Finding Me

Me at the China Ranch Date Farm, across the border in California

by Neva Bodin

There’s been a lot written about young people “finding themselves.” Sometimes I think that may be an excuse for experimenting with different life styles, situations, or maybe careers. Well, recently I identify. And I ain’t no young person!

From my earliest memories, I knew I was going to be a nurse. In my imaginary life as a child, I alternated between cowboying, (sheriff by myself, rustler with boy cousin), metamorphosing into a horse or deer, being a housewife with eight kids, school teacher, minister, and waitress, as well as a nurse. But I always knew my true “grown-up” professions would be wife, mother and nurse. However, a writer was in the mix and I find mention of stories I wrote in my high-school diary. Plus a high school friend and I spent weekends together drawing pictures.

Eight years ago I retired the first time from nursing. Apparently I didn’t find my “new” self as I went back to work, part time, a year later. And worked six years, even putting together and teaching a certified nurse assistant program. I loved it.

I tried to find myself during my year off by practicing and selling more art, increasing my writing skills, joining the prayer committee at church, taking more college courses, and volunteering for more causes. I didn’t feel fulfilled.

I went back to work and was happy. I love being a nurse. I love the socialization with co-workers, patients, treating illness, teaching wellness, being immersed in health care. Nurse R me.

My nursing grad pic

This year I retired from nursing again. A month later my sister became gravely ill and passed away. So there was a whirlwind of legal issues, and dealing with grief and loss progressing to the loss of my career sinking in. I am home more, not scheduled. Now I am “trying to find myself again!”

Not burning all bridges, I renewed my nursing license. One of my biggest obstacles is needing imposed deadlines to inspire me to accomplish my goals. And I am too easy on myself! Plus, I like to flit from one thing to another, yet don’t multitask as easily anymore.

But have found I can spent 20 minutes to an hour on something, go do something else, then go back. I am determined to learn to play the violin I’ve had for years that belonged to my dad, who used to play for barn dances and pleasure at home. So I play for 10-20 minutes a couple times a day, and find I’m improving! (Still sound like someone is dying, just not with as much agony.) I play it by “ear” so far. I take a piano break of 15 minutes, a writing break of an hour. And I need my friends more for the social aspect of my life. Besides leaving time for my husband and his interests.

Anyway, I am working on “finding myself” for the first time. I was a nurse. I am still a nurse, but like a carpenter without a house to build, I need to find a way to channel this identity into something I can live with. Anyone else experience this?

dscn3984Postscript: Right now I am finding myself with my hubby in warmer weather in western Nevada for a couple weeks! Brought computer and watercolors with me. Taking lots of pictures, reading about women miners.


17 thoughts on “Finding Me

  1. Fabulous photos, Neva- especially your grad one! The old starched cap (that I think you’re wearing) must have been difficult to keep pinned to your hair at times. That ‘finding yourself’ phase will probably be ongoing for quite a while and change along the way as well. I don’t consider I’m retired since my daily life has so many ‘jobs’ to be attended to. That’s how I think it should be to keep those of us who are in the ‘getting older stages’ healthy.


    1. Keeping busy is definitely for some of us. I am that for sure, however, my identity as a working nurse has changed, and of course this was an important identity for me. It will take a while to adjust I’m sure. You sound like a busy productive person! Thanks for comments.


  2. Neva, Some things are just a part of us. For me it is music, storytelling and helping people. I can see how doing short bursts of each of you passions can bring such great joy. Here’s to a wonderful journey to ‘finding you’. Doris


    1. Thanks Doris. You are right, nursing is part of me, but I do fortunately have many other interests too so am sure to get past this stage. But I see a hospital or clinic, and I want to apply! Some think I’m crazy!


  3. Like Nancy, I enjoyed your photos as well. And I too find it hard to walk away from my previous professional life. I still find myself checking out websites of various national newspapers, since I was a newspaper reporter for more than 20 years. And I admit I do feel some sadness seeing my profession denigrated by both conservatives and liberals. I will say I think reporters made a big mistake when they started routinely appearing on Talk TV shows like those on MSNBC and discussing issues around newspaper articles they’ve written. No way would that have happened in the 1980s when I worked for a NY Times-owned newspaper in Florida. That was not allowed. Still, if you’re hated by everyone on the left and the right, you still must be doing something right. Back to retirement… and doing the last edit to my Civil War novel.


    1. I do see shades of your profession in your blogs, and I can see what a great reporter you are. Interesting you find yourself looking at those websites. I saw a hospital here in Pahrump, obviously not real big, and I wanted to apply. I loved the small town hospital where I was responsible for whatever walked in the door from babies to heart attacks (we had both come to the ER at once one night). But am considering weaving stories with a nurse as the protagonist to perhaps help manage some of my angst over retiring from nursing. And looking forward to your civil war novel.


  4. Depends on which one of me you speak to. It could be the artist, the writer, the poet. the grandparent, parent, but mostly now-a-days Great grandmother, musician (kind of), or photographer. I enjoy belly dancing, swimming, riding the bike, walking, fishing, and reading. I’ve started teaching myself to clog this month via videos. And I still drive an 18 Wheeler. Finding myself, I’d like to. LOL Glad my husband loves me anyway. Cher’ley


    1. You lead an interesting life! I love the variety also, and even in nursing changed type every 3 years approximately which felt like a career change except it was still health care. Hospice, Pscyh and OB were my favorite specialties, but loved variety, as I do in my other interests. I too vacillate from art, music, writing, and baking. I took clogging classes for a year, a few line dancing lessons, but never belly dancing. Good for you!


  5. My mom went through similar issues when she retired. She stayed on part-time as a college counselor at one community college but eventually quit due to health reasons. Now she “career counsels” random people. We would be having lunch or standing in line at the store and then she would start quizzing these poor people about their goals and why aren’t they in school. It’s very embarrassing! Lol. My mom needs to do what you’re doing, Neva, and find another passion.


  6. Sounds to me like you are doing just fine. Keep experimenting with different things until something naturally begins to make you smile.


  7. Neva, I believe this is the time you’ve been given to hone your writing skills and to create stories of inspiration to help others. I like your idea of writing a story or two with nurse as main character — perhaps that could be a series. Perhaps when you get back to town, we can get together a few times a month, in addition to our writers’ group, and share writing time. Maybe then I’ll get motivated to finish my WIPs! 🙂 Great post, and I hope the travel has been fun, relaxing, and creative!


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