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1:54 a.m. - 2013-08-30
first day
When I was 19 years old, I thought I was well on my way to realizing my dreams. I was planning to be a doctor, devote my life to humanitarian work, globe-trot ...

I was a straight-A student. I started college when I was 16, and three years later I had a 3.92 GPA at one of the country's most respected and exclusive colleges. I had my life mapped out.

And then it all imploded, in December, 1999.

That's when I got the letter saying I was indefinitely suspended -- due to my eating disorder.

Technically, it was indefinite medical leave --but I never went back.

I got a job as a news reporter instead -- newspapers don't care if you're anorexic.

And I was very good at it, very -- but it never was what I wanted. As the years crept by, going back to college and being a doctor seemed to become more and more impossible. It was too late. I was too old. I'd blown my life.

I thought that until my husband walked out on me four years ago. Suddenly my life was mine again. I owned it and I didn't have to share. I could go after what I wanted. I was free.

I decided to go to nursing school.

That was two years ago.

And now, in 18 months, I'll be an RN.

I'm planning to work in the US and volunteer for humanitarian missions a few weeks a year until my kids are older, but eventually I hope to live and work permanently in Africa or South America -- somewhere where kids are still starving to death.

I gave up on that dream in my 20s, but it apparently didn't give up on me. It harassed me constantly -- the guilt, the lives I wasn't saving, the futility of my existance. I protected myself with workaholism, starving and booze.

It didn't work very well.

The day I decided to go to nursing school -- so what if I'll be four years shy of 40 when I graduate -- I felt this sudden, almost physical wave of peace. My quiet desperation evaporated. I felt okay in my skin -- OK. I felt like I was suddenly free to move lightly and enjoy life.

I still feel that way. I know I fucked up before, but I'm doing something about it NOW. I don't constantly have to carry around the burden that kids are starving to death and I'm not doing a damn thing about it.

I'm glad I decided to go after what I really, really wanted. Why settle? You only get one life.



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