Some weeks ago on Facebook there was a video posting from someone I follow. I can't say I'm actually a "friend" or acquaintance; we’ve actually never met (and I seriously doubt my name is even known) but I enjoy his postings. Heck, they make me laugh out loud and/or spurt coffee through my nose if I'm not careful. I look forward to them, knowing I'm going to smile or laugh and getting to know him just a little bit better. I like the last part, too. I'm always curious about people.
We have something in common. Both of us have had reasonably successful careers then decided to go back to something we loved but did not complete or follow up on. What makes it ironic, to me anyway, is that what we are changing to. I’m going from a health care profession to a more expressive one---fiction writing ; he is going from an expressive one in the performing arts to--- a health care profession. One of the most demanding ones, too. It is a 180 degree turn for the both of us, from the highly competitive to the highly sought after for him and vice versa for me. I cannot help but wonder at the stories we could tell each other as we pass each other on that road. I know the ones I would tell him if I could.
Some folks might describe such career or life changes as a mid-life crisis but I really hate the term ‘crisis’. The term is such a negative one, associated with fear, unexpected change, and other negatives. Pshaw! Yes, it’s scary; I suspect it is for both of us but I don’t think the change came slamming down on us like a full blown code at the change of shift (a simile from my old profession). No, I think completely otherwise.
For myself it wasn’t a sudden, wake-up-in-the-morning kind of thing. I wrote in junior high and high school, even if my teachers didn’t see the half of it. Through first love and marriage to this day I have kept a poetry journal. Little stories made their way into my letters and I was always scribbling first paragraphs. There are hundreds of nurses who declare they hate to write narrative notes--- I was never one of them. I hated the fact I had to fight for the time to write them. And, yes, I got excited when one of my doctors actually referred to (or complimented me on) one of my notes. You noticed? You read it? Thank you! Would you like my first born or will cookies do?
After my husband died in the early 90’s I started another first paragraph which was followed by another paragraph then another. The next thing I realized I was writing a story. I also realized it was one of the most satisfying things I had ever done. Oh, I can tell stories about similar satisfaction about specific patients I worked with but it was very different. Several chapters later I had to return to work and the book was shelved under the pressure of everyday life. But it was not forgotten. The rest of that particular story is in the very first entry of this blog.
My Internet ‘acquaintance’? I don’t know if the decision was slow in forming or not but knowing him to be both intelligent and thoughtful I am fairly certain it was not a sudden one. It’s a question I would dearly love to ask. But a mid-life crisis? Bah! I don't think so.
Perhaps some day I will have an opportunity to ask that question. Perhaps there will be an opportunity to exchange stories. I would like that. Life is full of possibilities, is it not?