Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fantasy World

*I'm giving a disclaimer here....this is a semi-depressing post. Sorry ahead of time.*

Diabetes shapes us in so many crazy ways. It becomes a part of us. And even though we may not like it, diabetes can guide the decisions that we make.

I have my degree in elementary education. Due to circumstance beyond my control (i.e. failure to find a job in my field) I am working in social work. I got this job to tide me over until I was able to move into something else. Nearly five years later, I am still working that same job.

I think Allison wrote a post one time about knowing she couldn’t run away as a kid, because she wouldn’t be able to get her insulin. I had that same problem. I thought about running away a few times (for whatever reason, I don’t know. I was a fairly happy kid and didn’t have any real problems with the parentals.) and remember thinking of all the things I’d need.

Then I remember thinking, I’d only be able to be gone as long as my insulin held out. After that, I’d have to come home. And since I couldn’t do it right, I just wouldn’t do it at all. I think that was the first time I ever let diabetes hold me back from something. I don’t like to admit that diabetes sometimes can get in the way of life.

I’ll never be a member of the military. I’ll never fly a commercial jet. In some areas, I could become a police officer or drive an ambulance.

These aren’t things that I ever really wanted to do, so it’s never really bothered me. But diabetes still shapes the decisions I make.

There’s a scene in the movie “Never Been Kissed” that has Drew Berrymore and LeeLee Sobieski’s characters in a cafĂ©. No one knows, yet, that Drew is really not a high school student. She’s still “the new girl” that LeeLee’s character has befriended. In that scene, Drew’s character asks LeeLee’s character what she wants to be when she grows up. The girl’s eyes nearly glaze over as she lists all the things she wants to do when she grows up. A potter, a painter, a novelist, a professor of medieval literature, and architect…she wanted to go to Northwestern.

The scene starts around 1:00 and is super short if you want to watch it. It's so cute.

Call me indecisive, but I am knocking on the door of 30 and I still don’t know what I want to be “when I grow up.” I have so many things that I love. So many things that I think I’d like to do. Sometimes I feel like LeeLee Sobieski’s character from “Never Been Kissed.”

So here’s my list:
I want to write a book
I want to open a bakery
I want to own my own child care center
I want to become a CDE
I want to become a theatre critic
I want a career in social networking (heck, I do it all the time anyway…)
I want to live in New York City with 4 roommates and work 3 part-time jobs while going to pasty school and spending every other free second seeing Broadway shows.

So many of these things are things that I could have done, had I realized my true self at a younger age. But, college called at 18 and erroneously asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I made a choice. One that I always thought was the right one. But growing up makes you change. Life changes you. Your hobbies and interests change.

I feel like 18 is way too early to ask a person what they want to do with their life. Apparently a lot of other people agree with me, since I read that the average person changes jobs around 14 times before they turn 40. Sure, the statistic said that many of those jobs changes occur in the teens and early twenties, but 14 times is still showing that people don’t always know what they want to do with their lives when they are young.
I knew. Or I thought I did.

In my fantasy world, I could quit my job and go back to school. I could “start over”. Or just change directions. But, I live in the same world that the little girl that knew she couldn’t run away from home lived in. I can’t run away from my job, because it has fantastic health insurance. I can’t find a new job with great insurance because I don’t have the skills (training, schooling, etc) to get the kind of job that I want.

When you’re a kid with diabetes, your parents present life to you in one of two ways. Either the “You can still do anything” way. Or the “Oh, poor baby, you can’t do anything” way. I grew up with the “You can do anything” type parents. And for the most part it’s been true. But reality always slaps you in the face at some point. And currently, my reality is working in a job that I’m truly thankful for, but I don’t enjoy most of the time. Could I leave? Sure. But how can I walk away from a good paying job with fantastic benefits; the best of which is my fantastic health insurance?

Will I ever do any of the things on my list? I’d like to think so. Writing a book can be done without leaving the job I currently have. Maybe someday I’ll marry someone wonderful who will not only be the love of my life, but will also have great health insurance. Then I can go back to school without worry of living without the life sustaining supplies that I need to be healthy.

But, for now, I stay where I am and keep my ears and eyes open for an opportunity to which diabetes doesn’t stand in the way.


Karen said...

I wouldn't really call this post depressing - I'd call it REAL. I think so many of us can completely understand where you are coming from. I stayed at a job I hated for 15 years. It got so bad towards the end that I would come home from work every night and curl up in a ball on the couch and cry. Why did I stay? Mostly because I needed health insurance. We do what we have to in order to take care of ourselves. We need to be responsible.

Does that mean we have to give up our dreams?? No, I don't think so. Maybe we just need to postpone them for a while until we can work out a way to take care of our health and also follow our passions. I think it's very sad that we often have to choose one or the other, but I salute you for doing what you have to do in order to take care of yourself.

I feel like there is so much more I want to say on this topic, but I just can't find the right words. But thank you for kicking off an important discussion.

Pieces of My Life said...

I switched careers, a 180 degree change from scientist to novelist, in my 30s, so you DEFINITELY still have time. (I wrote my first book while I was still working full time, and that's really the only good way of doing it, not just for insurance reasons but also for food/rent/clothing reasons!) Also, remember it's never too late to switch career paths. You can do it in your 40s, and even your 50s, so you should never feel stuck.

Plus, one day you're going to find a husband with health insurance, and none of this will be an issue. But even if you decide to leave your job before then, there are ways to deal with lack of insurance. (We know someone who's made that choice!) So I hope you never feel stuck. Again you have plenty of time, you're going to find whatever it is you're meant to be doing, and you're going to do it fantastically. :)

(Even if it's pasty school. Do they really have a school for making pasties?) :P

(This is probably my favorite post of yours, by the way...)

Cara said...

Thanks Karen. I think postponing is what I'm doing right now.
Thanks Elizabeth. I know there's still time. I'm just impatient. LOL! And, yes, there is pastry school.... yummy!

Becca / SingleWhiteDiabetic said...

Interesting timing. I was telling my counselor yesterday that I had a dream I quit my job and prepared to move "home" (17- hours away) and the next day realized "OH NO, I DON'T HAVE INSURANCE" and freaked out...

Katie from SF said...

Yeah... not depressing... just true. I actually DID want to join the military, to call them and have them reject me. (Because I am type I.) It was so sad, and still bothers me to this day. I could never be on a SWAT team. Or a cop at all for that matter. Can you imagine going low while driving 100 mph to catch a bad guy? Not good. You can do all the things you want to do. You just have to find a path, and pursue those things.

Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

Right there with you, Cara. I still don't know what I want to do with my life!

I would really caution anyone who thinks the husband's health insurance is always a backup this economy both my husband and I have to keep it, mine in case he loses his job and vice versa. At least he has VA benefits if that comes, but still...

Kudos for bringing this up.

Cara said...

Katie-military runs in my family (dad, brother, several uncles, both grandfathers) so the thought crossed my mind. I don't know that I would have done it though...
Kathy - I agree! I think it'd be hard to quit a job w/ good health insurance even if I was married to someone w/ good health insurance. You are totally right about the economy issues. I'm so thankful for the job I have!

meanderings said...

I love your list!
And you still have plenty of time to try something new. Lots of community colleges offer night and weekend classes. Try one class for fun and see what you like.

Jacquie said...

I kind of feel like everyone has a "diabetes," though. No one can ever REALLY do whatever they want. I mean, they could, but those people are usually annoying and completely separated from reality.

Some people have shitty parents, some people are born in destitute conditions, some people have diseases that are far more dire than the d.

But in the end, everyone needs to eat, so everyone's bound by something. We're just bound a little tighter.

Katie said...

This is such a great post! I can relate to so much of what you wrote. I stressed out so much in the years following college because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and felt like I had to figure it out all at once. With your dreams and curiosity for life, I know you'll be able to accomplish those things on your list - and more!