It’s day two of the 30-day writing challenge…
Day 2: Where you’d like to be in 10 years
This is a really hard question for me. When I was 18, I had a 10-year plan… I was going to be a doctor. I changed my mind between psychiatrist and surgeon… but the lead up was similar… go to undergrad, go to medical school, be an intern… I was going to be a career woman. I was very type-A, I had my life written out by semester… each semester depending upon the classes that were available and weather or not I had to retake them… I would adjust the big picture plan…
Let me back up for a second… in the 7th grade, I decided I wanted to be a psychiatrist… (I joked that my vanity plates would read, “psych”… we said “sike!” a lot back then… we were lame)… during that time I had a computer class… I was really good in this class, I was making A’s… (in general, I was a C student because I was so sickly and missed a lot of school)… and my teacher even let me boot the computers each day at the beginning of class (with a 5 1/4 floppy disk). This was 1984, so we are talking ancient here. My parents even asked me if I wanted a computer… do you know what my response was?… “No, computers are a fad.” Haha! This cracks me up so much, because this changed my life forever and put me on an entirely different path!
*Meanwhile, my taste-tester did not have this same viewpoint and was diving into the computer world head first.*
So, I was a sickly kid… I keep saying that, but not really explaining… I was plagued with ear infections, ringing in the ears, and loss of hearing… which meant lots of antibiotics, and lots of surgeries (sometimes in the office, sometimes full-on days in the hospital). My first surgery happened when I was 5 years old. I had 25 operations (not counting in-office procedures) by the time I was 15. I didn’t do well on anesthesia, it would upset my stomach so much that I would have to stay in the hospital at least 3 days after surgery, I couldn’t hold down water. I’ve had my tonsils taken out twice (yes, twice… don’t ask me… my taste-tester claims I’m a starfish).
Each year I had some major illness/injury… the 6th grade I had mononucleosis & hepatitis (that year I suddenly became allergic to penicillin which made my recovery harder to achieve), the 7th grade I broke one ankle and sprained the other (tripped and fell while using my crutches) so I spent some time in a wheel chair (in case you weren’t aware, ear problems affect balance… I was very klutzy)… meanwhile, I was having lots of dental work… I had a major overbite, so I had all kinds of fun with various apparatuses in my mouth in middle school… I got braces the third day of school my freshman year of high school and they stayed on until April of my junior year (yes, I do know the exact date). If you’ve ever had braces, you know the amount of time spent at the dentist having them tightened and all that stuff.
In high school, I passed out a couple of times. No one knew why… so I was constantly having tests done. They thought I had epilepsy, and so they medicated me for that. Along with the stress of being scared of having an epileptic fit in school and them not really knowing the cause, I started having panic attacks which I described as my heart hurting. This led to me being put on a restrictive diet by a gastrologist which excluded fried foods, fatty foods, chocolate, and two other categories which I don’t recall… basically, I ate salad. The chocolate was the big one. I am and was a chocoholic. I ate this way for two years, and it sucked. After countless tests (EEG, MRI, etc), and numerous epileptic drugs (which I kept being allergic to… read: rashes and the like)… we finally decided it wasn’t epilepsy. Someone suggested allergies… so I had a back-scratch test done. Tuna fish became a giant welt on my back (means very allergic). Tuna was a staple in our diet. It is very likely that a tuna fish sandwich preceded each blackout. We also found out that I was allergic to dust mites and mold. One thing I did realize though, was that the gastrologist was a jackass… he didn’t even test me, so how would he know if I was allergic to chocolate?… I tried a piece of chocolate… and no, my throat did not close up and a tube was not put down my throat to help me breath – as he told me it would. My old diet returned. Boy did I make up for not having chocolate for two years! 🙂
The point? I lived at the hospital. I was constantly surrounded by that atmosphere. I had good doctors and I had bad. And the bad ones were the ones that made me want to be a doctor. What? See, I wanted to do something good in my life… I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make sure that no kid had to have the bad doctor… I would not only be a great doctor, but I’d have the bedside manner of a great friend. My favorite doctors made me feel at ease, with their corny jokes. I wanted to be like them.
But I was hardly ever in school, and while I was at home, I was usually ill and exhausted. All the medications made it hard for me to retain much information. I was a C student. Even worse, my counselor in high school, claimed that I was on the path to being accepted into college with a pre-med major… so how is it that I didn’t have chemistry, calculus, physics, and other classes that would prepare me for college? I couldn’t get into a 4 year college… not with my grades and test scores. I had to go to junior college first and transfer.
*Side note… I had yet another computer class in high school… a programming class. I made A’s… I even helped other students when they had run-on loops. Are you seeing a pattern yet?*
I was so preoccupied with my goal of becoming a doctor that I didn’t pay any attention to what I might actually be excelling in, so I struggled in college. When I went to the 4-year university my sophomore year, I realized that everyone else had been exposed to chemistry, physics, and calculus (other pre-med students)… whereas I had not. I took a very basic chemistry class, which I did ok in. But once I got to the freshman level classes of chemistry, physics, and calculus… I got my butt kicked. I made D’s and F’s… I had to retake the classes (the second time I’d take the class, I’d make a B and once averaged with the previous grade… It counted as a C). My GPA was only kept above average by my other courses… one of which was a logic class (very computer thinky) where I made an A. I even changed my major so that I could cut down on the science classes and bring up my GPA. No, I was not going to get into medical school, not this way. I kept at it though, I wasn’t going to be a quitter…
If only… if only I had been looking at the present… rather than staring at the future. If only someone would have given me permission to quit and look at what I could be doing that I enjoyed and was good at…
So here I sit… 21 years after I made that 10-year plan… not a doctor… not a career woman… but finally starting to see who I really am. I spent so much of my youth looking to the future that I missed out on the present. I look at this question, and frankly I’m scared to make another 10-year plan. I was so narrow-minded in my thinking that I would not and could not see beyond the plan, no matter how futile it started to become.
Here’s what I do know…
- In ten years, I’ll be 49 (eek).
- I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life.
- I like to listen to music with the piano as the primary instrument, I think it would be kinda cool to learn how to play one day.
- Through my taste-tester’s advice (and looking at past experiences), I’ve realized that I enjoy working with computers and have fun learning programming languages.
- I love to cook… I enjoy reading about food and nutrition…
- I’m having loads of fun playing with the dSLR camera and learning about photography.
- I like helping people.
- Little-bit is effectively 100+-years old (14 1/2 * 7 = 101.5), I want to make sure I am there for him, which means I will be a stay-at-home-doggie-mom.
- I would like to travel outside of this country at some point… I’ve never been overseas.
- I like to write, and I like math.
- I would rather live this chaotic life than be the type-A person I used to be.
- I like yoga, it makes me feel good.
As for plans, not gonna do it… wouldn’t be prudent. I’ve been down that road, I didn’t like it. This time, I’m going to play it by ear, and see where it takes me.
Ok… that was intense… for me at least. I don’t like going down that memory lane… so how about we switch to my more present chaotic life…
Yesterday, I took Little-bit to the beach! It was kinda cloudy… so the pictures are a touch gray… but nonetheless beautiful. I even got some really great pictures of birds in flight! Enjoy!
Until next time…