I’ve always been intrigued by those mechanical bulls. Something about the wild abandon of jumping on, my blonde hair flawlessly flowing behind me as I hang on for dear life. I giggle, tighten my abs, and control the wild ride, smiling smugly after my 8-second accomplishment concludes.
In reality, I’ve done this twice. I doubt either time my hair was anything other than a tangled rat’s nest in real life.
It all started about 5 years ago with a walk in a park. A beautiful sunny day, the kind where the sunshine sparks a warmth of happiness on your skin, and you smile while thinking the white puffy clouds above must surely taste like cotton candy.
“I can’t do it anymore,” my husband said to me, “I want to be a CRNA.”
I scoffed a little, maybe internally stamping my foot for a second. But the look on his face made me take a deep breath in and say, “okay.”
So that is why I am here now, sitting in a one-bedroom apartment 1,100 miles from our large house in Arizona. My husband begins the clinical portion of his training. He leaves me, three kids, and a dog with GI problems behind.
I cannot help but smile at the similarities it was to mine: overwhelmingly large hospital system, in a land far different from what we’re used to, and running near the ocean is the only thing we both can do to calm our busy brains and push whatever anxiety we have to the bottom of the list.
I want to be resentful. I want to throw myself on the ground and have a tantrum. But I don’t. I don’t feel resentment. Because I understand. I understand wanting to push myself, to take the road less traveled, even if it is a steep uphill climb.
I’ve always considered myself capable. I’ve changed a flat tire (*read “a” singular) in my day, but I never knew my capabilities until they had to be tested. Until it was me, and me alone, who had to take charge, to grab that bull (*metaphor for life*) by the horns and hold on for dear life.
My favorite quote comes from Sheryl Sandberg, and it reads:
"Resilience is our ability to deal with hardship. It’s like a muscle which means you build it. You build it by recognizing that whatever you’re going through almost certainly is not permanent. And that applies to the very worst things you go through."
Maybe I’ve been training my whole life for this moment. This is my ultimate test of resiliency, of strength. And while it isn’t permanent, I am strong enough to withstand this storm.