A lot of you know the story of how my dad is my hero. An exceptional student in everything he did, being male he was pressured (as most men were back then) to go into the math and science field, and he got his bachelor's degree from NYU (my dad grew up in Brooklyn) in Chemical Engineering. But as he worked in that field (including serving as an engineer when he was drafted in the army during the Korean War...you can imagine the stories of a platoon full of engineers under grunt sargeants he came home with were pretty hilarious), he found that chemicals and conveyor belts just weren't his thing. He somehow (I've never been able to keep the details straight in my head) got involved in an investing club and found that finance was far more interesting to him, and left engineering behind to become a stock broker (which is how he and my mother met - she was one of the first female stock brokers in Cincinnati). He went back to school and got his MBA at Xavier University while I was in elementary school.
Then, my mom had The Stroke in 1976, two weeks after taking the Swine Flu shot - which had nothing to do with why she had the stroke (can we say type-A high-powered smoking coffee-drinking crazy successful real estate agent? Yep, that'll do it), BUT her roomate in the hospital had Guillaume-Barre syndrome, and was involved in the law suit that was taken up against the government by those who suffered with that syndrome after taking that flu shot. And my parents decided they'd get in on that too. Now, they didn't win anything in the case, but my dad found as they were going through the process that he was fascinated by law. SO, he spent a year and got his paralegal certificate ("To see if I still have the chops for going back to school," like there was EVER any doubt) and when I turned 20, my dad went to law school, graduating the same year my sister graduated from college.
At which point, he continued working as a stock broker (with occasional forays into things legal) until he retired, and then used law as his "retirement hobby" - he was financially solvent enough that he could take only the cases that interested him, and ended up doing a lot of pro bono work for Pro Seniors, a non-profit group that helps the elderly deal with legal issues (like guardianships, etc).
So you can imagine, as we were growing up, my sister and I were forever teasing our dad "So when are you going to decide what you want to be when you grow up, Daddy?" :) Or, alternatively, asking him when he was going to medical school, since it was the only thing he hadn't done yet.
So what did my dad do, but donate his body to the University of Cincinnati Medical school when he died.
No seriously. They use the cadavers for 2 years, and then have a lovely ceremony for the families and bury the cremated remains in a memorial plot at Spring Grove Cemetery (minus any ashes the family may choose to keep - my sister and I spread some of his ashes over our mother's grave in Forest Lawn - she died in 1997, surviving The Stroke by 20 years, which her doctors had never expected). When my sister got the call that it was time for his "class" to have their memorial service, she told me "Daddy's graduating from medical school!"
So yeah, my dad is my example that you're not done until you're dead, and even then you can go to medical school. I've held onto that, particularly as I've gained the confidence (largely through my accomplishments here in losing the weight and completing a marathon, along with the support of my mate and my kids) to tackle going back to school myself for nursing. And though I've found that I LOVE my new job as an STNA and really feel I could continue working with these people at this place for the rest of my life and be happy, I'm determined to get that RN dammit. I want a degree in SOMETHING. See, when I graduated from high school, I planned to become a doctor. No really, my first college major was biochemistry, with the intent to go pre-med. If I hadn't procrastinated my applications, I'd have gone to Northwestern and done their accelerated 6-year MD program. But then I moved out, dropped out, got knocked up, placed a baby for adoption and eventually got married and started having babies, and all that went out the window, as did any confidence in my own intelligence or mental abilities (no really, ask any stay-at-home mom and she'll tell you nobody expects you to have a brain anymore if you don't have a college degree and a high-powered career, and eventually you forget you ever had one too).
But NOW, now I'm going to school. I'm going to become an RN. And I'm RAWKING this - seriously, I managed to keep a 4.0 through the last few semesters. In my current classes, I have higher than 100% in my A&P 2 class, and a 96% in microbiology, and I'm totally eating this stuff UP (ask the mate, or my kids, or my ex...I've totally been geeking out about all the stuff we know in microbiology now that they didn't know when I was last learning this stuff in high school). I told my A&P professor last semester that if it was 30 years ago, I'd totally follow HIS career path, because I totally love learning this stuff. But it's not 30 years ago, so I have to settle for what I can get done that'll get me a job. Right?
Today I watched this week's episode of The Biggest Loser (yay for our DVR working for a change). And I was REALLY struck by Francelina's revelation that she'd always wanted to become a doctor, but had held herself back because of her weight (feeling like a hypocrite trying to help other people be healthy, being embarrassed to go into medical school interviews as heavy as she was). And that now she's working on her pre-exams and going for that dream.
I stood in my kitchen and found myself in tears...and when I tried to explain it to the mate, I almost couldn't even let myself say the words that I haven't even let myself THINK for the past 30 years.
Maybe I don't have to be DEAD to go to medical school.
Maybe...just maybe...it's NOT too late. I mean, sure, I'm nearly 50... I wouldn't graduate until probably after I'm 60. But, so what? As it is, I won't be a nurse at this rate until I'm 52 anyway, and I'm still going for it. What says I have to stop there, that I have to settle for getting my RN and just "be glad I got something"? Why sell myself short? Why not shoot for the moon?
Really, why not?
Much to ponder.
Thanks The Biggest Loser!
In totally unrelated irony, I got word in the last few days that I have somehow won a sweepstakes and have 2 tickets to the Biggest Loser Finale waiting for me at Will-Call on March 18. *blink* IN CALIFORNIA! But all it is is tickets - lodging, travel, etc - that's all on me. And y'all know that our financial situation is ridiculously dire right now. Of course, me being me, and having my record of pulling miracles out of my patootie, I'm firmly holding on to "never say never" - SOME miracle could happen that would get us to L.A. - and it's not like I don't have floors where I could crash out there (several come to mind). I just have to GET us there, which is admittedly insane to even contemplate. But...who knows, right? It could happen. (If anyone has a spare $272 per person lying around for air fare for me and 'Yote...LOL)