Monday, April 6, 2009

Same as it Ever Was

Do you ever stop where you are and wonder how the heck you ended up there?
As in, if somebody had told you a few years back that you would be in that scenario, you would have laughed at them?
I felt like that a lot during Mom's fight with cancer. Sitting in the hospital waiting room during surgery, driving Mom to chemo, dealing with Mom's tubes and wires in her hospital room... I looked at my surroundings and was overwhelmed by the fact that I never expected that I would be there in that situation, and I never expected I would be able to deal with it as well as I did.
I guess you don't know what you can handle until you're in that situation.
I find that a lot at work. When I was visiting Mom in the hospital, I was telling the nurse about my job, and Mom said that if you had told her two years ago I would be living in Toronto working with street youth, she never would have believed it. You know... if you had told me two years ago that this is what I'd be doing, I would have laughed in your face.
It happens a lot at work, especially when I am dealing with the mental health and the crises that develop... when a kid got stabbed, when fights break out, when a girl comes in completely naked and I have to spend at least 10 minutes talking her into getting re-dressed, when I have to deal with bed bugs, and disgusting rooms and various bodily fluids, when I get sworn at, and yelled at, when I get told too much information about their sex lives... I find myself pausing and thinking "how did I get here?" At first, it was unnerving, being somewhere so out of my element, now I just laugh it off.
I'm a sheltered girl from a small town. J-walking scares me... I grew up on a gravel road. Whenever we would go to Toronto on family trips, Dad would lock the car doors before we got into city limits, likely afraid that a man with a squeegee would jump inside and mug as at gunpoint or we'd get shot up in the middle of a gang war. That's what happens in big cities, right? I was discussing how I grew up with one of my co-workers after work the other day, and she turned to look at me, and asked "Erin, how did you end up here?" Now, she knows the story of how I ended up here, my botched plans for teacher's college after university, and we went to our Child and Youth Work program together, so she knows about all of that... That's not what she meant. I told her truthfully that some days I don't even know.
Luck? Chance? Divine intervention? I don't know. Was it meant to be, or did I just luck out by ending up somewhere I like? Maybe it was completely random. If one little factor of my life had gone a different way, I could be living somewhere completely different, doing something completely different.
That scares me a little. I don't like the idea that my life is arbitrarily decided by chance... I'd much rather think that I am here because it's where I'm supposed to be. I like the idea that I've been brought somewhere that frequently forces me to deal with difficult situations, but I wouldn't be there if I couldn't handle it.
What about you? Do you ever stop and wonder how you ended up where you are? Has your life taken a clear path to where you are today, or has it been a journey of twists and turns? Is it chance and luck, or is there some sort of plan behind the path your life takes?


Marie said...

Beautiful post.

I wonder it most days when I sit and pause for a few seconds. Had I made other choices, I would definitely be elsewhere, but I'm glad I'm where I am right now.

Kern said...

Good entry. I find myself thinking this a lot. Usually, when I begin to think that I wonder if that means I'm being prepared for something bigger, brighter in the future, otherwise why the heck else am I here??

Lily said...

Sometimes it's really hard to tell "how we got here," and I ask myself the same thing. Because if my life went the way I planned it when I was 16, 20, or even 24 - I wouldn't be where I am right now because life, the Universe, the Cosmics, whomever - decided that those plans weren't right for me. I think that life/fate/karma hands you your situations and then you have to make something out of it. It's getting clearer and clearer to me not necessarily HOW I got to where I am, but WHY and figuring some of those things out makes it easier to look at the future. I love thinking about these things.

And now I have that song stuck in my head...

lucklys said...

yeah, new york city definitely was not in my game plan, but neither was finding a guy that could and would love me the way i deserve to be loved. i believe many things happen for a reason, and the path my life has taken is no exception. i'm supposed to be here for something. 5 years ago, hell, 2 years ago, i would have said i was moving to the west coast for life. obviously i'm not meant to be there right now.

great post!

EP said...

I'm loving this post, because I completely know how you feel. Oftentimes, I have wondered why I'm in my town and what I'm doing here and where it will take me. It's crazy how we sometimes end up places we never imagined.

Shannon Patterson said...

In my teens, I never imagined I would end up where I am. Sometimes it seems mediocre, but other days I take stock and realize just how blessed I really am. I wouldn't say my path was full of twists and turns, but today, I'm at 26-year old, gainfully employed, happy individual, and I'm sure my teenaged self is shocked.

ria said...

good post. i never believed people when they said they "fell into" what they were doing. but the truth is i kind of fell into what i'm doing. i got lucky, divine intervention or whatever you want to call it too :)

LENORENEVERMORE said... in the valley is harder...but with the tough condition, the plants bear more fruits...up in the mountain the view is so much better but nothing seems to grow well... Life,gotta grow & bear more fruits... :)

Margarita said...

My life has taken so many twists and turns. Looking back there is no way I could have predicted ANYTHING that has happened. Seriously. Except for the man I'm with. That's it. But it's been a fun and somewhat terrifying ride and I hope it continues!

Alanna said...

This is beautiful. Really.

My life isn't particularly interesting or unconventional, but I'm constantly thinking about what my past self would have thought of my present self. "Did I ever imagine that I'd be here, doing this, at this point in my life?" The answer is almost always no. Which makes me excited about the future, because I have no idea what it holds for me.