If someone had asked me at age 18, how the path I planned would go, I would have said that I would go to nursing school, then medical school to become a pediatrician. I would have met my future husband while in college and had three kids by the age of 30, and we would have grown old together. Oh boy, how I was wrong. I did finish nursing school (in 5 years instead of 4 and my parents are grateful that I finished at all). Medical school did not happen and I was not married with three kids by the age of 30.
Life, however, has been more interesting. I did get married, at the age of 31. I had my first child two days before my 33rd birthday, my second at age 35 and stopped there. My marriage did not last, though not for lack of trying on my part.I decided not to go to medical school after nursing school. I was a pediatric nurse for much of my 18-year career, so I sort of followed that dream.
Life dealt a series of blows along the way that darn near sunk my ship. There was the unfortunate and life-threatening illness of my now former husband. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder at age 35. My youngest child has autism and my oldest has ADHD. I am a working single mom, an RN Case Manager instead of a pediatric RN.
Am I sad for the way this has turned out? No, I am not. I have met many wonderful people along the way. I have had experiences that I wouldn’t have changed, and some that weren’t so great. All of the trials and tribulations have brought me here, at age 41, to a whole and more well-rounded person. Yes, there are parts I could have handled better or skipped altogether. I don’t particularly like having mental illness and I wish my children, for their sakes, did not have challenges to deal with.
But if these things had not happened and if life had gone according to my plan at age 18, I would have missed out on the two most precious gifts God has given me, my beautiful children. They are both sweet. My oldest is sensitive, kind, and thoughtful. My youngest finds joy in unexpected things, and gives hugs like a linebacker.
At age 41, with all the trials and tribulations, I can honestly say that I am happy with how things have turned out and am hopeful for the years to come.