MARIETTA Ė Creating a New Career at Mid-Life
Itís a complicated issue when you lose structure in your life; you canít focus on anything. Before your life changed, you had a system you always fell back on. What the hell do you do when itís ripped from you? You donít know how to live now, so youíre stuck. You donít know where to go next. Having lost all your confidence, all your systems, you have to recreate your life.
It was clear I wasnít able to do it by myself. I was immobilized by fear and ignorance of what the world was about. My world had collapsed around me, and I had no idea what was going on in the larger world. I knew there were doctors, lawyers, nurses, garbagemen and policemen, but I didnít know what people did to take care of themselves or to be useful in this life.
So, I went to see Rose. The biggest thing was that she didnít try to change the way I looked at the world or to change me, but to figure out how to look at myself in a way that I had not done before. Now, in this new place, I had to see how I fit into it, and I didnít think I could.
She never told me to DO anything, except to learn to use the computer. She gave me the manual for the Mac and said, ďUse my office anytime you like, and just go up and use this thing.Ē I was hysterical because I couldnít figure it out. I thought I was stupid. I figured out it was a function of how you look at things. ďYou have to think about it [the computer] as your desk and a lot of folders." On one of those days when I was so frustrated because I couldnít get it, I thought I would end up as a bag lady. I looked down from her office window, where people were going to lunch and talking to each other, and I said, ďWhat do these people DO all day?Ē I just didn't know.
That started me thinking about how I fit into life. It wasnít easy and it took a long time. I thought Rose would just tell me what to do and everything would be all right. I had to do some self-analysis and meet myself in places not particularly attractive, and see myself as others saw me.
It turned out to be easy after that, because once I had a direction and a notion that somebody had faith in me, then I figured I could do it. I was something to be salvaged. It gave me back my confidence, and I felt that I could do anything.
I went to nursing school after a lot of reflection because I figured out what was important to me: to make a living and have a profession/skill that was portable. I realized freedom was what I needed, and you have a lot of autonomy in the job. It's been perfect for me.
I never would have been able to go to nursing school, get a job in the ER at 50 years old unless Iíd gotten the confidence back that I could do something, that my age didnít matter.
I used to say, "I can do anything!" But Rose would say, "No, you canít. You can do SOMETHING." I got a BSN, then a MSN and certification as a nurse practitioner. And I have a black convertible.
Itís terrifying, but if you donít go for it, you donít know that you CAN do it. Once you do, then itís nothing. Iím not scared of anything now.
I never thought I would be this free.