3rd Chapter Officially Begins!
Enough talking about my plans to retire. Now I am officially into what I am referring as “The 3rd Chapter of my Life.”
Chapter 1 was birth through high school. The lessons of “who am I?” and surviving those initial 18 years of figuring out the basics of who I am, what I like, who I choose to hang out with, what is important to me and my family of origin. We get imprinted by our parents as they reinforce what is important to them and we take bits of that into who we will become. Yet towards the end of high school, we also get a big shot of peer pressure and new reflections from others who see us through their own eyes. We make choices who we will listen to and who we don’t hang out with, and over time this molds our own unique expression of ourselves.
Chapter 2 was all about creating my own family and finding that identify that is separate from my family of origin. I graduated from high school at age 16, only to turn 17 about a week later. As I started junior college, I decided to take a bunch of classes that interested me, versus a specific path. Looking back, this was one of the best things I did. I recall taking Psychology, Drawing, Astronomy, Belly Dancing, Nutrition, Medical Terminology, Guitar and Criminology during that first year. As I look back, those original interests remain a strong part of who I am today.
I moved away from Salinas to Monterey and continued college and began my first job as a nurse’s aide in a convalescent home. I met Dave in early college at age 19 and we soon had our daughter, Myra, back in the late 70’s. This was a significant change in chapters, going from who am I as an individual to who am I for my partner and my child. Although I was young, I felt ready for this important step up in responsibility. I felt a strong bond to my daughter that began back when I was 16. I wrote in my diary back then “to Myra Lee, my as yet un-conceived child.” Motherhood and being in a relationship came natural to me. I felt very nurturing and having Myra and her Dad to care for only added to my sense of purpose and expanded my world. I am proud to say, that although family was very important to me, I also continued towards my goals of graduating as an RN back in 1981. Dave, Myra and I loaded up the moving truck and headed to Colorado where we got to live in a house where it snowed in the cattle stockyard town of Greeley.
With moving from sunny California to snowy Colorado, life took some turns for us. Dave and I went separate ways when Myra was 4 years old. He packed up 700 pounds worth of albums and headed back to California and I stayed to endure another Winter and a half as a single parent. Ugh, that was one of the hardest phases of my life. Trying to get my child to the sitter in the snow so I could be to work by 7 AM and work a 12 hour shift. It wasn’t long before I realized, there was one thing that could change in this equation at least, and that was the weather. So in mid December 1984, I headed out to San Diego where I would live the next 25 years of my life.
Family life and career are the huge parts of Chapter 2. I worked as a Nurse’s Aid in a Pacific Grove Convalescent Hospital, a Waitress Aide at the Clam Box Restaurant in Carmel California, a float CNA at Mountain View Hospital in Cupertino California, an RN in a 35 bed hospital in Greeley, Colorado, an IV RN working nights at Sharp Hospital in San Diego, a Home Health RN for Sharp and then 18 years at Kaiser Permanente.
Perhaps in a future blog I will delve more into chapter 2, but for now that gives you a sense of where I have been up until now.