I have this fantasy, of moving to a place, and buying (or even building) a house, and staying there forever. There would be a garden, and fruit trees, and chickens, and I could make whatever decorating changes I wanted because I would never want to sell the place, so who cares about resale value, because it’s mine forever, until I die and it belongs to my children. I want to be established, to live in a place for a long long time, and know people, and have a groove where I fit because I’m slowly dug it out, Grand Canyon-style. You’d think this would stem from a childhood spent moving all the time, but in fact I’m no stranger to immobility. I went to the same school for eight years (woo combination middle and high school!), and I’ve lived in the same house since I was a baby (with the exception of four years of college).
I used to think moving house seemed really exciting, and my dollhouse people moved in and out of their houses on a weekly basis, but my solid home base stopped seeming that way around high school, when I realized I do not want to live in Buffalo forever. I love my parents’ house, and I love Buffalo, and when I lived somewhere else it was always very exciting to come back, but that isn’t what I’m talking about when I say I want to put down roots somewhere and never leave. There’s nothing wrong with staying in your hometown forever, but I also want to explore, so I’m a little conflicted on the issue. I want to see the world, but I also want to settle down, and the first desire really messes with the latter.
One of the (many, many) things I felt insecure about in college was the fact that I didn’t have much history with anything, or anyone. I didn’t stick with the same group of friends, or the same team, or even the same school, and I always felt a little jealous of people who had been in the same place with the same people doing the same thing for four years (the new theme of my blog is Caroline is Jealous). Instead, I had a lot of different experiences, sort of like getting the tasting menu instead of having a big burger, and I think it worked out just fine, but it’s only made my settling down fantasy stronger. I figured that grad school would hold all the answers, because graduate degrees take a long time. I would go to school, and after four or so more years of education I would be so fond of the place I would just stay there forever, which would be possible, because nurses can pretty much do that, unlike academics, who spend even more time living in places where they won’t end up because those jobs are much harder to come by. Except of course things don’t work out that way.
I felt sort of rejected when I didn’t get into the BSM-MSN program at Hopkins. I got into an amazing program, and I’m super super lucky, and grateful, and terrified by the prestige, but I felt a little slighted. It seemed like they didn’t want me to get too attached, and I was on probation until I showed them that I deserved to be a midwife. I felt unloved (by a school I don’t even go to yet, which should be a good bench mark for my crazy) and unworthy. I wondered if it was a sign that I should let go of midwifery, and just be a nurse, at least for a few years. And then, out of my gloom, a little voice whispered to me that this just meant I didn’t have to commit to Hopkins and Baltimore, that I could go anywhere, and do anything, and armed with a nursing degree from one of the best schools in the world, it wouldn’t just be a pipe dream.
In roughly fifteen months, I’ll graduate from Johns Hopkins with my BSN. Maybe I’ll stay, and get my Masters there, maybe I’ll end up somewhere else entirely. Right now, it’s impossible to know. For now, it makes me feel like Vianne Rocher, from Chocolat, just following the wind until I meet my version of Johnny Depp with an Irish accent, and we plant that garden.