Growing Up and Moving On
Thanks to this lovely cold that my brother gave me this Thanksgiving, I’ve been spending many late nights tossing and turning and hacking up a lung. I figured since I’m going to be up for another hour or so with my incessant coughing fits, I might as well get some things off my chest. I was recently offered my first nursing position in a New Grad RN Residency Program at St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Las Vegas. Words cannot express how RELIEVED I am to have finally found a job. Six straight months of “no thanks” is enough to wear anyone down, especially someone already lacking a certain degree of self-confidence. So to finally hear a “yes,” and to finally feel like I made the cut…it was a huge weight off my shoulders. Don’t get me wrong - I’ve enjoyed this little “break” knowing that soon my life will change and my “me” time will be few and far between. But after being a financial burden on my parents for 23 years, it’s time that I finally sever those fiscal ties and make it on my own. Leaving for college is one thing. Leaving to start YOUR new life - that’s another thing entirely. And to be honest…
I am SCARED out of my MIND.
I’m not scared because I’m not ready. My parents, teachers, friends, and all the other significant people in my life have prepared me well and set me up to be in the best position for this new journey of mine. My dad worked tirelessly and selflessly to provide a comfortable life for our family. But in spite of this, he was still at every soccer game, every piano recital, and every school play. My mom spent her life caring for my brother and me at home, instilling values and morals that molded me into the person I am today. She taught me how to love, how to care, and (most importantly), how to wrap gifts and fold laundry. She was a super-mom. She was a loving mother, a chauffeur, a chef, a boo-boo fixer, a maid (and we were messy kids), a homework-checker, a bedtime story reader, and as I grew older, a trusted confidant, an advice-giver, and my best friend. My brother managed to achieve the perfect balance of brotherly traits. He picked on me enough to teach me that it’s always worth it to fight back, but was always there when I was going through a rough time. He was a role model, a worthy video game opponent, and a protector. You will not find a more supportive, loving, and selfless family than mine. I will be forever grateful for their influence and presence in my life. I can’t talk about my family without also mentioning my “other” family - my wonderful and amazing friends. I had no idea when I started college that I would get to meet so many incredible people. I was equally unprepared for the profound impact these people would have on me. Each person I met, acquaintance or friend, played a huge part in who I have become. And without them, without their support, I can safely say that I would not have made it this far. My 17 year-old self in that Sonoma State dorm room seems like an entirely different person to me. The experiences I had in college - be they wonderful, shocking, devastating, unconventional, exciting, or downright stressful - have all had their place and purpose in my life, and I’m thankful.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I SHOULDN’T be scared, but I still am. Regardless of how much support, how much love, and how much preparation I have, I still lie awake at night wondering how the hell I’m supposed to be a “grown-up.” How am I supposed to pick up and move to another state? How do I just leave my family, friends, and everything I’ve known behind? I’m not ready to close the door to my college years and open this new one to the “real” world. People told me that college would pass in the blink of an eye, and I didn’t believe them. Five years seemed like an eternity…five years ago. But, guess what? I blinked. And here I am. Mere days away from beginning a new journey. Am I excited? Yes. Am I proud? You bet. Am I scared? More than you know. But this is hardly the first time I’ve been apprehensive about something “new,” and it certainly won’t be the last.
When I was younger, I went to a camp that featured something called the Leap of Faith. You had to climb up the trunk of a massive Redwood tree, then balance on a tiny platform at the top. A few feet out from the platform hung a trapeze handle attached to a cable - the idea being that you would have to take “a leap of faith” and jump from the platform, reaching for the handle. Despite the cliche factor, I can’t help seeing the similarities. Making it to where I am today was no cake walk, but a tough uphill battle. I focused ahead and didn’t look down. And now I find myself teetering on this platform, trying to build up the courage to jump. True, I have safety cables attached to me and a net down below. Even if I fall, I know my family and friends will be there to catch me. But it’s still a long way down, and I’m still scared. Even with a million things running through my head, the solution is pretty clear. I just need to take a deep breath, focus on that handle…