The road ahead

Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I've taken for granted. (Sylvia Plath)
I've fallen for the promise of a mirage a hundred times. Ran toward it, only to have it escape me like a handful of smoke or dreams. And so I've learned to live here in the now instead of staring at the road ahead. I suppose graduate school trained me to always look ahead - and of course, work demands it, too. Life demands it. But not every moment of every day.

I used to daydream while I worked. My mind rarely came back although my hands were hard at work. I watch my students, in the lab practicing skills, in clinical helping real people. It's all so new to them, they are completely absorbed by the mental part of the task before them.

I teach them life is messy, even nursing. It's better to make a mess on the floor and clean it up later than it is to endanger a patient. I think this goes for all of life: people, relationships, they are always paramount. When I was a young mom, I had to have a perfectly clean house to have a friend over. How many visits did I miss because I was focused on the mess on the floor instead of the face of the person begging for my attention?

The children come with when we go to the lab on weekends. They take blood pressures, they do CPR, they like to put tubes in and out of the "fake people". It is their favorite place at the university (well, maybe 2nd only to the vending machines). They are here in the now but also hard at work on their futures.

I am on a road to change. I can see the vista in front of me is quite different than I imagined. And the mirage? Yes, I'm tempted to run pell-mell toward it, leaving all else behind. But this time I'm wiser, older. I'm walking slowly, testing it out. Is the freedom and peace I seek really there in front of me? Or is it perhaps beside me in these moments, just waiting for me to notice.

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