“When ya know, ya know... ya know?"
That was Crush, the sea turtle, in Finding Nemo.
And that’s me, veering into a whole new career choice.
Most of you know my background, growing up in what is a glorified (by some) cult. For the first 24 years of my life, few of my decisions were my own. As an Amish person, first, which took away most of the experiences and choices of what we consider normal coming-of-age, and secondly, as a woman, which limited or eliminated them further. What you wore, where you went, who you could hang out with, whether you got an education or not (8th grade), what you did for a career (you don’t have one), who you marry (almost completely the choice of the males, ie the boy/man who “chose” you and your father’s consent). I always laugh a little when people ask if our marriage was arranged... 'My friend, your whole life in that culture is arranged.'
Mostly I’m okay with how it all went because there’s nothing I can do to change it. Play the cards you're dealt and all that. Occasionally I mourn a bit the life I didn’t get to live or choose for those years, years that are so important to who you are and what you become. But in the end, I can only be what I am going forward.
Years ago, when my babies were little, I thought of going into the emergency medical field. It appealed to me to then. But the schedule of classes seemed almost impossible; at the time, my husband was working overtime plus attending classes of his own to become a volunteer firefighter. I was taking classes online to get an associates degree and, you know, babies. Once said babies were both in school, I stepped into the working world and got a job. For two years, I worked at a bank. Which I enjoyed, but the pay was crappy and the hours (every Saturday) even crappier. When an opportunity came up for better hours and pay came up at the beginning of this year, I took it.
Except that almost immediately after being hired I was asked to work 8 hours more per week than I’d agreed to. And though I like the people around me and have no complaints about my actual workplace, I simply hate the work. I'm chained (figuratively) to a desk answering phone calls and fielding complaints/problems. It’s mindless, it’s numbing, it’s absolutely NOT what I want to do for the remainder of the month, much less the remainder of the year. And certainly not my life. After 3 months of it, I was confiding to a friend how I felt: hating my job, dreading Mondays, feeling generally stuck and unmotivated in my life. She said, “Peg, if you’re feeling like that only 3 months in, it’s not the right fit.”
So I thought hard about what it is I might want to do, talked with people around me and my husband said, you always wanted to be an EMT, why not do that? And something in me said, YES, WHY NOT?!
I made some calls, paid some money, squeaked into an already-full class by impulsively calling the instructor and pleading my case, and voila! A week later I was an EMT student.
All I know is that despite the challenge of an additional 8-16 hours of class per week on top of working 30 hours and caring for a family and trying to get some runs/workouts in, it’s what I want. As opposed to what I do now… after 24 hours out of the 150 required for the course, I am loving this stuff. They say you know fairly quickly if you’re cut out for it or not. I guess I haven’t yet seen blood and gore and limbs breaking and babies being born and using an AED to shock someone’s heart (though I did it on a mannequin!) but if hearing about it and learning about it indicates anything, well, I’m cut out for this. It grabs me. It’s interesting. It feels like purpose. Like I’m doing something that means something, not just to me, but to the greater world around me. I need that sense of purpose like I need to breathe.
We just covered anatomy, which was my favorite. Specifically, heart stuff. Holy cow, the heart is an amazing little muscle-pump-of-never-ending-beast-mode. And all that running, including the injuries!- came in handy at last. ‘Skeletal structure of the lower extremities? Got it. Difference between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism? Yessir.’ Medical terminology, ughhhh, not so much. Pages and pages. All those suffixes and prefixes that you can attach onto words to make a whole new medical term? *holds head in hands* And don’t even get me started on mnemonics. THEY ARE MANY.
And like the marathon, the finish line is seldom just a finish. Instead, it can be the door to a world of new possibilities.