I like to think once upon a time I was care free and not so goal oriented. I see myself in photos with a twinkle in my eyes, looking so happy and I smile back. As a child, I remember the excitement for monkey bars, cartwheels and hide and seek. I loved those elementary stickers, rewards for report cards, grade 4 ukulele lessons and candy. Oh those childhood moments of pure contentment. Not a care in the world. Adult life just doesn’t seem so simple.
So when did all that change for me? When did I start to be so serious and highly motivated? Was it when my parents could only afford so much, and I wanted more? Was it when I started buying my own treats and realized I could earn more? My parents used to take us 6 kids out for dinner and say, you can have anything $8 or less. That’s when we would chip in our own money to get a steak sandwich. Funny, really. I remember babysitting at age 11 with my twin Jenny. I was scared of the dark and still falling asleep after 9pm. I laugh when I think of all those times waking up to the parents, 1/2 hr after they started trying to wake me. Oh but the freedom of your own income, it was exciting even as a child. Yep, that’s when it started, wanting for more and seeking to achieve it. So I just kept moving on to new opportunities.
Since Jenny and I were the eldest of 6 kids, we were naturally the most helpful and useful for our busy mom. I remember changing cloth diapers with those sharp pins. Rinsing dirty diapers in the toilet and rocking my baby sister to sleep was a regular part of a day when I was 8 years old. My 4 younger siblings still feel like children I helped raise. So it is not surprising that Jenny and I were quickly helping make brown bag lunches for the whole family and cutting up whole chickens for dinner. Our first paid jobs would be babysitting other families kids, french braiding the neighbours hair, and a paper route in elementary school. By grade 8, I was embarrassed if my friends talked about me delivering newspapers. I remember those crazy heavy Friday flyers on my bike. Not just once did a bag of papers hanging from my handle bar get caught in my bike spokes and I was tossed. Oh, and those winter dark mornings in stormy October and November, thankfully my dad came to the rescue and drove us around a few times. I don’t think my parents even realized what my sister and I were doing. We would ride through the forest to the neighbouring blocks, even when our neighbours goat was killed by a cougar. I was scared but still I so determined to do my job and get paid. At Christmas we went door to door collecting payments for papers, and we’re so excited to get tips for the first time. Oh those were the days my friends, I thought they’d never end, we’d sing and dance forever and a day. We’d live the life we choose, we’d laugh and never lose, for we were young and sure to get our way (did anyone else have a player piano?).
At age 14yrs, we could get a minimum wage job and that’s exactly what we did. I say we because up until now, Jenny and I always worked together or shared the jobs we had. And I still think scooping ice cream at Erick’s ice cream parlor was my favorite job for five dollars an hour. I loved getting paid to make waffle cones and corn dogs and scoop icecream into banana splits along side self scheduled 4 hr shift. A magical summer and of course by fall we had to move on. Back to school and on to working part-time at McDonald’s. I remember working with a few girlfriends from high school and we were a bit of trouble. I think I ate an ice cream every shift and I know I’ve had a lifetime share of cheeseburgers. Again thanks to my dad who drove us to Saturday morning 0630 am shifts. This was definitely a new level of work demands that only increased my work ethic, self discipline and responsibility. If for one great thing that came from McDonald’s, it would be the mastering of multitasking.
My next career move would bring me to superstore when I became a cashier. My only regret with that job is that I gave up going on my grade 11 hike to Cape Scott so that I wouldn’t miss doing the training. Jenny and I had purchased our first car together with a bank loan and we both were responsible for paying gas and insurance costs. I wish someone older and wiser would have encouraged me to ask to do the training on my own time so I would have had this experience. As life would have it at age 16 yrs, financial responsibilities would begin keeping me from carefree youthfulness. Hiking is still my fav past time and luckily in grade 12, I finally got to do the Cape Scott hike with my twin sister and it was the best thing I did throughout my high school years. Since these years were full of peer pressure, insecurities, grieving and compromise, the best memories I have are of good grades, volleyball, classes with my husband Brook and Cape Scott. It’s amazing how much we define ourselves in high school socially and how it carries with us throughout life. Oh I wish I knew what I know now when we were in high school. I would’ve been a totally different person, and I would have chosen different friends and made a greater effort to do fun things with Jesus and teenage youth groups. And just FYI, I never ate in the high school cafeteria because I was too shy. I never wanted obnoxious teens to single me out in a crowd and I could blush crimson, so I stayed away.
Finally in nursing school, I discovered waitressing aka serving and amazing tips so this became my next fav job. I loved the people, the food and the crazy multitasking. I could work smarter, love on people,have fun and make more money. I used to live off my tips and save my pay cheques. I remember having shoe boxes full of money and it was fun feeling like you had your own bank machine in your bedroom. I remember being anxious about life after high school and wondering how I would pay for my own life. So when I finished nursing school, and started making the same amount of money as an RN as I did as a server, I thought this was funny. I remember thinking the main difference was the professional services changed from food to medications. I also knew, I had so much more I could learn as an RN. The only downside to both serving and nursing was a chronic sore back. When I wasn’t working, my back didn’t hurt but when I was working, it got sore. I still love my chiropractor and massage therapist and blame overworking for all of my body aches. And so the aging, work, exercise balance juggle began.
Serving has always been part of my life. From being a helpful daughter, to babysitting, newspaper carrier, the food and beverage industry and finally health care and motherhood. I worked as a care aide while I was a nursing student and finally left the restaurant business behind before I got married. I completed all 4 years of my bachelors degree in the science of nursing while working part time. Nursing full time began a whole new adventure in life balance and shift work. In hind sight, if anyone had really explained shift work to me, I’m not sure I would’ve still went into nursing. The first two years I spent working full time as a casual RN and a medical surgical float on the day, evening, or night shifts in Victoria. And so began my pre night shift pouts and post night shift recovery. Since one of us was finally working full time, Brook and I decided to buy our first new car, a Honda Accord 2 door. I remember crying to my mother in law, because Brook had 3 years left of school and I was scared of a large debt that might cost us a chance to travel the world forever. I was right, as my travel plans were modified for married life. We would never be 22 years young and free like we were. I felt defeated that those young dreams were over and married life would just move on with a practical car. I continued to work full time and overtime and then finally found a compromise.
It wasn’t difficult to convince Brook to move to the United States. Now, we could travel and work as Brook was finishing his business diploma and became a Golf pro. We were 25 years young and I so desperately wanted some adventure after all these married school years pre baby years. Also, in California, I could work full time day shifts and pay off our debts faster with the exchange rate. It wasn’t an easy move, but it sure increased the quality of my life and work. Night shifts just plain made me sick and depressed and we had been told Brook could get a working visa when we arrived. So it began, I took the USA RN board exam and we did a 3 week road trip to scope out the opportunities and locations. California sun it was going to be, so we packed up our lives, rented a uhaul and trailer, and were on our way to San Jose. We wouldn’t be back for many a day, or at least a year. This was the winter after 9/11 happened and still we were determined to meet our American neighbours.
6 months later my twin sister Jenny, her hubby Jamin and their husky Sunnyboy, join us in San Jose. Neither hubbys could get work Visa’s unless we started the green card process. And since it might take a year to process it wasn’t worth it to us. We wanted to be free to travel as we worked in the USA, and we weren’t ready to become permanent staff and give up our travel nurse contracts. Jamin was a journeyman plumber, and we looked forward to getting to know each other as couples. We ended up moving into a large house together with their dog and added another whole adventure to our lives. It took us 1 year to pay off our debts in California and in the last year and a half there, I was lucky to get a critical care training position in ICU. I also signed up to do a hemodialysis course in our last 6 months in the States so I could work in the community facility back home. We were officially trying to prepare ourselves to have better working opportunities as parents and the ability to afford a mortgage when we got home. We hoped to get pregnant as soon as we settled down as we were 28 yrs by the time we would move home. In total, I ended up working as a nurse in California for three years, with Brook unable to work and starting to get frustrated. He was so ready to start his own career and hindsight we should have applied for green cards and bought real estate back home. Instead, Brook and Jamin were patiently holding down the fort, managing finances and golfing with all of their time off. We did get to travel to the UK with Brooks parents and to Brazil on a missions trip with Jamin and Jenny as the leaders. Those were both highlights of our travel time while living in San Jose. When we would finally come home Dec. 2004, we would cross the border with no student loan or car debt, a saved mortgage payment, and a new fishing boat. We would celebrate three of the greatest years of new friends, new church families, and so many California adventures.
If only we had found network marketing when Brook was unemployed for 3 years. Also while we were off enjoying life in the sun, the real estate market was booming back home. I figure we lost in equity what we gained in employee wages. Oh well, we didn’t know what it meant to play the game of owning and real estate equity. We were still growing up and becoming more experienced in everything. We still soothe our financial regrets with fond memories of friends and life long experiences and learning. Getting back to B.C. and our families was long overdue as far as our parents were concerned and we had a new appreciation for our beautiful hometown. I felt refreshed with adventure and ready for the next stage of our life. Babies. Thank you Brook for supporting my dream to travel nurse and be ready for the next chapter. This would be a dream come true. To start a family our own.
We bought our first home with my twin and her hubby. We were both pregnant within the first two months of settling in Canada and 10 months later welcomed our first sons. 1 year of maternity leave included selling that house and buying new homes where we could start our new lives as separate families. Both our guys were officially working and we began the journey of raising children and balancing work and bills. It’s kinda romantic, all those sleepless nights and sick kids, and melting parents. Thankfully the days were sometimes long but the hardest years flew by. We soaked them up and survived them all at the same time. Over the next few years, I took 1 year of maternity leave for each of my 3 babies and worked part time by juggling 2-4 casual RN positions at any given time. We had 3 babies in just under 5 years and changed our mind about having a 4th. Brook was ready to make that decision permanent, and so we began the next stage of parenting. Brook was working full time and I was working 3/4 time as an RN while we were both raising 3 babies into elementary age kids. Life was so great and a lot of hard work. Now I know why it’s easier to have kids young!
By the time our kids were 1, 3, and 5, we would have bought 4 houses in total and built 3 of them finally landing us in our forever home. We even joke that we can live here until we are 90 and old, because you never have to go downstairs. It was when we had finally stopped moving and my kids were almost age 2, 4, and 6 that I was introduced to network marketing by my neighbours. It was love at first sight. Team work and using your talents to benefit the whole. So right when my life was starting to get easier, and I was almost out of the baby stage, I started a home business. For anyone who has never started a business or who has never learned about social marketing, this was a mountain I would need to learn to climb.
I got started full speed ahead and for four months worked really hard. That’s when I discovered that this first companys products were just not my passion. I couldn’t imagine putting my life behind it. So when someone offered for me to start a networking blog to create another income, thats when I knew I was done with my first business. I didn’t want to start blogging but it sure sounded much easier than what I was trying to do. My eyes had been opened to the world of business opportunities and that’s when I discovered Isagenix. To say the least, 3 1/2 years later I would find myself retired from my nursing job and working full time as an Isagenix health and business leader. But something was missing for me, I had finally got what I wanted; full time entrepreneur and executive team leader. But I was stressed and I felt an emptiness that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I was lonely and starting to question my passion to continue long term. I had to admit to myself that I just wasn’t happy any longer and something had to change. I didn’t feel as valuable or happy in my business as I did when I was working as an RN.
I started some deeper soul-searching and came to realize that I was working full time to build a residual income that could allow me more free time. My dream was to be able to contribute financially to my family without trading my time for money. Instead I was trading all of my time towards building a business. I wanted my life back. I was missing time off mentally, as I was consumed by my future goals. All I really wanted was to be able to work as a volunteer, to be a full-time mom and to be able to give back to my community. It was over a few weeks that I came to realize that my desire to give back through missions work, could best be done by going back to working as a much needed RN. I started to take a step back from my business, to consider my heart, my soul, and my RN options.
That’s when I came to realize, that working as a part-time nurse and part time business builder, while being a mom, was exactly what I was created to do. That was the lifestyle that would give me a place to contribute and quality time off with my family. I wasn’t looking to be at home full-time, I love contributing to our health care community. So I called up my two last RN Managers and got rehired to the hospital and reoriented to both of my jobs. I won’t lie, have you ever seen ‘The Truman Show’. A movie where everyday people get up everyday and do the same things at work, rest and play. That was what it felt like going back to the local hospital. Everyday people, still contently working the same job, 2 years later, and it was like I had never left. It felt like family and a time warp all at the same time. But the thing I was impressed with the most, is the little man. Those individuals that do their job everyday and still smile and continue to contribute to our community year after year with contentment. That is impressive to me. That is something I am about to learn. Contentment and contribution and mastering the mundane.
Just to change it up a little, I did apply to the hospital in our neighbouring community as well and will be starting a new adventure in nursing there. As an RN, I love that I am challenged and have such personal satisfaction in caring for patients and my colleagues. All of a sudden, working as a nurse feels like the exact mission field I am looking to serve. I recently counted up all the different units I have worked as an RN and so far it’s 23 in my 16 year career. There are just so many opportunities to love inside those hospital doors and for the first time ever, I realize the privilege it is to be part of our incredible health care team. The privilege it is to have the education and experience that I have to offer others. I was created to be a happy professional and I am excited to finally show up to my life with all of my heart, mind and soul.
My eyes feel like they have been opened to a whole new world where I go to work with God and love people by serving with my time and talents. Getting paid to do something that gives me so much satisfaction and personal growth, is an amazing gift. Every day I wake up and ask, what should we do today God? Who will we meet and how can we help them together? I feel like a new person. I feel like I was lost and I finally found what I was searching for. I work as a casual RN in 3 different places now, and I love walking by faith that I will get enough work. God has always provided for my life and I trust him for my future. For the first time in my striving life, my soul feels peaceful and whole. Thank you Jesus for saving me. Thank you Jesus for loving me. Thank you Jesus for giving me my work, my family, my friends, and everything. Thank you Jesus for opening my eyes, my heart and my mind to the life you have for me.
It’s funny how sometimes you have to get what you ask for to realize what you need is different than you thought. In this life, all we have is how we loved in the end. Yes I still love health, yes I still love my network marketing business, yes I still love seeing people empowered physically, financially, and spiritually, and yes I am finally at peace with being me. I am enough. The famous author Ann Voskamp shares about stacking your stones or reflecting and soaking up the greatness of your life. That’s where I am. Its been a 38 year journey to get to this point in my life and I’m excited to see how God continues to use my simple life. The biggest difference now between the girl I used to be and the girl I am today, is total surrender. Yep, I am letting go. I am accepting my vulnerability, my future, and living my life in this moment. There is no time like the present to take a deep breath and be content. So this is it. The life I was searching for is ready for me to live and I choose to be happy.
ps. I have another side talent that most people know me for. I am an amateur paparazzi as I love taking photos of everyone and everything. That is my side talent, so watch out, you could be seen in my next blog post.