Reflecting on 2019: this has been a year of great reckoning, reflection, self-assessment and coming to terms with the limitations of my CKD (chronic kidney disease). I sit here looking back on a fantastic career in nursing: my mind is always curious and wanting to learn and disseminate the information I have studied. My whole life has been in the service of others, my passion, my drive and my existence has always been in the betterment of others by helping them understand what was going on with them. Since being dependant on dialysis for managing my health, I have come to realize that as much as my mind tells me I am not limited, my body laughs hysterically! It is a huge mental battle to come to terms with the ending of a career that has served me so well and has been such a huge part of my life! How do I just shut that off? Being a professional registered nurse means we are responsible for our practice and the efficacy of that practice. We are called to assess ourselves constantly and develop a life long learning habit, which I have! Sadly and with some grieving, I know I need to put my passionate career on the shelf and try to re-invent myself.
This is a self-portrait I took as a start to our new photography challenges for 2020. Photography is another passion of mine. Perhaps I can use my time to really progress into this field. There is much to learn and perfect. The trouble is that I have passion for life, period! I find it difficult to narrow my efforts, interests and passion into one thing. Hence, my involvement with various research initiatives with the U of A or Can-Solve as well as acting as a facilitator with the U of A. The nursing part of me comes out! I want to learn more and have a voice that speaks to both the nursing care and the patient experience.
Freedom 55: I guess I’m there whether I planned for it or not; so now I have to embrace it and make the best of it. How do I use my knowledge and experience for the last 30 plus years of both nursing and that of patient experiences for the betterment of others? Perhaps I should go in a totally different direction: take up an instrument? another language? or perhaps build on my writing and creativity?. I look at all of these as potentials to fill my time and mind in my new found “freedom”. I would enjoy any and all of them. Choices, choices. I guess I should be grateful that I have these choices available! I have seen many in my place that are not so fortunate with their health and their cognitive abilities. Here lies the struggle to keep those blessings; balancing my lifestyle, my passions, my dialysis and medications to ensure optimal outcomes that are acceptable to me. I have high standards and this has caused me great bargaining and justifications in my own life and my management. Where other’s strive to achieve “freedom 55” I have arrived here without planning or as something to look forward to. It is like being thrust into the deep water and seeing if you’re going to sink or swim. I always chose to swim. So, here is to 2020, a year of new interests, passions & pursuits. To the re-inventing of myself. Cheers!!