When I was three years old I declared that I was going to be a Doctor when I grew up. It started after a hospital stay to get tubes put in my ears. It was fifteen years later, and three weeks into my first semester of University when I changed my mind.
Biology 100. I had to dissect a fetal pig. I have had this blocked out of my memory and have been keeping it stored with all my other traumatic life experiences, but I needed to bring it back out today for this post. When I saw that fetal pig floating in a jar, I decided that I could never be a doctor because I couldn’t even handle the sight of it. Being a Doctor involves lots of yucky stuff, but I apparently I didn’t realise that until I was already enrolled in the Science Program.
I transferred to another University mid-semester and I decided NOT to drop Bio 100, but continue on with the credit to keep my options open. Low and behold, I had to dissect ANOTHER one, and then I knew for absolute sure at that point that being a doctor was NOT going to be for me. My poor lab partners...I was a wreck.
But recently, I have been thinking. I have been in contact with many other gross things over the last ten years that might be worse than that pickled fetal pig. In fact, gross things happen to me all the time, now that I’m a mother. In the past year alone, I can think of many examples. Here are a few of them: (Beware, I’m gonna get graphic here)
· Poop- of all shapes, sizes and textures, stuck in places that it shouldn’t be
· Snot- of all shapes, sizes and textures, stuck in places that it shouldn’t be
· A Dead Bird- brought forth to the porch as apparently a sign of having a great time playing in the backyard. Ew.
· Mouldy Food- forgotten in someone’s desk at school for three months, but someone thought it would be cool to bring it home to show me. Ummm no.
· Puke- puddled on a pillow, in a dark bedroom, just waiting for my palm during the midnight check-on. She was NOT sick when she went to bed. BLAH!
OK, that’s enough. I can barely handle these examples now. Ewww. Anyways…
The point I am trying to make here, is that I have accepted the fact that I am going to have deal with gross things once in a while. Mainly because (and I ask myself this quite frequently) what choice do I really have? I can’t hide away in the closet everyday just to avoid it. I realised that being a Doctor meant having to deal with icky stuff on a daily basis and, at the time, I didn’t think that I could handle it. Maybe I was right, or maybe I was just immature, naive, selfish and stupid?
When I think back to that time in my life, I keep wondering if I was completely crazy to give up on my childhood dream. Was my little eighteen year old brain really capable of making such a drastic path-changing, destiny- altering decision? I don’t think so, but I did it anyways.
I feel like it’s just not fair because I really do care about people. I even think that I care enough about people that in an emergency situation, something gross probably wouldn’t even bother me that much, now. I also love Science and making discoveries. But I don’t even remember thinking that I had any choice after that fetal pig dissection. I didn’t even for one second consider the love I had for helping people . *Sigh* I just couldn't handle that damn fetal pig!
The one and only thing that keeps me from spiralling into a free-fall of regrets when I think about leaving my dream behind is the fact that if I had of continued on that path, I wouldn’t have the life that I have right now.
I wouldn’t be surrounded by little girl giggles all day, every day. There would be no cheerios stuck to the bottom of my socks. Or a collection a pictures and notes made ‘just for mommy’ on the fridge. I would have never heard of a Pokémon or understand the coolness of their evolutions. I wouldn’t be the best side-of-the-highway: bum changer/breast feeder/soother finder/referee/snack administrator in the world. The names Toopy and Binoo would mean absolutely nothing to me and my ability to sing every single word, to every single show opening, on the Disney channel would be non-existent. I know, I know…you SHOULD be impressed. It’s taken me years to accomplish this. *Pats self on back*
Also, I wouldn’t be able to periodically gaze down at my hand to see a beautiful wedding band circling my finger. It symbolizes the greatest love of my life. It hurts me to think that there was even a small chance I may have not chosen the right path to get me to my love. I am thankful for the fetal pig at this point.
I have absolutely nothing to complain about when it comes to my life. But what I DO have is a problem with questioning EVERYTHING. Is it ever enough? Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing? Do I like who I am right now? Am I good enough? Can I handle this? I question everything.
I worked really hard for the University Degree that I have, but I even question that sometimes. I have to convince myself that this accomplishment and the life experiences that I have gained along the way were all worth it. Worth not pursuing my dream to be a doctor.
In the time that it would have taken me to go through medical school, I have had my heart broken a few times, gave birth twice, fell in love and married my soul mate, finished a university degree, started a new career, broke some hearts, ended a career, met new friends, lost a few friends, got hired, got fired, moved to a new province, gained fifty pounds, learned to knit, lost forty pounds, learned to sew, won ten dollars on a lottery ticket.... The list could go on and on, but let’s just say a lot has happened to me in the past ten years. Good, bad and ugly, but they are all events that have gotten me to this happy moment in time. My life.
If I had of followed my childhood dream, I would be a doctor by now. I am sure I would be happy, successful, and definitely very proud of myself for such a huge accomplishment. I would probably wake up every morning, drink a pot of coffee or two, remind myself of all my student loan debt, go to work taking care of people, listen to (and try to understand) problems with my patients, make a diagnosis or two, and write prescriptions for what I think would help them. I would look back through text books for references when I couldn't figure something out, have more than enough money in my bank account, and probably go to bed at night knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life.
Oh wait, that’s weird. I do all that NOW, and I am not a Doctor. I’m a MOM, and a WIFE!
Being a mom and a wife appears to be very similar to being a doctor, eh? Who knew? Well, except for the $$$$’s in my bank account. No one ever has “more than enough” money in their bank account because we always want more than we have, right? We don’t have a lot of money, but it’s OK because it’s all we need right now.
So I guess that’s it then. I figured it out. Maybe it was never really a Doctor that I wanted to be? Maybe, all that time my real dream was to be a wife and a mother, but I just didn’t know it. It would explain why I am actually very content with my life right now. It feels like the head/heart battle most of the time. My head tells me to focus on my career, but my heart tells me that focusing on my family is exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now. I'm letting my heart win this round.
So let's rewind time to yesterday when I found myself, yet again, aimlessly browsing a University website. I do this from time to time. I’m not sure why, but it feels like I have unfinished business with it or something. Ya see? Always wondering, questioning and searching for ways to find my “purpose” in life. I am always looking for something more. This mindless browsing would end up being the inspiration to write this post. It was an Oprah “Ah-ha moment” for me. It was the moment that I let it go. The regrets and the lost dream, I just let it go. Maybe not for forever, but at least for right now.
It went down like this:
While browsing course descriptions, Gianna approached me and wrapped her little arms around my neck for a hug and looked over my shoulder at the computer screen.
Gianna: What cha looking at mommy?
Me: University courses.
Gianna: Are you looking at courses for ME already mom? ...I’m only seven years old ya know.
Me: *Nose Laugh* (the kind where you just snuff out a quick short puff of air from your nose)
Gianna: You aren't going to go to University again are you Mommy? (Slight confusion and disbelief in her tone)
Me: (with a slight 4.27 second hesitation: the time it took me to come up with and process everything in the above 18 paragraphs) No, I'm not Gianna. I AM looking at courses for YOU. What do you want to be when YOU grow up? …I already know what I want to be.
“Whoever believes in dreams also knows how to interpret them.” –Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist