stints , the first in Chattanooga, and the second in Carson City. I loved Chattanooga, and basically hated Carson City. I learned that I missed being home with my husband, and I missed seeing my grandchildren. I learned that staying in an airbnb room in someone else’s house is not something I ever want to do again!
So, I came home, started working part time, took a road trip to see all my kids and went on a retreat in Costa Rica (and wrote about these trips on this blog, if you’re interested). I’m enjoying the holiday season, being with family, pondering all that I’ve experienced.
And, although I did sign up for Medicare, I’m not retiring and getting social security just yet. I’ve also learned that, although I do enjoy staycation for a while, I also like the structure that work offers, plus I can find meaning in my work. And yeah, the paycheck is a bit bigger than what SS offers.
So, in January, it’s back to being a full time acute care RN Case Manager in the hospital 10 minutes from home. For how long, I don’t know. I do know that I’m strong and healthy, and still have much to offer the world.
All of my jobs have been in healthcare. When I was 17, a senior in high school, I got my first job working in Central Supply at the local hospital. While I was in nursing school, I worked weekends as a nurse’s aide. After I graduated, my first nursing job was at the county hospital in the sick baby nursery. I was 20 when I became a Registered Nurse (back in the late 70’s) and I had way too much responsibility for someone that young!
My next job was in the operating room. I have always like studying the human body, so this was fascinating. I was on the evening shift, and if we didn’t have a case, we would sit around smoking in the small lounge. I was a circulating nurse, and was responsible for sending anything removed from the patient to the lab. The most memorable specimen was an entire leg.
Then I had my second baby, and stayed home for 16 years, giving birth a total of seven times. Became an earth mother, so to speak – homeschooling, gardening, breadmaking. That, of course, was a more than full time job! I got into religion. But that’s another story.
When my youngest was about four, around 2000, I got a job in day surgery with some time spent in nursery and postpartum, after a short correspondence course to reactivate my nursing license. I thought this was what I wanted to do after all my personal experience, but found that it really wasn’t a good fit after all.
After about a year of that, I had an opportunity to work in hospice, which at first scared me, because I hadn’t really been around death. But I went for it, and in the course of time became very passionate about it, and it helped me with my own PDA (personal death awareness). I worked for three companies in the eight years I was in hospice, at one point in management. But the last year of working in hospice, I was driving 100 miles a day to see patients, working hours that were too long, and got burned out.
At this point, I decided I wanted a job where I just went to work someplace, but I didn’t want to go back to bedside nursing, because really, I didn’t want to have to deal with all the involvement with personal body fluids and life and death situations. I applied for and was hired as an acute care case manager in the same hospital where I had my first job, and have continued in this field for the last 11 years.
The most fulfillment from a job was in hospice, caring for people in the last stage of life, as well as their families. It could also be emotionally draining. When I started in hospital case management, I really didn’t know what I was getting into. It’s important to me to be able to make a difference in someone’s life, and usually that happens in a day’s work, although there are days when I’ve wondered what the hell I’m doing. I’ve quit twice, but returned. After this past year with two travel assignments, I feel that I’ve come to a place of being happy in this line of work. Not sure if fulfilled is the right word. I do help people, but I’m also glad to have the camaraderie in my department, and the feeling of satisfaction that comes with being good at what I do. Fulfillment in my life happens in my relationships with my children, grandchildren, and friends.
I’d really like to work part-time, and have done so periodically. Financially, that doesn’t work out in the long run.
I have to help people in some way. If that’s not happening, it is just a grind. I also need work/life balance. I tried working 4/10’s and 3/12’s, and even though having the extra days off was nice, I was exhausted at the end of the work day. I prefer 8 hours – I get up early enough to have time in the morning and I leave work early enough to have time in the evening. It is important to take vacations, and I use all my PTO, only saving it up when I want to take a longer vacation. It’s also important to be valued and appreciated by the boss, as much as that is possible.
EXPLORATION and CIRCLING BACK:
A few years ago I studied Ayurveda with a plan to get away from traditional healthcare and have a wellness practice. That would be an amazing job – to help people really be well, instead of being in the revolving door of traditional western medicine. But when I finished my studies and took an additional course to learn what it takes to set up a practice, I realized that I would absolutely hate the aspect of having to market myself, do all the internet and social media, and that I couldn’t make as much money as I do in Case Management. So I went back to full time work for three years. In 2020, in the middle of the covid pandemic, I felt stuck and burned out. I looked for other opportunities, and this last year, I fulfilled my desire to travel by doing a couple of travel contracts, and taking time off in between.
I got what I needed from that – different work cultures, unappreciative bosses, and perspective on what is really important to me. So, at almost 65, I am returning to work full time at the hospital I left when I decided to travel. I do have opportunity to help people navigate the healthcare system and have the care they need. It’s not a dream job, or a calling, but I am good at it and have a good work environment. All the circumstances and benefits give me peace about financial security, and I have plenty of time outside of work to do what I want to do.
At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. — Lao Tzu
About four years ago I started writing affirmations on my bathroom mirror. (Use a dry erase marker) The previous year had seen divorce and a move to a new place with new beginnings. I started with Affirmations 101: I am worthy, I am loved, I love you. Without self-love, it is difficult to love others or believe anything else good about yourself.
If you’ve told yourself 70,000 times that you are not good enough, it will take at least 7000 repetitions of a loving affirmation to reprogram the subconscious mind. Say it to yourself, with strong feeling, and it will become integrated into the subconscious mind.
After I did that for a while, I wrote I am beautiful and I attract beautiful people and I am extraordinary. Those were challenging for me, because I never thought of myself as attractive, either physically or otherwise, and thought of myself as just an ordinary person, nothing special.
Writing them where I would see it every day, repeating it over and over to myself, slowly but surely I found myself knowing the truth of these words. I AM beautiful and extraordinary! And I started attracting a different type of people into my life, people who brought positive, bright energy into my life.
Currently on my bathroom mirror: I invite personal transformation into my life every day.
A few years ago I subscribed to “Notes from the Universe”, delivered to my inbox every day. Here are three that I printed and taped to my bathroom mirror.
Live your dreams NOW to any degree that you can. With every purchase. Every decision. Every hello and goodbye. Every assignment. Every conversation. Every meal. Every morning, afternoon, and evening. And never, ever, ever look back. Reframe every thought, word, and deed from the perspective of the person you’ve always dreamed you’d be, as if your life was already as you’ve always dreamed it would be. Die to yesterday’s illusions and be reborn to the truth of your vision.
And let’s just see if you can handle the torrent of treasures I send your way! – The Universe
Time out! Time out!
What do you mean, you can’t see it? You don’t know? You aren’t sure? You’re scared?
This is an adventure, you’re an adventurer, and uncertainty, fear, and even setbacks happen. Besides, “easy” has never been your style, and just because you can’t see the miracles doesn’t mean they aren’t happening, doesn’t mean you’re alone, and doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path.
The day your ship arrives, and it now swiftly approaches – the confusion, fear, and setbacks will be among your fondest memories. – The Universe
It’s easy. Just once a day, imagine the life you dream of. Believe that it can be yours in this world of magic and miracles. Choose to live as if you know of its inevitable manifestation. Don’t compromise. Don’t worry. Don’t look for results. And as surely as spirit crafts one moment after another, so too will it fuse together the life you now lead with the life of your dreams as if they were two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, destined to become one. – The Universe
My wish for you is that you succeed beyond your wildest imagination. That you find love in places that astound you. And that you have friends who call you “just because.” I dream that you go barefoot more than you wear shoes. That you play as hard as you work. And that you laugh more than you cry. I want you to set the bar high, but not too high. To reach for the stars, but with your toes on the ground. And to never, ever stop dreaming. But most of all I wish for your happiness.
And these dreams of mine are what started it all. – The Universe
Hanging these up with intention and reading them frequently continues to bring me inspiration to keep on my path. I truly feel that I am living the life of my dreams, and that there is much much more to come. I can honestly say that I get to go barefoot more than I wear shoes! And my circle of friends who are family is ever expanding.
For years, when things weren’t going so well, I would say to myself and to God “I just want to love and be loved.” And now, I know that I am loving and being loved. It didn’t happen in a way I expected, rather, it has happened as I began to use affirmations as well as regular meditation of the heart-based kind.
I may have mentioned this before, but I am in love.
Since leaving my day job, I have spent more time with yoga, and this love I have for it – it is the real thing.
I was briefly introduced to yoga five years ago at a gym I belonged to. I thought it was pretty great, but didn’t have much time for it. Two years ago, we were reacquainted during my trip to the Chopra Center. The best thing I learned there is that I can have a relationship with yoga even if I can’t sit in lotus or do certain asanas (postures).
Shortly after that I discovered the yoga studio less than two miles from where I live, and began to go weekly, for a while. Then I began studying ayurveda, and since I still worked full time, it was a challenge to get to class, so I stopped going regularly. In the meantime, I began to learn more about what yoga actually is.
The word yoga means union, and is a means to bring your entire being into balance and union with the greater consciousness many people call God. A common perception of yoga is that it is about moving your body into different positions to increase physical fitness, but there is so much more to it than that.
Yama – this is about our behavior, principles, and how we conduct ourselves in life
Niyama – has to do with self- discipline and spiritual practices and routines
Asana – the postures practiced in yoga, through which we develop habits of discipline
Pranayama – this is about the breath
Pratyahara – withdrawing from sensory stimulation and looking inside
Dharana – concentration, dealing with the distractions of the mind
Dhyana – meditation or contemplation
Samadhi – transcendence, connection with the Divine, interconnectedness with all living beings
There are quite a few flavors of yoga, and this Mind Body Green piece explains the most common. I personally prefer a very slow flow, with stretching and holding poses for longer periods, a combination of hatha, sivananda, and yin. A have a friend who is dedicated to kundalini. Others love the more workout like flow of vinyasa or the heat of Bikram. There is something for everyone.
I am elated that I have the time to pursue this practice. Yoga and ayurveda are sister sciences, so it makes sense to me to be able to teach this to those who are following this path of seeking better health through greater awareness.
And so, I have enrolled in a yoga teacher training course! Namaste. 🙂
Friday was my last day doing the job I’ve been at for the last six years.
People have been asking me what I am going to do. What comes out of my mouth first is “sit in the sun”. I haven’t been doing much of that, so I am going to start today!
What else do I want to do? More yoga, for one. I’ve already been going to the yoga studio down the street, and plan to step it up from 1 or 2 times a week to 3 or 4. I’m considering a week long yoga retreat in Austin in October, and maybe even yoga teacher training.
I am going to write more, paint more, play more, relax more, dream more.
I am going to continue to open myself up to whatever is out there for me to do. I will go to social and networking events and have opportunities to talk about what I love. Perhaps some clients will arise from this.
I will update my resume and work on a new website.
I will connect more with my family, and welcome twin grandbabies into the world.
I’ve looked back at some of what I wrote in the early days of this blog, two years ago, and am really amazed at the journey. Starting this blog and putting myself and my inner world “out there” was a huge step, and I have no doubt that because of continuing to allow myself to be vulnerable in this way I have become more willing to take chances and face fear.