Day 3 Blogging Challenge: share a time you felt lost, and how you got “found.”
I’ve gotten lost and found quite a few times throughout my life. I’ve talked about some of those experiences in previous blog posts, but for those who haven’t read anything about my story, I’ll talk about one of them here. Honestly, this is a chapter of my life that was a little brief, and I really haven’t spoken in much detail about why I eventually chose to give it away. So, here it goes.
Aside from always having a passion for writing, I’ve always had a passion for helping people. Growing up, I knew that I always wanted to be a nurse someday. More specifically, I wanted to be a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse. That desire came from being born a preemie myself. I impatiently forced my way out into this world three months early, and I stayed in the NICU for seventy-seven days before finally being released to go home. The first year of my life was a critical one, as I was on and off of both a heart monitor and an oxygen monitor to keep me healthy. I rarely ask for all the details of this time from my parents. However, due to the complexities of my birth, I’ve always grown up hearing my mom sing the praises of the NICU nurses and doctors who played a role in saving my young life.
When I was fifteen, we had to do a job shadow of a career we were interested in for one of our classes. Of course, I chose to shadow a NICU nurse. My mom actually still had the contact information for one of the nurses who cared for me, and I was able to shadow her. That day, I also met one of the doctors who had taken care of me and remembered me. Needless to say, it was a pretty cool experience that solidified my desire to someday become a NICU nurse. From that point on, that’s the only career I had my sights set on.
Fast forward a few years later to college. I’ve always been very studious. I was that girl that was more focused on making good grades than partying in college. I was also very determined to get into nursing school on my first try of applying. I applied in the summer of 2010. It was agonizing waiting for an answer on whether or not I would get an interview. Until one day, I got a call and next thing I knew I had my interview scheduled for 12:15 on a September Friday afternoon. Good Lord, I was a nervous wreck that day. So nervous, in fact, that I literally got lost on my way there and found myself aimlessly driving around the streets of New Orleans in a panic because I just knew I was going to be late. Thank the Lord for a family friend who gave me directions over the phone (this was before gps was a big thing.) Anyway, I made it to my interview just in the nick of time. I literally cried in my interview because I was just so overwhelmed and my stress and anxiety levels were at an all time high. Seriously, they had to stop the interview for me for a few minutes, so that I could get some water and regain my composure. I walked out of that interview absolutely convinced that I blew it and my dream of getting into nursing school was gone and shattered in that moment.
Looking back, I should’ve recognized that as red flag number one, but I didn’t.
On October 25th, 2010, I got the call that I got into nursing school. So did one of my best friends. We were so excited to begin this journey of becoming nurses together! We started the following Spring semester in January 2011. I was so happy to finally be at LSU, and it was pretty cool to be in downtown New Orleans everyday and go to different healthcare facilities in the area. However, by December 2012, I realized that the nursing career I thought I wanted for myself wasn’t what I wanted at all. I had spent the last two years of my life essentially forcing myself to excel toward a career that really wasn’t meant for me. I was terrified to tell my parents that I wanted to leave nursing school because I was scared of disappointing them. More importantly, I was scared of disappointing myself. I had had this plan for my life for as long as I could remember, and there I was, making the extremely difficult decision to walk away from it all.
Little did I know then, that this would mark the beginning of the life-altering decisions I would make in the years following my resignation from nursing school. So at 22 years old, I left nursing school with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do next. I was absolutely devastated, and I slowly sunk myself into a mild depression. I won’t say that it was severe by any means. It would get worse about two years later, but it was definitely the start of a decline of emotions for me. Those closest to me noticed it, but I always just said that I was okay and everything was fine. Eventually, I graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree the following year, and started working a job outside of the healthcare field.
Over the years since then, I certainly lost myself. I lost a piece of me when I left nursing school, and I lost a piece of me later on when I walked away from a relationship that was no longer adding any value to my life. Or at least I thought I had.
In time, I realized that neither one of those chapters of my life were meant to be a permanent part of my story. They were always meant to be temporary and to be some of the best teachers of the most difficult lessons I’ve ever had to learn. A career never defined me. A relationship never defined me. And it’s completely okay to wake up one day and realize that you’ve outgrown those things and need something more. So, in those moments, yes, I felt like I completely lost myself. I’ve said in the past how I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the person staring back at me, and that is the absolute truth. However, I found myself on the other side of those heartbreaks and disappointments.
And what I found was a woman who was strong enough to let go of all the things in her past that were not meant to have a place in her future.