"This cannot be accident: it must be design. I was kept for this job."
My life has not gone according to plan.
I'd had great plans for life after high school. There was going to be college and law school. There was going to be a minor in theater, and maybe, who knows, I might bypass law all together to become the next Julia Roberts. I wanted a life full of energy, I wanted to help people, whether that was in a courtroom or by becoming an entertainer, I wanted to leave some sort of mark on the world.
I'd always been a voracious reader and started writing stories as early as the second grade. My English teachers, my friends who I wrote stories for, told me I should become a writer. I scoffed at the thought. Writing is solitary. Lonely. There is no immediate feedback on your work. No instant knowledge of "yes, this is good stuff" or "this sucks, try again". So though I continued to write, I had no desire to make it my life's work.
After high school, I found myself pregnant by my boyfriend of two years. We had a horrible relationship but did what so many do, married and started a family. College was no longer an option because he felt my place was at home, raising our daughter. I'd lost my independence, coming to rely on him for money and shelter, and we had moved 1,200 miles away from friends and family. He was all I had. My dreams fell off the radar screen as I struggled to make an unhappy marriage work, figure out how to be a mother at such a young age, and try to salvage pieces of who I was and combine them with who I was becoming.
Two years into the marriage, I had another child. My husband still believed my place was in the house, but I was becoming desperate to do something with my life. I was in need of friends, I was depressed that my life had not worked out according to plan.
And then one night, a car accident in front of our house changed everything. I would spend the next 8 years of my life taking on challenges I never imagined. I became a volunteer for the local ambulance, then a career EMT, then a paramedic. I became an EMT and CPR instructor. I became a certified fire fighter and certified in rescue vehicle operations. I would make life long friends and enemies. I would get divorced and fall in and out of love many times, remarry leave EMS for what I thought was good when I was three months pregnant with my last child, only to return a second time, because once again, I needed to be rescued.
I've been unable to hold a steady job since leaving EMS. I'm still struggling to find something as challenging and rewarding. I've toyed with the idea of going back, and who knows, by the time you read this, I might be crawling into the back of a mangled car, trying to breathe life into an unconscious patient.
I've always believed everything in life happens for a reason.
My life did not go as I had planned, because perhaps, life had a plan of its own for me. I've seen the worst in people; I've seen the best. I've struggled to make sense of death and in doing so, have come to the realization that in order to understand death, first, I must understand life.
10-42 is the code we use to let the radio room know that our shift has ended; we're no longer in service. Though my shift ended a long time ago, I want to share the lessons I've learned from my front row seat in the arena of life and death.
My life didn't go according to plan, and for that, I'm grateful. And I know though I can assure you, if you feel lost now, there is something for you around the corner.
The one thing I would like for you to remember is this quote:
"There's no such thing as chance:
And what to us seems merest accident
Springs from the deepest source of destiny." - Friedrich von Schiller
Excerpt from Girl Medic: Confession of Chaos and Calamity Behind the Sirens.