Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Wisdom from the trenches

The last six months have had me following pursuits other than my writing. These have pulled me away from my blog, my book, my editing, my learning the publishing business. But in every endeavor there are lessons to learn. The last six months have taught me well.

I learned that I can have laser sharp focus when something is important to me. I can set aside all other hobbies, distractions, and fun to do the work, and only the work. This wasn’t a lot of fun, and I do think I suffered complete and total burn out in the month of January as a result, but it helped me get the job done. I completed a 20 week course, sat for a 5 1/2 hour board exam and passed my certification! Phew!!

aapc cert

I then immediately practiced the next diagnostic coding manual that we have to test for and got that one under my belt. (Truthfully, I was afraid if I waited too long to do this one, I would lose steam.) Phew again!!

aapc 10

So I learned that I still have the ability to study my butt off and learn new things, a skill that I thought disappeared when I walked out of my last college final all those years ago. This is good to know. 🙂

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I also learned that I could develop and recover from a near-debilitating addiction to Candy Crush. Anyone who has played this will understand how difficult that is to overcome.

candy crush

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I learned that body parts can completely rebel and cause life-threatening illnesses when you least expect them. My brother-in-law had a terrifying medical emergency in October and it showed me not to take my days here for granted. You can read about that here. 

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I learned that I really can take a day off in December and still have year-end at my day job go smoothly. In the last fourteen years, I have not taken any days off in December because year-end is such a busy and stressful time of year at work. In 2013, with my board exam on 12/21, I had no choice but to take a couple of days off to study. And guess what? I still managed to get all my work done and the year still ended. 🙂

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I learned that scheduling major things like board exams makes the holidays kind of blah. Quite honestly, I don’t think the holiday spirit even began to warm my heart until well into January. I participated, but my mind was elsewhere. Even after my boards, my head was spinning with numeric codes and medical terminology, and the grating fear that I would have to take that marathon test again. (Our scores didn’t come out til the following weekend.) In the future, I am going to try to avoid adding additional stress to my life during the holidays. The busyness is stressful by itself; I don’t need to add major career stressors to the mix.

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I learned that loss sneaks up on you sometimes. In the middle of a busy life, in the middle of a holiday season. Whether you are ready or not. We lost our little Miss Lily between Christmas and New Years. That makes three older cats gone in six months. 😦 We were heartbroken, as were our other cats. She was feisty and never really became buddies with her siblings, but that didn’t stop them all from trying to win her over. I still find myself checking in on her when I walk by the room where she liked to sleep. I probably will do that subconsciously for years.

miss lala

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I learned that my imagination craves the frenzied roller coaster ride of NaNoWriMo every November. I missed out on that this past year because of my class. Those of you that have participated will know what I am talking about. For those of you that haven’t, I highly recommend the ride. It is the greatest lesson in shutting up and getting out of your own way and just letting yourself do something for the hell of it. I tend to be a perfectionist with myself. NaNoWriMo taught me to stop trying to get my writing perfect and just get it written. You  can read about my love of NaNo here and here. I will not be missing it again. 🙂

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Last month, I learned to be patient with myself. How? By being a patient. I work in the medical field, but I try not to be on the receiving end of care when I can help it. January 1 was my tour of the new ER at our hospital. I had a cat bite that had gotten infected and had to have IV antibiotics. Then in the middle of the month I had a minor surgical procedure. I discovered that I am too used to trying to make all my doctors’ and CRNAs’ lives run smoothly. I am too used to focusing on what they need. I really did not enjoy having the tables turned even for a few hours. That being said, I did have a very positive experience under the care of some of the best in the biz! My anesthesia teams serve some wonderful cocktails. Afterwards, I had to let myself heal and allow myself to rest even when I felt like I should be back to my normal running around. I felt antsy and irritated with myself for not being full of energy a week or two after surgery. I learned that it’s okay to slow down. 

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 Some lessons were hard to learn; some were good to learn. That’s how it goes with life, I guess.

What have you learned lately?

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