Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.

"It's better to feel pain than nothing at all. The opposite of love's indifference." - The Lumineers

Sunday, 23 October 2011

I'm too old for this

That is what SR said to me as he was about to board the SAS flight back to Copenhagen. I couldn't have said it better myself. Not that he was too old. But that we can't keep dividing our life between two continents.

I'm still in Wisconsin with the two boys. We're going back to Denmark on Tuesday. And then we'll all be returning to Wisconsin once again this winter.

Since I have been in the US I have had this at times overwhelming feeling of panic that, yes, I am getting old. When I left for Europe three years ago, I was the energetic, optimistic, new-baked 20-something mom and now I am a 30-something mother of two. Wisconsin is the same, basically (other than people are ever worse at "good" and "well" and I even heard the word "weller"), but we have changed.

When you are feeling like I am feeling, it is probably not a good idea to read a biography of the Brontë family. Five of the six children died before they reached my age: 32. Only Charlotte lived to 38. They died of "consumption" (tuberculosis, of course - which turns out wasn't very accurately named as it is not the mycobateria that consumed, but our body's response to them that does the damage). Granted, they lived in the first half of the 19th century and times were different. But by the time Emily died at age 30, she had already written Wuthering Heights. And what have I done?

So that was the other odd part about our trip back: what are we going to "do with our lives" if/when we did move permanently to the US? SR was not as enthralled with working in the ER as he had previously been and is hoping to get a job as a Hematologist. But since he did his fellowship in Denmark and not in the US, it may be more difficult than we thought for him to work in the US. This is because unless you do your fellowship here, you can't take the boards and if you can't take the boards, well, at least some hospitals don't accept this.

And then I was waxing poetic and saying that I wanted to be a sports medicine journalist on the side, whatever I did. This suddenly gave SR the idea "you should do a residency in Physical Medicine & Rehab in Wisconsin or Minnesota". And we pondered this on one of our three hour drives from La Crosse to Hartland.

Odd that the next morning I read that the University of Minnesota had just a week earlier posted they would soon have an open position in PM&R for a physician who had done a Transitional Residency. So basically, there couldn't be that many people who could apply, but this described me perfectly. I wrote to the program secretary asking about the start date, not having any idea how I would manage a PhD and residency plus two kids at once. Turns out the start date was January, which I could not manage, so residency will wait a little longer. But SR probably has a point that PM & R would be a good fit for me.

The truth is, a life in two countries is more taxing than we had ever imagined, and nothing sounds better at this point than a home with routines and all the other normal things we may have once tried to avoid. (but don't send me emails with houses you are trying to sell! - trust me we've gotten enough in the last couple of weeks).

Here I am singing with the boys. I think I've owed you all a picture for a long time.

5 comments:

DDitlev said...

From my point of view you have done lots already! You are still young and I'm sure that you will have done lots more before you are truly old.

I'm older than you and have done my share of great stuff (as a father, a hacker, bmx driver, sailplane pilot, karate fighter, RC pilot) but I plan to that the greatest are yet to come... except the father one .. never gonna beat that one :)

Your post has a lot of other stuff in it that I really can't comment on since I have no idea what they mean as in why does SR need to be your ghost writer ;) But one last thing I can say is .. what a lovely pic of you and the boys :) When I've had a shitty day my girls can always bring a smile to my face.

Anyway good to see an update. Keep them coming.

Kirsten said...

Since we live this crazy moving life of diplomats, I can really understand your feelings. I have to give up my job every time we go abroad and even I've done a lot of things, it still sucks. When you have small children routines make life easier so don't worry about that. You can always go wild again when they grow up ;-)

SteveQ said...

Given that I'm older, have never had a real job, never been married (well...legally) or had kids and haven't traveled much, "what have I done with my life" posts look a little different to me.

Looking at what others have accomplished by a certain age is always problematic, as you get to things like Mozart composing at age 4 (or MaryEllen Chapman(?) running a sub-3 marathon at age 10).

The Brontes (skipping the diacritics) were not unusual. My great-grandfather was one of 13 children - the one that lived to adulthood. He lived to 93. What did he do with his life? Kept a shop, married, had a child, moved to America.

Great photo.

Diana said...

I understand your sentiments. I am surrounded by a disproportionate amount of overachievers in my field, which leads me to question my own abilities on a regular basis. Honestly, though, you seem to have accomplished a lot in your life already. Besides, I wouldn't trade my fairly normal life for a chance to write a famous novel and die young.

Good luck figuring out the future. I can't wait for the day I feel settled somewhere, whether that's in Europe or America. Safe travels back to Denmark!

Ah Ah Alaska said...

OMG, I was reading Charlotte Bronte's letters just the other night. Fascinating stuff. I'm still trying to decide if she grew to love her husband or if her last words were fabricated. We shall never know, eh?
Cheers and happy running,
P.S. What will we leave behind? Blog posts? Tweets? One-liners from Facebook? Kinda scary.