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9:25 p.m. - 2012-01-25
A lot of people use the first entry of their diary to explain who they are and why they decided to start an online diary. So here's my deal:

I started my first online d-land diary almost 10 years ago; it's still there, it's locked, and it needs to stay locked. It's the record of my 20s, which were not pretty.

I've always hated myself and been very self-destructive, and on top of that, throughout my 20s, I had this persistent malaise/discontent/guilt/disappointment in my life. I was a straight-A student at a prestigious college when I got kicked out for being anorexic; I never went back. I had wanted to learn six languages and work for the UN or Doctors Without Borders, but instead I was a college dropout with an interesting but not world-changing career as a news reporter. I kept telling myself that my good-enough life was good enough, but the only time I liked it was if I was drunk.

I made a point of being drunk as often as possible.

Eventually I got married, had two kids and quit drinking, but I was still miserable. I was miserable until the day I was wistfully reading the Doctors Without Borders web site and noted that DWB needs nurses -- not just doctors.

The light went on.

In September, after 12 years of aimlessness, I went back to school.

The funny thing is, the moment I decided to go to nursing school, all of my guilt and disappointment and depression, and most of my self-hatred, just evaporated. For the first time in my adult life, I felt at peace.

I realized that I've always felt that if millions of kids are dying unnecessarily every year in diffthird-world countries and I'm not doing anything about it, their deaths are my fault. I didn't think about this much, consciously, when I was trying to shoehorn myself into the life of an all-American wife and mom, but unacknowledged guilt was with me all the time.

No more. I'm finally doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm not saving lives yet but I'm working on it. Someday I'll work for Doctors Without Borders. Someday I'll speak six languages. It's not too late...



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