Monday, July 11, 2011


Thanks danorbit from Flickr
I don't want to sound like any one's dad or anything, but it really feels amazing to work hard for something and achieve it.

Last week I took the test to become a Certified Emergency Nurse, and I PASSED! This is a pretty big deal because it gives me some new letters after my name, and because I get a raise from the hospital. I also got a lot of genuine congratulations from my co-workers, which felt great.  I think I may have inspired a few other people to prepare for the test as well.

This exam is very challenging- it covers a broad base of content from ocular emergencies to pediatric trauma (which I hope to never ever see in person). I started studying around October of last year, and have been really working hard since February or so. I think that the hard work I put into studying makes getting the certification feel even better.

I like to think it is my new fewer goals/more focus mindset that helped me get there (thanks Leo Babauta). I'm not trying to eat all organic produce, keep the house spotless, dress well every day, start my Masters (yet), so I have the time, energy, and money to really work on the things I want most.

When I was in my early 20's, I decided to train for a marathon. Mind you I had no idea what I was getting into, and I have pretty much crossed marathon running off my life list forever, but I remember the great feeling that came from training hard and achieving something big. Going back to get my nursing degree was a similar, longer term, commitment. I spent a year taking pre-requisite classes after work and studying on weekends.  My nursing program was accelerated and very intense, so it meant 14 months as a stressed-out unemployed college student. I had to sacrifice a lot of my laying around time and pretty much all of my disposable income, but it was a great decision and now I have a job that I love.

I feel great about my big professional accomplishment, and I can't wait for my trip to Ireland next month, but I am also getting ready for the next challenge- a medical mission trip to Haiti in November. This is a fairly expensive trip that comes right behind another expensive trip, so it will take some financial sacrifices. It also entails "primitive camping" for four nights, which I find pretty terrifying.  But most importantly, it is a new challenge and something to really look forward to.

Before I go, a quick cautionary tale about a focused lifestyle: The chore I dislike most and have been letting fall by the wayside lately is housework. I took my test last Thursday and promised myself that once it was over I would get the house (which was very messy and a little dirty) in order. Thursday afternoon I got a call from my friend Sarah, who was in town and needed a place to stay. Now Sarah is possibly the kindest and most unassuming person on planet Earth, who would never criticize and never judge. But OMG the house was a disaster! Luckily when property motivated I can get quite a lot of cleaning and straightening done in an hour.  The point is that if you focus on your big goals, someone might catch you with a grubby bathroom or a messy car or a wrinkled dress. Just a warning!

Otherwise, KISS (keep it simple stupid), focus on what's important, and listen to your dad!


  1. I feel like I'm constantly picking things up and putting things away, yet the apartment is still constantly a mess. And one of my fears is that someone will call up and need a place to stay tonight and I'll have only an hour to vacuum the cat fur and clean the bathroom and shove all the rest of the mess in a closet.

  2. I continue to tell you that you have NO idea what a disaster area I live in. I really, really appreciate your willingness to let me stay with you on such ridiculously short notice.

  3. Oooh, finally figured out how to make posting comments slightly less maddening! Next challenge- how to make it so you can "reply" and "like" comments.
    Amber- I say just let it get messy and deal with it as needed. Last minute houseguests can get the house cleaned pretty fast!
    Sarah- you are always welcome! It was nice to have a reason to clean up a little. And also to go out for martinis!


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