Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Survived

When a dream you have finally happens and the person who started you on that path is no longer in your life it makes for some crazy mixed emotions. Kelly, my ex-girlfriend is the one who pointed me down the path towards pharmacy school. I haven't heard from her in several years now and as I sat at the pharmacy today, my first day as a pharmacist, this was what I thought about.

Dear Kelly,

As I sit here behind the counter of the pharmacy, my first day as a licensed pharmacist, you are on my mind. What a strange thought to occur after not having heard from you in several years. But then I realize that maybe it's not so strange because had it not been for you, I may very well not be where I am today. Life is strange sometimes, the twists and turns and blows we have to survive to get to where we dream of being. I think I thought about you today because this was a dream we started together, me being a pharmacist. And now, this is a dream I've realized without you. It was a lonely first day at the pharmacy. I thought about how I was going to come home to my empty apartment and it made me miss having someone to share my dreams with. I am the only one of my friends from pharmacy school that comes home to an empty house. It's not usually something I think about. I have plenty of friends and family that have pulled me through pharmacy school. Who have dealt with the blood, sweat and tears that came with it. And part of me is glad you didn't see that side of me. But part of me wishes you could see just how strong all this has made me. I don't mind being alone. I know that if it's supposed to be any other way, it will happen when it happens. Until then I'm happy with my life.

I've done some pretty amazing things since I last saw you. Not the least of which is finishing pharmacy school and getting licensed. I've also traveled around the country. Trips that at one time I probably would have liked to take with you, but I've gone with friends or even total strangers who became friends and I've loved every moment of it. I've spent almost two months on Indian Reservations in the past year. I've been from Arizona and New Mexico to Maine, from Florida to South Dakota, from Missouri to Wisconsin and back home to Massachusetts. I've seen the beauty of this country and grown to love it in a way that I never had before. It's amazing the layout of this country and the dreams it inspires.

In the past nine months my friends from school and here in Massachusetts have watched as I've transformed my somewhat goal-less life into a path of change which the momentum has yet to slow. I joined a fitness program after my life changing experiences in New Mexico. I've lost nearly 50 pounds and found a new life and a passion for life that I never had before. Chances are, a year from now I may just be completing my first triathlon. The long term goal is to be a head turner! For now I'll settle for the small goals that add up to that one big goal. It's been one baby step at a time and I finally managed to run a mile without stopping the other day. In ten minutes and seventeen seconds. Not bad considering in April it was taking me eleven minutes and fifty-four seconds!

I'm also getting ready to move to Maine. I'll be living up near my grandma and working at the pharmacy where she gets her prescriptions filled. It'll be nice to be out of the city despite the many people I will miss when I leave. I'm sure it'll be like when I moved down here, I'll be back as much as I can. I'm excited to be living near family for the first time in my life. Speaking of family, it's grown in the last year. I now have two nephews and a niece. My sister adopted an adorable two year old, Matthew. He's certainly going to keep them on their toes! Erin starts school on Monday. Can you believe she's nearly six now? Ethan's going to be in fourth grade and is a smart little man! Now that I'm a pharmacist though, I don't know when I'll see them again. I'm hoping that I can get back to Iowa for Christmas but the move to Maine and all will determine if that's possible.

I wondered today what the journey of the past few years would have been like had I had a partner to share it with. I'm sure some things would have been different but I'm sure I wouldn't be who I am today if I did have a partner. The struggles I've been through with school and my personal life over the last four years have shaped me and made me the person I am today. So, I survived pharmacy school and I survived my first day as a pharmacist. And here I am now. Turning the page on the past and wondering where the future will lead me. It's scary and exciting and overwhelming all at once. Ah, the possibilities!

I hope life has been as good to you as it has to me in the past years!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's Official

Apparently I passed all my pharmacy exams because as of 5:00 this morning, I am licensed pharmacist #27626 in the state of Massachusetts. Yikes!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

All in a Year's Time

It is quite amazing to see what all can change in a year's time. Babies are born. Jobs change. World travel happens (okay, not so much world travel but a lot of travel). Degrees are conferred. Honors are awarded. Exams are finished. Life starts anew on a daily basis.

A year ago yesterday, my two best friends and I were celebrating never having to take another final in pharmacy school (along with one of them having a birthday but we were more excited about not having more finals)! We were looking forward to, and dreading, the final year of pharmacy school which involved five rotations at different pharmacy settings. My first one not only was amazing for its location but it changed my life completely. Zuni, New Mexico. Indian Health Services. Located in the high desert of the American southwest, among the rattlesnakes and prickly pear cactus, I started a life changing process that is continuing to evolve. This is where I became most acutely aware of the past decisions I'd made and how they were effecting my life. Within days of coming home I'd taken the first step of a journey that feels like a million miles sometimes and signed up for my first boot camp. Forty-three pounds lighter today, I know I've still got a ways to go but I've truly enjoyed this journey. The taking off the pounds has been hard work but it's been more fun than the lonely nights of eating that put them on.

Today, just a year after celebrating no more finals, I've finished my licensing exams for the state of Massachusetts and if all goes well, meaning I've passed both of them, I'll be a licensed pharmacist in about a week. It's scary how much things have changed in the last year. There I was, terrified on my first rotation, hundreds of miles from home. And today, I'm just as terrified that I'm the one who will soon have the license, who'll soon have her own students wondering how on earth they'd landed where they had.

If all goes well, and even if it doesn't right now, eventually it'll all align, you may never guess where life may take me. Yes, I'm moving soon to a different state and my life will once again be a little shaken up but that's not necessarily a bad thing. A little shake up here and again is what keeps us grounded, keeps us knowing what the important things in life are. It's what it takes sometimes to realize where our roots are and who we can count on. It also gives us the chance to see just what we're made of. Do I have the strength to take off to a new place, leave behind the people I care about, and grow? I'm sure I do and we'll see how this next year changes my perspective on life. Who knows, triathlons, family, traveling? I'll have more stories to share in a year and, like it or not, life goes on with or without me. I'll be more than happy to jump in and see where we go from here.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Shopping Spree

It's been nine months (wow!) since I started going to boot camp in the morning. I've missed one month thanks to some moron who "didn't see me" when he was driving home and totaled my car but otherwise I've been to everyone of the other camps. Boot camp is this amazing exercise program at 5:30 in the morning and I go Monday through Friday. I love it. I think it's addictive. And I've met some amazing women. Yes, it's all women except for the one co-ed camp a year. It's been a lot of fun and it is the only, THE ONLY, reason I am still living here in Worcester right now. Thanks to the neighbors (see the previous blogs for that story) I'm ready to move now but the thought of leaving boot camp right now just absolutely kills me. I have no idea how I'm going to go the last day or how I'm going to say good bye to everyone. I cry just thinking about it already and I'm not leaving until December. That's also why I haven't said much to my trainer who wants me to do a triathlon. I can't see myself working with another trainer after I move and it kills me to think she's not going to be there cheering me on.

But I digress (what's new there). I mentioned boot camp because Friday was the last day of the most recent boot camp and it's been three months. Every three months I do what they call an assessment. One of the trainers weighs and measures me and I get actual numbers to show me what all this work has done for me. I was absolutely sure that these past three months, with graduation celebrations and several vacations, that I wouldn't have made it to the goal I was hoping to be at. In fact, I'd already resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it out of the obese category by my birthday which is my goal. So I was shocked when I stepped on the scale to see I'd lost 18 pounds in the last three months. EIGHTEEN! That did not sink it at all. Until I hit a red light about three blocks from home and I realized wow, I could actually do this! Later that day when I opened my email and looked at the results and compared it to when I first started last October, I added up all the numbers and I've lost 43 pounds and 23.75 inches. WOW! Now I can kind of see why people are starting to tell me I look good. (I'm still having trouble seeing it but hey, I'm happy for the compliments!) I can also see why NOTHING I OWN fits me anymore! NOTHING! Even my T-shirts are too big. Ugh. So, how do you buy a new wardrobe when you're broke? I guess that's were plastic comes in to save the day because at this point there is no getting around needing new clothes. It was a necessity. Well, it was that or dust off the sowing machine but I'm not THAT good! We're talking 3 pant sizes and size medium shirts. Do you know when I last wore medium shirts??? Me neither!! 5th, 6th grade?? I have no idea.

So, I bought a bunch of clothes, some of which are going back tomorrow because they're too big. When I came home I took a bunch of pictures of me in the new clothes and stuck them on MySpace and Facebook. I now have one friend telling me I should be a model. Thanks, Steve, but I've got a ways to go still. If I should happen to reach my ideal body weight, I literally will have lost half of me. I wonder where that other half goes?