Saturday, November 24, 2012

To Be Here Now

A few weeks ago, I took the train to New York to see my dear friend, J.  It was a week after Superstorm Sandy devastated the East coast and they had managed to turn a post-Halloween costume party that was doubling as a birthday party for one of their dogs into a kind-of-fundraiser "Wear a Costume and Bring a Canned Good" party that extended the promise to lots of friends that if we provided food and booze, then they should donate a little something to the hurricane relief effort.  Oh, and everyone had to wear a mustache.  (We provided those too, lest anyone show up and lament that they couldn't wear a mustache because they just didn't own one.)

Sitting on the couch, chatting with a friend of theirs whom I hadn't met before, he said something and I replied something about one of my patients from the week before.  Then this happened:

Him: Oh, where do you work?
Me: Oh, I'm still in school, in nursing school.
Him: At NYU?
Me: No, no, I live in Connecticut, actually.  I used to live in the city, which is how I know these guys.
Him: Whereabouts in Connecticut?
Me: New Haven...
J (from across the room): She goes to Yale - Cait, you go to Yale, it's okay to tell people that!

Enter me blushing furiously, and why, exactly?  I mean, yes, I go to Yale.  But I go to grad school there, which is something that - at least in my head - is fundamentally different than coming out the other side of the lions' den that is their undergraduate admissions process.  For whatever myriad of reasons, I don't talk about where I go to school.  I don't like the connotations that the name carries, and I certainly don't think it lends me any extra clout or prestige in the nursing world.  But grad school itself (nameless or otherwise) is something of which I am intensely proud.

College was a given in my family.  Not because either of my parents finished their own college educations.  And certainly not because we could afford to be sending all seven children on to four years of post-secondary education.  No, purely because my mother was bound and determined that we would all be given the best possible future she could muster for us and so out went the TV, in came the homework and the extracurriculars and the part-time jobs and the wrinkled-up cried-over admissions essays but by golly, she did it.  We all went.  Every last stinking one of us.  And by the time I was old enough to be aware of it, the standard was set: I was going to college.

Grad school, on the other hand, was up to me.  From start to finish.  And there are days, still, where I look around at my life and I think, holy shit and Is this real? And it is!  It is real!  I actually am in grad school, becoming a nurse, and then later becoming a nurse-midwife and it's so freaking cool that it still makes me smile.  I am proud of myself for being here.  That I got myself here, all by myself.  That I'm doing this with my life.  And that when the question arises: What would you do with your life if you could do anything at all?

My answer is this.  Exactly what I'm doing right now.

30 Days Hath November
Day 01: A place I'd like to travel.
Day 02: A favourite movie.
Day 03: Something I never leave the house without.
Day 04: A friend I adore.
Day 05: My hometown.
Day 06: A book I'm reading.
Day 07: A song for the day.
Day 08: Three inspirational quotes.
Day 09: A close-up of my day.
Day 10: A favourite recipe.
Day 11: Three years ago today.
Day 12: The last item I purchased.
Day 13: Something I'm proud of.

1 comment:

Wiley said...

This is awesome! So glad you feel like you're on the right path.