Perhaps it’s something about being in your late forties (forty-seven *cough-cough*, actually), but I’ve been and gone and done something rash. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets, I have been living the quiet life – the safe life – for far too long. But last month I took voluntary redundancy from my Practice Nursing job. A role which I had being doing for thirteen-and-a half-years. Some may call this a mid-life crisis. But I think I’m taking a carefully calculated risk. Let me explain…
If you know me personally, this won’t be a big revelation to you, but next month I am undertaking a Level 3 Diploma in Fitness Instructing/Personal Training. It’s something I’ve had at the back of my mind to do for at least twenty years. I’ve always loved exercise (big-time in the last eight years; I truly believe it got me through a bereavement). And I’ve also become obsessed with nutrition in the last few. I enjoy eating properly, and I really love to talk about it (you ask my friends, I’m so boring when it comes to diet and exercise). But the time was never right to take that leap before: I just wasn’t fit enough, with two young children I didn’t have time to re-train, I had too many financial responsibilities, or I just didn’t have the initial capital to put down for the training required. However, right now, all those obstacles just aren’t in the way anymore – or perhaps they are. But they just don’t seem insurmountable. So, now is the time to take the plunge. Now or never.
I have nothing but positive words to say about nursing. Nursing has been kind to me. Nursing brought me knowledge that can never be taken away, nursing allowed me to meet and help a multitude of interesting personalities, nursing brought me life-long friends, nursing brought me my husband – and consequently my children. Anybody who has been a nurse will tell you they will always be a nurse at heart. It’s in your blood. But it’s just not something I want to do anymore; I haven’t been happy for some time. Some people think it’s sad when a nurse leaves the profession. But I’m not irreplaceable. And the place where nurses are the most lacking in numbers is on the wards. And I haven’t been a ward-nurse for YEARS (thank God). They deserve a medal.
The thing that surprises me when I tell other nurses my plans, is their bafflement at my decision (yet others openly admit they’d like to get out too), but there’s still this core bunch who cock their heads to one side and narrow their eyes – like they literally cannot fathom why I’d want to do this. Like nursing is the be-all-and-end-all of their existence. Those same people warn me that the health and fitness industry is a saturated market; maybe it is. But I have a medical angle, and I have a vision. I’m not decrying the value of nursing or nurses. It’s a wonderful profession to be proud of. Like I say, nursing has been good to me. But would I recommend it to my kids? I don’t think so. It’s not an easy road, and I’ve done my time (twenty-seven years, to be precise). I believe I have every right to call it a day. And I certainly don’t have to justify myself (btw, this post is not me justifying myself. I’m a blogger; I write about what I do).
When my beloved sister, Lynn, died in 2011, I inwardly promised her I would live a more fulfilled life. I promised her I would stop living the ‘safe life’. That old adage, ‘life is short’, it was proven to me in the most horrible way. And I vowed to stop being a coward and start living life to the full – take a few risks. But I let my sister down. My cowardly nature took hold again, and I decided to stick with the safe life – it was easier, and carried fewer risks. But it’s taken me until 2019 to take the bull by the horns and make a change while I still have time. Seriously, who knows how long we’ve all got?
My training starts at the beginning of June, and will be undertaken 9-5pm Monday to Friday for an entire month at my local University. I am excited and terrified in equal measure. What if (as a nurse) they expect me to be sh*t-hot on anatomy and physiology (I’d really better brush up on that this month)? What if the class is choc-full of super-fit eighteen-year-olds…and…me…? Still, I’ve got to look at the positives, because maybe I have an edge; I have prior medical knowledge, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been in my entire life, I really care about exercise and nutrition – for once, I actually believe in something. I want to inspire people; I want to let people know how exercise changed my life mentally and physically, and how it can change theirs. I want to stop people getting sick in the first place by advising on the right food to put in their mouths, and the right way to exercise safely. I hope I can do this justice – because it means a lot to me.
So, have I done my last nursing shift ever? Well…probably not. I think I’ve got a couple of days nursing a week lined up from July onwards. And I think, as a grown-up with responsibilities (yes, I still have those), it is the wise thing to do whilst I grow my fitness empire. And take over the world (mwh-hah-hah-hah!). I’m registered to be a nurse until the end of 2022. I could even go back to it full-time…if I wanted to. For now, I’m happy to continue to utilise my skills and knowledge in a decreased capacity for a little while. Nursing, exercise, and nutrition – they should all go hand-in-hand, shouldn’t they?
Some of you may be thinking (one or two, at best), ‘but what about your writing?‘. Well, you know how much I love that. Even if I don’t do it as much as I ought to. Being a writer defines me; it’s a part of who I am and always will be. But I very much doubt it will be the way I make my living. Not in this lifetime. And that’s okay. So long as writing remains a part of my life in some form or another, if only to connect with you guys, that will be enough. This venture, though – health and fitness – it has opportunities, paths, and avenues. And who knows where those avenues will take me?
NB: I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes. Wish me luck.