I've been spending time this year, more so than in the past, looking at my life and where I want it to go in the future, both short term and long term.
My nursing career has spanned 18 years so far... well, 20 if you count when I started my training back in 1989. And I have worked in a number of different areas in two different countries and five different cities. It's been hugely responsible for my growth into the person I am today. And coupled with some pretty profound life experiences in my personal life, I am so not the person I was 20 years ago.
I am a nurturer, through and through. I always have been. Even at the age of 16, when my oldest sister had her first baby (he's 35 now, by the way) and her father-in-law had her husband and some of his friends (one of whom became my first boyfriend later that year) help him dig a basement under a house. I played Dr. Bob (anyone remember the Muppet Show??) to all those guys with their splinters and blisters and cuts and scrapes.
Nursing is something I love... my brain really gets into the nitty gritty of it... and you couldn't gross me out if you tried... but now my body is saying enough is enough. I have back issues both from work and from getting bucked off a horse two and a half years ago. I just don't bend too well anymore. My feet really let me know when they've had enough of the standing... which now often happens by morning coffee break. And my hands are shot. I've got carpal tunnel syndrome in both and have had surgery on my right hand (geez, that was four years ago already) with the symptoms returning because I haven't changed what I do.
So to make changes, I have set the wheels in motion to be in business for myself. The future looks good but at this stage, I am not seeing a monetary return as of yet. Still a few hurdles to leap over before that starts happening. But the potential is excellent and I have set a goal to be making enough money by next June to retire from nursing and concentrate solely on my business.
So along the road to this shift, I have been paying attention to my own self, to behaviour patterns, to what I need to change to make this venture successful. Both from a professional standpoint and a personal one.
One of the things I have to do is to be brave. Setting out to be self employed, to be an owner/operator of a business, is a scary prospect. If I don't put the effort into it, I will not succeed... it is that simple. Basically, I have to grow a set of balls and not be afraid to use them. Get out there, brave the world, handle the rejections and objections, and revel in the successes when I experience them. I am very fortunate to have a number of people in the same business who are mentoring me and helping me find my way, with encouragement and support and positivity. I couldn't do this without them and for that, I am eternally grateful.
But I think an even bigger thing for me is in my personal life. I have been single for just over two years now. I dislike being on my own, but I have become brave enough just very recently to say to hell with it, and to forget about looking for someone. I have, for reasons unknown to me, been attracted to guys who are (for whatever reason) unavailable. Those who were too afraid of whatever hurt them in the past to start something new, even though they were out there on the dating websites. Those who started something new and then weren't brave enough to deal with the intensity of emotions that went with it. Those who pretended to be interested and then bolted. Those who live so far away that starting something wasn't an option.
So for whatever reason, I would keep trying... trying to see if there was a glimmer of hope, but only usually succeeded in getting frustrated. Yeah, I know... I've read "He's Just Not That Into You", which was recommended to me by the guy who couldn't handle the intensity. I actually thanked him for that because it helped me a lot, but it wasn't until recently, in thinking on what I have been doing over the past two years, that I really came to the conclusion that I have been wasting time and effort on guys who just have not been worth that time and effort.
So I am now refocused. I am turning that energy back onto myself... onto improving who I am so that my life will be one that I can be proud of and happy with, whether or not there is a man in it. Because I certainly won't die if there isn't a man in it. Sure, it would be nice. But being single isn't the end of the world. The focus of my life now is to take care of me. Me and no one else. Well, me and Zoë and BB and Pips and Lila... and Thunder too, until I find him a new home.
But I am sure you get the picture. No more Ms Bend Over Backwards to make someone feel wanted, needed and special. Unless they become a client... that's different, because that will help my business grow, which is what I want.