Monday, September 3, 2012

Midlife Crisis?

A wee bit of depression tonight as I had been expecting to start nursing school tomorrow morning.  I know I made the right decision by not attending a school with limited accreditation, but still the disappointment is there.

I have ambivalent feelings about the whole idea of nursing school now.  There is another program I can get into and begin this winter, and yet another school that I can start next September, but now I'm not 100% sure.  I wanted to do this quite badly, but now I'm feeling...well...old.

I suppose I'm having more than just a little bit of a midlife crisis right now.  This whole issue of nursing school has really hammered home to me the fact that I'm getting old; perhaps too old to pursue certain things in life.

I still feel that I'm in pretty good shape, I lift weights and work out regularly, eat organic foods, supplement where necessary, etc., but no matter how relatively youthful I may be for 53thiscloseto54, employers don't necessarily view me the way I do.  I have communicated with many nurses in the past month, almost all of whom have told me that most facilities squeeze out "older" nurses, which means nurses in their 50s and 60s.  The idea of being hired for my very first nursing position with my age hovering near 60 by the time I finish school is not very realistic of me, or so I've been told.  Oh, there will be a job for me somewhere, but likely in a doctor's office or urgent care facility for around $16 per hour.  Well, I already qualify for that job as a medical assistant, so why bother becoming a nurse?

Perhaps I need to learn to set aside some dreams.  After all, every youthful dream can't be realized.  The garbage we were fed in the '70s and '80s (and continue to feed our children I fear) that one can "have it all" is just that...garbage.   As a man I know who is a wonderful counselor once told me, life is a series of trade offs.  We can't have it all.  We need to make choices and decide where our priorities and greatest passions are, then act accordingly.  At least that's the direction my philosophy is leading me tonight as I write this entry.  Who knew blogging would be such wonderful therapy!

As I write this the correct decision for me has become quite clear.  I am going to work at my happy-hippy job at the health food/supplement store for now, continue looking for a medical assisting position, and line up some shorter medical programs to take where I can earn additional certifications to make me more valuable (and higher paid) as a medical assistant.

I'm also going to pursue my writing and art in earnest once I get settled (until then I'll continue dabbling).  These are dreams that I've had all my life too, definitely a stronger desire than nursing.  Unfortunately I don't have the talents and abilities in these areas as I do in medicine, which I seem to have a natural knack for.

Fortunately, writing and art know no age limit!  Since the old proverb says that practice makes perfect, I have a perfect excuse to practice, practice, practice in pursuit of perfection!

While we're speaking of art (oh, what an awful segue!), I thought I'd post a couple of pictures of some wooden bracelets I've been working on.  They're not particularly good (it's a strange sensation to work on a bowed surface instead of flat), but they were great fun and if art isn't fun, then why bother?

I don't really feel I can call these "art", perhaps they belong in the category of "crafts".  For what it's worth, here they are.

The first is Dragonfly Dreams, done in acrylics with a bit of metallics and a dusting of pixie dust (okay, it's really microfine glitter) for a touch of whimsy.  Sealed over with numerous coats of glossy acrylic.

The next is called Faerie Flower.  It's kind of hard to see by the photo, but the background is a lavender/periwinkle ombre with rose-toned flowers, vines and buds, little silver-toned faeries near a few blossoms sprinkling a bit of magic dust, metallic silver lining the inside of the bracelet with microfine glitter and glossy acrylic.  All paint is acrylic.

And finally I  have one that's not painted at all and definitely belongs in the "craft" category.  An old copy of The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien was literally falling apart, and rather than throwing it out (since The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of my favorite books of all time), I decided to repurpose some of the pages and make a bracelet of them.  I took this from the chapter "Treebeard" and selected some of my favorite phrases from the chapter.

At the ends of the cuff I placed the chapter name on one side and the author's name and book title on the other side.

I'm just learning how to add pictures, etc., so I hope you'll be tolerant if the pictures turn out too big or sideways, etc.

I took advice from a friend and finally did something with the Etsy store I opened years ago but never did I thing with.  I've listed these items.  Who knows.  Maybe I'll sell one some day. LOL!  If not, at least I'm having a good time with it, and that's what counts, yes?

Wishing every reader a blessed day!

P.S.  Etsy store is:


  1. Oh I do think these are marvelous, Ms. Cate Crackernuts (I so love that title!). I think it takes a while to get going on Etsy (there is so much to see over there!), but once things start moving, I think you build loyal customers. I keep thinking I'll go back and open the store I had there years ago myself but just haven't had the energy to figure out just what to put in there. LOL

    I also know what you mean about letting go of some dreams at this age. I had always wanted to go to beauty school, since back in high school. I've got my BBA, I have a job (since I live in a more rural area, I'm lucky to have a job that pays what this one does, even though it is $11,000 less a year than I made ten years ago), I have a husband who supports everything I want to do, and I still wanted to go to beauty school. When I lost my job a year ago, we decided the time was right. I started it, enjoyed most of the schooling, went five weeks and then was contacted by the new company that bought my old company and was asked to interview. Long story short, I took the job. Decent money in the purse now versus likelihood of not making close to that when I finished made the decision for me. Plus another $17k in student loans on top of those I still carry from my get the idea.

    I also thought I could be a student forever. Unlike you, I don't feel healthy any longer. I started gaining weight when I was 43 and nothing seems to help get it off. The fibromyalgia aches and pains and fatigue prevent me from being able to exercise like I used to also. That fatigue has me down for the idea of schooling. The only thing I still play with, dream and school wise, is the thought of earning a second degree in fine art. Maybe something to look into but I don't know...

    Anyway, I do believe God will bring a peace to your heart, I truly do. Sometimes just letting go (of dreams?) has that unexpected blessing of bringing peace in the end. Kind of a relief letting ourselves off the hook, so to speak. You know I deal with perfectionism as you've been reading my blog. It definitely is a tough row to hoe, yes?

    My favorite of these is the last one. Something about the printed word...I love it! If I could stand things on my wrist bones I'd be your first customer! What did you use to seal these? You have managed a beautiful smooth texture that I love and have never been able to achieve.

    So sorry for the book!!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement regarding Etsy. Back when I used to work in the little gift shop, some of my coworkers opened Etsy shops and after time they've done quite nicely.

    My favorite is the last one too. I'm not really happy about how the other two turned out, especially the floral one. I love the words though. Since I love book and writing and could spend every day reading if life allowed it, it's a natural that I'm most attracted to that one.

    I'm sorry things didn't work out regarding beauty school. I think this is kind of my beauty school experience. Letting go of the idea of nursing school is a good thing, or at least the right thing for me I believe. My hubby keeps trying to encourage me to do it next year, but I don't think so. While I may feel healthy for my age, I do feel like Bilbo Baggins some days. You know the quote..." I'm old, Gandalf. I know I don't look it, but I'm beginning to feel it in my heart. I feel... thin. Sort of stretched, like... butter scraped over too much bread". The physical demands of the job, especially when first starting out, are best left to the young I think.

    I'm looking at taking an online course in health services administration. The way I figure it I'll be working until I'm 70 (late 60s at least). Thought I would continue with working at my hippy health store part time (I LOVE being there and love the people - it just pays horribly), would work part time as an MA too (1-2 days a week), and then take courses online toward my Bachelor's Degree in HSA. That way I could transition into a desk/administration function sometime in my 60s so I can get off my feet. I would probably work in gerontology if possible to help improve conditions at nursing home or other long term care facilities. That's today's idea anyway.

    To be perfectly honest, I've worked full time as a medical assistant and each time I've had to quit because it became too much for me. They expect 12 hour days with no meal breaks, if I got to even use the bathroom it was a treat. The stress was outrageous as well (some doctors are tyrants). I could do it for a while, but then would end up having crying jags at home and just utterly exhausted emotionally and physically.

    No. I'm no spring chicken. Looking at my MA experience should have told me that the window of opportunity for me to enter the nursing field has closed. It would be just as brutal, even more so in fact. I think this was all a blessing in disguise.

    Seems I'm writing a book too! LOL!

    I think you should consider getting a degree in fine art. It's your passion, and it's something you can pursue for a lifetime. That is the wonderful thing about the arts. They are for a lifetime, not just for the young.

  3. Oh, I used DuraClear matte varnish to finish the bracelets off, but it still came out super glossy.