As I was driving in to work this morning I was reflecting on how different my life is now compared to 20 years ago. All the changes we have made to get where we are and how unbelievably blessed I feel to be where we are today. I thought about how two decades ago I had two jobs in different hospitals and had an hour commute through traffic and stop lights. Bumper to bumper cars, finding a parking spot, paying handsomley for said parking spot, and working hard at being a young Mom while the rest of my friends were in University. They were figuring out who they wanted to be, and I already knew who I was. Young working Mom. I had already gone through college at high speed and launched myself in to the work force two feet first. But what I wasn't prepared for was the lesson my Career Choice would teach me, and how it would mold my life in to something completely different than I thought it would be. And how, full circle I am back in Health Care, learning the same lessons all over again. I have always known them and never forgotten, but it is important to be reminded constantly at the fragility of life and how we need to be living in each moment and be present in ones own life.
I started working in the Lab of the Hospital when I was just 21. I was young, adventuress and invincible. Sure I had my struggles being a young parent with so much responsibility while all my peers were in a different mind set. But I truly always felt everything would work out. As I started working I was completely unprepared for what it means to work in Health Care and for the things I would see. I quickly recognized that a lot of people don't actually live that long, and that growing old was something that we didn't all get to do. I saw cancer, suicide, car accidents, heart attacks and diseases I had never heard of. I saw new parents leave the hospital with empty arms and grief stricken faces while elated ones got to take their new bundle of joy home with them. The realization that life wasn't fair, death didn't pick and choose, and that we only get this one shot, quickly embedded in to my brain. It is a lesson that to this day I feel completely honored to have learned. I have carried it with me all my life and it has compelled me to make choices in life that aren't always the norm. I have chosen life over money more times than I can count, and even though I'm not rich, or have a penny in the bank, I am rich in experiences, love and happiness.
So on the way to work this morning, as the mist rose from the fields, the sun climbed up in to the sky and red and orange leaves drifted down on to the road ahead I thanked God for everything in my life. I cranked up my music and thoroughly enjoyed that 20 years later my commute is down a country road with no traffic lights. I have amazing scenery and there is no traffic. And as I pull in to work and face the day in a Health Care setting that is not Acute Care, but long term, I get to gain the lessons and knowledge of what the Elders of our society have to teach me. I take the time to listen to their stories, and heed their warnings that life is short and to do what makes us happy. Should any of us be graced with the honor of living our lives out to a grand old age we should remember that when the journey is over, its our experiences, our happiness and the joy we brought not only to ourselves but to others that matters. So have that extra slice of pie once in awhile. Don't get caught up in how others perceive you, or try so very hard to preserve your body only to end up in a long term care facility because you worked so hard at being healthy. Enjoy, be happy and healthy and love life!