Staying Open: DECISIONS AND DOORS

The ONLY VOICE to listen to is YOUR OWN.

The voice to listen to is YOUR OWN.

Listening in the ER –

It’s last night and quieter in the ER than usual, so I have time to actually get into a conversation. I select a fellow-Pisces, an about-to-be-high-school-graduate, who’s sitting in Triage, waiting and looking nervous.  Alone in her own thoughts, “Isabella” has been stressing about college, where to hang out after the prom, and whether or not she’ll get home in time to finish the semester project she’s put off till the last minute — typical senior problems.  Oh, and she’s worried about her mom getting treated somewhere in the ER.

I go in the back and find Isabella’s mom in Subacute getting stitched after accidentally slicing her finger, instead of the bagel she was preparing for the child she nannies.  When I come back to Triage, I reassure Isabella that her mom’s doing fine and is in good hands (Dr. A’s.)  So Isabella decides to focus her freak-out on picking the right COLLEGE.  I mean, what better time to concentrate on such an important decision than when you’re in the Triage waiting area, surrounded by screamy-meemies, bloody bits, and patients and family members growing more and more impatient, right?

Isabella isn’t one of those privileged kids I so often see at the hospital. No. She’s the product of a super mom who tries to do it all (works three jobs caring for other peoples’ kids, drops off/picks up and fixes dinner for her own kids, pays the mortgage, cares for her sick parents, basically everything) — while Isabella’s Dad is unfortunately stuck on the other side of the border for ten years, thanks to bad advice from an incompetent Immigration Attorney.  So Isabella takes decision-making verrrrrry seriously.

Here I am, barely a half-generation older, but giving her advice anyway, because after all I’ve learned stuff from my own experiences, sometimes the “hard way” (wow, I sound old) so I must be an expert.

“WHAT-IFS” = WORRIES

She blurts the basics about the two colleges she’s gotten into:

This-girl-says-everyone gets-in-there-so-why-would-I-want-to-go-somewhere-where-they’re-not-even-selective? This-guy-says-the-one-I-thought-I-wanted-might-not-give-me-full-financial-aid-plus-two-people-I-don’t-like-might-be-going-there-so-maybe-I-should-just-go-to-a-junior college.

I tell her to BREATHE.

She probably won’t ever see “this girl” or “this guy” ever again. And anyway their information might’ve come from “this idiot.” And maybe the school she thought she wanted will give her full-financial aid. And who cares if two people she doesn’t like might be going to her college?  She doesn’t have to ever see them, and anyway there are probably at least two people she doesn’t like going everywhere she goes in her daily life — no big deal.  I explain that it’s normal to stress over not-knowing. And Pisceans never know anything for sure. But getting all of the information before bombarding your brain with “what-ifs” helps. Researching the information and asking experts (like college counselors in this case instead of random people) helps.

OPEN DOORS = OPTIONS

I suggest that while she’s in decide-mode, it might be a good idea to keep ALL DOORS OPEN. Even after making the decision, it’s wise to keep as many doors open as possible. We all have to say “no” to a school or a job opportunity or to a person sometimes, but if we do it in the nicest, most gracious way, we keep the DOOR OPEN for the future opportunities. (You never know when that nerdy guy who asks you out in high school is gonna transform into a dynamite video game inventor. It can happen.)  We all change our minds (especially if our astrological sign is Pisces!) Closing the door kills options. And I’ve learned that life is simply easier if we keep all options open.

Right on cue, Isabella’s mom comes out looking relieved that her daughter is smiling.

Last night it actually felt good to be volunteering in the ER.  Who knew I had “Therapist” in me? Ahahaha…

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