The Past, The Future, and The Beach…

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…

  1. In ten years, I’ll be 49 (eek).
  2. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. I love to cook… I enjoy reading about food and nutrition…
  6. I’m having loads of fun playing with the dSLR camera and learning about photography.
  7. I like helping people.
  8. 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.
  9. I would like to travel outside of this country at some point… I’ve never been overseas.
  10. I like to write, and I like math.
  11. I would rather live this chaotic life than be the type-A person I used to be.
  12. 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…


5 thoughts on “The Past, The Future, and The Beach…

  1. aw, WHY can’t you live in Portland? I think we’d be great friends, and our Long Dogs would be also. 🙂

    I love this post… (well, I love learning about people, and I love the message and how it ends… I don’t love all you went through – sorry!) and your photos are fabulous!

    • spabettie – Oh thank you! I was actually having blogger’s remorse… feeling like I might have revealed too much… but yeah, I really just wanted to say that I’ve learned to pay attention to the present.

      Little-bit loves dachshunds… I tease him that he’s a giant dachshund… usually dachshunds just bark at him and run away, so he hasn’t gotten to play with one yet. I think he’d love to meet Basil! 🙂

  2. Wow, you went through a lot. That really sucks and I’m sorry to read about all of that (25 surgeries, seriously?? Ugh). And then all that stuff with middle school through high school? Mono and hep in one year?? Good lord. I am happy to read you are healthy now and thats all behind you.

    Ok, I need to move to San Diego. Just gotta figure out a way to make this happen now!

    • simplyshaka – Yeah… I don’t really like thinking about the unhealthy past… ya know. Ugh is right. mono and hep at the same time. 😐

      But yeah, all behind me now. Healthy, happy. 🙂

      San Diego is pretty nice. I gotta admit… when I was telling people in Virginia that we were thinking about moving here, the comment that kept coming up, no matter who I talked to, was “nice weather”. I thought that meant that the rest was something to fear. No. It’s a nice place… pretty dog friendly too. And yeah… the weather is GREAT! 🙂

      p.s. trying to make this comment reply by email thingy work… so far I’ve read that if you cc the person then they will get the email too (the comment should show up on my page automatically.)

  3. Pingback: Sunny Saturday… « The Auspicious Squirrel

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