The Path I Didn’t Take

April 13, 2015

Everyone usually talks about the path they took but I can’t do that because I wasn’t aware that there was a path I’d be walking. In those days, you grew up in your parent’s house and you remained there until you got married or someone offered you some kind of employment in a different city or state that didn’t require an education.

It’s important to note that I said employment that didn’t require an education because in those days, women were not expected to have an education. In fact, all during my college years, I was the only female in most of my classes, or there may have been a sprinkling of two or three females in some of those classes. The old joke was that if a girl was going to college it was for her Mrs. degree and her education was not taken seriously.

Education was taken very seriously in my house. It was never if I went to college, it was always when I went to college. So, here it is a zillion decades later that I’m wondering about the path I didn’t take and wondering why my parents didn’t think I could do anything other than be a nurse or a teacher, and my father definitely did not want me to be a nurse so that left teaching.

From the time I was young, I always had an interest in medicine and I seemed to have a natural penchant for it. My mother used to call me Florence Nightingale after the woman who was the founder of modern nursing, yet no one suggested that I try to get into medical school and become a doctor. So, I guess that was the path I didn’t take.

In retrospect, I would have made a great doctor. To this day, I’ve never lost my interest in medicine and I’m always fascinated by the discoveries of modern medicine. I’ve also been fascinated by the way the mind works, its mysteries, its way of having selective memories or amnesia. It’s also a wonder how someone can go into a coma that lasts for years and wake up, fully cognizant, remembering everything up until the moment he or she went into a coma.

Just recently, I ran across some of my college notebooks and I was amazed at how nice my handwriting was in those days. It was large and easy to read and looked pretty good and I remembered how quickly I had to write to take down my notes. And then I glanced at something I had just written that afternoon.

My handwriting nowadays is so slow and resembles chicken scratch, and it’s almost impossible to read. As I sat there looking at what I had just written, I thought to myself, “My writing is so bad, I could have been a doctor. That’s the path I should have taken.”

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