Today, I woke up, made my coffee, caught up on reading some of my favorite blogs, and all through my morning just thought about how thankful I was.
Thankful for a day off.
Thankful to enjoy 70 degree weather in January.
Thankful that Keaton and I are making so many strides in our financial and personal goals.
And then–I realized–today is an anniversary! (I am the worst at remembering important dates, so it took me about 4 hours to realize this.)
An anniversary that turned out to mark a pivotal moment in my life.
Two years ago, I started my first contract as a travel nurse.
It was a rash decision. I got fed up after five rough shifts in six days. I felt cheated, underappreciated, and helpless.
I had worked long, hard, hours for a company that continued to beg for more time and commitment, but rarely if ever returned the favor. I was floated out of turn, denied time off requests to be home with family and friends, and I was tired, overweight, and out of shape.
One and a half years into my “career” that was supposed to be my path for the next 30-40 years.
I went home, called a travel nurse recruiter who had patiently worked with me through questions, concerns, and uncertainty. And I turned my life around.
Now, two years later, I am happy. I enjoy my job, but it doesn’t run my life. Work stays at work, and home is a place that is peaceful and relaxing, without the weight of call time, or work drama.
I get time off when I want it.
I dictate the times I need to be at home so I do not miss the important things with my family.
I’ve had two Christmases in a row where I don’t have to worry about cutting my time down to make it to work or get in a quick nap so I am awake and functioning while my patients’ lives are on the line.
We paid off over $10,000 in debt last year, and put another $25,000+ towards tuition and a new car to avoid accumulating more debt.
But numbers and holidays off are just a piece of this whole, beautiful picture that makes up what travel nursing has done for my life. For my marriage.
We are in control of our lives. We are seeing new parts of the country. We are learning and growing as a couple, away from home, realizing the strength that our relationship has when we trust in our gut and trust in each other.
So today, I am thankful. Thankful for this crazy leap of faith I made two years ago. Thankful for all the pieces that fell into place at the right times.
Thankful for that stretch of awful shifts that made me realize my life and my time is worth more than corporate greed allots for nurses.
Thankful I did not allow stress, and call time, and hospital politics take the joy out of the beauty that is nursing.
Thankful that I took back the reigns so early in my career.
Now, I know I am in control of my future. Two years later, and I still love travel nursing. But I also know this job and this path do not dictate my forever.
And for that, I am thankful.