I didn’t know it would be this difficult to find a time to write but boy trying to find time to do anything has become a nearly impossible mission but I do have some time this morning!

It still feels strange to come back to this blog. College took me in a different direction and opened my eyes to many more things than just Decatur but it never left my mind. There’s a few pages on Facebook that I follow where people reminiscence about the Decatur they knew when they were growing up and they share their laments over how little the Decatur of today lives up to those fond memories.

While I do have wonderful memories of Decatur, most of them center around people and not necessarily places. My old neighborhood doesn’t look that different from what it did in the 70s or 80s. Well, I do miss Holiday Swim Club and for it to be replaced by an insurance company and a chiropractor…ugh!

And change, I’ve never adjusted to change well, even if it’s a good change. Basically, I have an emotional meltdown. Accepting my husband’s marriage proposal sent me to the ER with a massive panic attack but we’re still married 23 years later!

This month I will have been at my current job for six months and honestly it feels more like 40 years because my mind and body has felt every minute as intense observation and life contemplation. I’m finally kinda starting to settle in and sorta kinda beginning to feel like I kinda sorta belong there but I’m still analyzing the situation- minute by minute.

Really, I had no mental preparation for the job. I went to college to be a conservationist but I ended up working in a hospital basement processing surgical instruments. Now who wrote this story?

I never pictured myself in such a setting and it’s laughable now when I think about what I thought the job would be and want it turned out to be. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.

It’s been non-stop learning from day one. On my first day, my boss said it takes two years to become truly competent at the job and I didn’t believe her. “Heck, I’ll have this down in two weeks.” I thought. Six months later and I’m still learning new instruments, new methods, new protocols, and I have a mountain yet to climb and explore to even begin feeling like I know what I’m doing.

It’s one of the few jobs in a hospital where you really just have to learn everything you need to know on the job. Mistakes are going to be made along the way. No schooling can prepare you for sterile processing. Everything has to be memorized and experienced to know what you’re doing.

Well, I think nursing is probably the same way. As one put it, 99% of what you learn in nursing school is BS. Everything you really need to know you learn on the job.

I think a lot of jobs are that way.

But change…I certainly didn’t picture myself in an OR as co-workers scrambled to find instruments to stop the bleeding of a gunshot victim. We were literally running for his life through the halls with spongesticks in hand.

I’ve seen patients opened up under the bright lights and seen their insides kind of like how I saw that frog I dissected in junior high.

I’m surprised it didn’t freak me out. The frog did but not seeing the bright red innards of a human being under spotlights.

It just goes to show that the thought of marriage and dissected frogs is far more frightening than seeing a human being sliced in half. Is that the lesson of this story? I don’t know. Maybe.

When I flew out to Oregon for my graduation ceremony I certainly didn’t picture myself cleaning bloody instruments – some of which look like medieval devices of torture. I was supposed to be saving the planet but that world got really small when I entered that sterile processing department.

In such small confines interacting with and learning how to get along with co-workers has been the most difficult part of the job. That’s the part you can never prepare for.

The backgrounds of the people are so varied and everyone certainly has their own personality. The co-worker that trained me for the first three months asked me what I thought of the job after training for several weeks and I told her it’s been entertaining. I always go home with a story to tell.

She laughed a little and said that wasn’t the reply she was expecting but I answered honestly.

Being self-employed for most of my adult life certainly didn’t prepare me for co-workers but I’ve come to appreciate the motley crew we are – most of the time. Well, one thing that did prepare me was my husband’s Greek family. They squabble, complain a lot, and vow to never speak again (for the 100th time) but the next day they’re back at it doing what they do.

I guess that might sound like I’m making fun of Greek people but I can make fun of my Puritan English heritage too where we just internalize everything and keep smiling.

You either have small daily eruptions like the Greeks or you become Mt. Saint Helens and send the once varied and vibrant life around you back to the earliest seral stage of lichens when you finally blow off what has been building up inside. That’s being English.

Uhm, I think I got off track here a little bit.

But anyway back to change and living a life that you didn’t envision for yourself. Cities aren’t any different. They change and become something nobody could envision either.

I love history and talking about the old times but sometimes that does get old. You got to keep moving and evolving. Yes, Decatur isn’t what it used to be but is anything?

Did anybody’s life turn out exactly as planned? Are you the person you thought you’d be when you were young? In some ways I’m very much the same but in other ways I’m nothing like I thought I’d be.

If there’s anything I learned in college is that nothing about Earth or anything living on it stays the same. Heck, even continents move. We have to move with them.

So yeah, it’s fun to see old photos of Decatur but instead of wishing things were like then or how we would plan them to be, shouldn’t we just make today better? After all, Decaturites that lived here a hundred years ago obviously weren’t sitting around wishing things were like before. They were building a city and neighborhoods and lives.

Maybe we should all get a life too and be okay with life taking us in directions we didn’t anticipate. We might create something good or we could send Decatur back to the earliest pioneer species of lichens clinging to rocks.

Either way. We’ve got to roll with the changes. That’s life.

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