I took the weekend off from grading papers. The challenge of working from home is to make sure I don’t work constantly. My goal is to work about 7 hours per day from home and then walk away from it and fulfill my personal responsibilities, and to have fun of course. Working from home seems more effective because when I go to my office it’s a 2-hour round trip on the train. I’d rather work those two hours. I figure I now have 128 papers to grade so it will take a couple of days if I stick to it. And I have to say that I really enjoy reading my students’ comments. I taught one class about self-care and stress management and it’s interesting to read their responses. Another class is learning to critique research articles and they are brilliant. And my third class is learning to do head-to-toe physical exams and since they are already nurses, their thought process is professional and fascinating.
Quinn, Marlo, Eve
This was our first Easter without Steve. We really did OK. The whole family was here, including my daughter who I have been worried about. She seems OK, but she has quit telling me details of her life because I worry too much and nag her. That’s fine with me because I would just as soon not know and not worry. Three of my grandchildren could not be here, but they will be here next year. Being with family is just the best. And things change so fast. For each get together, the kids are a little older and have different ways of looking at things. Steve left us when they were young and I believe he will be watching as they grow. So it’s hard to say that I’m sorry he won’t see them grow up. He will.
I returned Saturday night from my two-week vacation and basically I’ve been grading papers ever since. I had 85 papers waiting for me when I got back. I have plowed through those. I have to say, my nursing students are brilliant. And now I have 128 brief assignments to grade. My goal is to finish them this weekend. If it takes me three minutes to grade each paper, then it will only take 384 minutes to finish. Of course my other goal for the weekend is to clean the house up, which is covered with construction dust, and get ready for a big family get together for Easter Sunday. The good news is that my kitchen floor tiles have been laid.
I just watched Steel Magnolias and couldn’t help but think about my daughter when Sally Field’s character tried to convince her daughter, Julia Roberts’ character, to listen to her and take care of herself. She said “Don’t get pregnant. It will kill you.” But of course, Julia’s character got pregnant anyway because she really, really wanted a baby. And it killed her. I had a long chat with my daughter today and tried to convince her that her current relationship has so many red flags that she should stop the madness. She said, “You’re right Mom” and went anyway to meet her boyfriend and continue with plans that are sure to end in disaster. It’s challenging to see the writing on the wall but unable to protect our children who can’t seem to read. The love, worry, joy and pain that comes with parenthood is a never-ending experience. l love my daughter and wish her well and as usual I will be here to pick up the pieces.
I am back from my 14-day holiday from reality. When I got home the remodel on my kitchen and two bathrooms had begun. I feel like the remodel on my life has also begun. I’ve made some decisions about where I want to go and who I want to be in this new chapter of my life, and will share those in this blog as I go along.
Sid and Glenda
After leaving Costa Rica I flew to Puerto Rico, and with only 15 minutes to spare, boarded the cruise ship “Adventure of the Seas.” I met my son and his fiance, Sid and Melissa, and her parents, Carrie and Kevin, and proceeded to have a great time. Here are some highlights: We won a Motown music trivia contest (well, what do you expect? It was MOTOWN!). Sid blew the audience away with his Michael Jackson karoake and break dancing performance. Sid and Melissa were on stage for the Newlywed Game. Very embarrassing! We zip lined on St. Martin. Did a lot of dancing all over the ship. Rested a lot. And then Sid and Melissa got married on Friday aboard ship.
Sid and Melissa
Much like what happened in Costa Rica, I met some wonderful people on the cruise. One lady was crocheting a prayer shawl during one of the game shows. I told her how much I loved the prayer shawl that I received a couple years ago. I learned that she had lost her husband a year ago, and she told me, “You can do this!” She was traveling alone and having a great time. I met another lady on a catamaran trip who had lost her mother recently and we just talked and talked about our experience losing a loved one. My take-home: We really have a lot in common with each other and can support and love one another through trials. We are more alike than different.
I just attended a big dance party. My 7 days in Costa Rica have been wonderful. I came looking for a purpose and have left knowing that as long as I live authentically and in the present, my purpose will take care of itself. I feel free and happy. And I have met some beautiful, caring people here. I am heading for Puerto Rico tomorrow to get on a cruise ship for 7 days. The captain of the ship will marry my son Sid to Melissa. Yes, I will have a million papers to grade and lots to catch up on when I return. That’s OK. I can do this. Life is perfect. I won’t have Internet access on the cruise so won’t be blogging, unless I find an Internet cafe somewhere. Have a great week!
This whole “where do I want to go from here?” adventure is fascinating. One moment I am stuck and the next moment ideas and feelings flood in.
I went shopping in the local town here in Costa Rica yesterday and bought some sun dresses and a necklace and sandals. I never wear sundresses but they “spoke to me” so I got them. I spent the time with Tina who I met on the shuttle and we had so much in common and just had a great time chatting and shopping. Afterwards I went zip lining with Marci and LOVED it. So hot but so beautiful. When I got back to my room I Googled “How do you find your life purpose?” Interestingly, Mormon.org was the first website that came up. I think that was telling me that I already know how to find my purpose; maybe I just forgot. I went to another website and the author said if I live with passion my purpose will reveal itself. That made sense. Maybe instead of looking for a specific, detailed purpose I should live with passion and authenticity. Isn’t that enough? Do I really need to know EXACTLY where I am going? The spirit will guide me. Living fully engaged in the present moment instead of worrying where I am going may be the answer I am looking for. How hard is that?
On the way to breakfast this morning I was wearing a new sundress and the first person who saw me said that was the most colorful thing he had seen me wear and I looked great. This seemed like a metaphor for living with passion. Living with color. Trying new things. Moving forward. Bring it on!
Marci and Glenda after zip lining
I did tai chi in my room today and it felt great. Then I went to a yoga class. I used to do yoga regularly so thought I would give it a go. Well, the teacher was great but I was in pain the whole time. I asked myself why I stayed, what was my purpose for torturing myself? When my friend Joyce got up and left I felt relieved and followed her out. We had a lovely breakfast together. But really, why did I wait until she left yoga to give myself permission to leave? How often do I stay in painful situations or relationships waiting for the “right time ” to leave?
I am meeting some wonderful people here at the holistic nursing conference in Costa Rica. Today I met a Mormon woman who recently lost her husband. We sat by the pool and had a long talk. We have a lot in common. I had dinner with twio Italian women, a mother and daughter. One had seen The Book of Mormon musical and had a lot of questions. We had a great time. When she translated what I said into Italian for her mother I just loved the sound of it. Differences really don’t matter do they? So many people gathered on the beach to watch the sunset. I felt like a part of something. It was stunning.
I thought it was important to see my neurosurgeon and eye socket surgeon before I leave the country next week. My neurosurgeon visit was great, and my brain is “outstanding.” I visited my eye socket surgeon yesterday. My appointment was at 3:10. I take the train and it takes about an hour to get there. I arrived a few minutes early and as usual, everyone was friendly and caring.
I waited ONE HOUR in the waiting room. My anger kept building and oh, the conversations I had in my head! “I will give them 10 more minutes and then I’m outa here!” “If I leave now, the one-hour train ride would have been worthless.” “What am I, chopped liver? Why doesn’t someone explain the hold-up and apologize and offer me free lunch?” “Calm down. Take a deep breath. I need to make sure my eye socket is OK before I travel.” “Why didn’t I bring a book to read?!” I was just getting so mad. I posted my frustration on Facebook. It felt good.
They FINALLY called my name and took me back to the room, did some tests and then left me alone for another half hour!! Really?? The surgeon came in three times after that but since my MRI was not up on the computer screen, he asked someone to get it up and then left. I mentioned my frustration to the intern, and he was understanding. When the surgeon finally stayed in the room, he was super kind and caring. We had a great visit and I learned a lot about my eye socket condition (there’s a hole in it). He said the constant pulsing will very most likely go away in 2-3 years. Waiting for the healing is better than the risk of surgery. He also said my brain and surgical site looked very, very good. I did not mention my frustration about waiting an hour and 50 minutes to see him.
I got on the elevator and mentioned to the stranger in there with me that this was a 4 hour physician visit: an hour travel time each way and then spending 2 hours in the office to see the surgeon for ten minutes. She asked me who I saw and I told her and she said, “Well, you saw the best of the best. It was worth the wait.” That calmed me down, and I appreciated her comment. I released my anger (I really have better things to take up my thoughts) and I have re-learned a valuable lesson from long ago: When making a physician’s appointment, get the first appointment in the morning, or the first appointment after lunch. Then you wont’ have to wait so long.
I am busily getting ready for my trip: One week at a Holistic Nurse Retreat called Find Your Zen: A Renewal and Leaning Adventure in Costa Rica. Then I’ll fly to Puerto Rico to join my son Sid and his fiance Melissa and her parents for a cruise in the Southern Caribbean, where Sid and Melissa will get married by the Captain of the ship. I’m so glad they serendipitously chose my semester break to schedule their wedding. It would have been a challenge to get away from my job.
Speaking of jobs, I love my job as associate professor at the University of Utah College of Nursing. Students are so smart, friendly, professional, and eager to learn. Faculty are enthusiastic, supportive, and love the students. I am at the right place at the right time for me right now. So… what’s my next step?
I feel that it is time to take a look at how I want to spend this new chapter in my life. I’ve been working on small goals, like learning to cook, getting enough exercise, eating better, but what about the big picture? Is there something I want to dedicate the rest of my years to? What do I want to know? What do I want to do? Who do I want to be?Steve and I were just barely starting to discuss what we would do in our retirement years, and now that he’s gone, I need to take a long look at what’s next. Right now I think I would like to spend time in service to others. But how will that look? I’m hoping that the retreat in Costa Rica will give me the opportunity to really do some deep digging. I don’t want to just let life go by. I want to be focused and thrilled and excited and happy and make a difference. Bring it on!