Fitting in – or not.

For most of my life I felt that I didn’t fit in. I was smarter than the average girl allowed herself to be and wasn’t afraid to show it. I loved math and science, and arts and languages, and music and art, and history and geography. And this was in the early 60s when it was thought that girls couldn’t do math and science and shouldn’t do it anyway, because women were supposed to be wives and mothers. The educational system in the UK decreed that everyone take an exam at 11 to get ‘sorted’ into academic or vocational schools; I went to an academic high school. The only problem was that after two years of taking every subject, we had to pick either arts or sciences. My dad went to bat for me and I was able to take a combination – probably the only person in the school to do that.

Senior year in high school, all my classmates had their plans made; I had no idea what I wanted to do. My mom convinced me I had always wanted to be a nurse, and since I didn’t have any better ideas, and since I won a small scholarship, I went to nursing school.

I worked in nursing for about 20 years. I was miserable almost the whole time. I would get bored with what I was doing and bounced around from specialty to specialty spending a year or two at a time in one area. But after 20 years, I was totally burned out. Still not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up, I meandered into accounting. It was difficult to find a job because nobody would believe I wanted to leave nursing. I was fortunate enough to land a job, with some pull from someone I knew who believed in me.

My employer paid for me to take a couple of computer classes in the late 80s, and I came alive. I took more classes, and 7 years later had earned an MA.  So then I was the proud owner of an AA in Business, a BA in English with a minor in Geology, and an MA in American Indian Studies. So now what? Are we seeing a pattern here? The first job I found was in – Accounting – where I’ve been ever since.

But there’s more to the story. I discovered that once I learned the job and knew everything I needed to know, I was bored. Excruciatingly bored. And it usually took anywhere from one to two years.

Then I found a book; a magical book; that changed my life. I discovered that what I thought was my inability to stick to anything had a name, and it didn’t mean there was something wrong with me! I am a Scanner and the book is Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher. Other people have called us Renaissance Persons, dilettantes, jills-of-all-trades. We have many names, but there is nothing wrong with us. Our brains just work a little differently; we learn what we need or want to learn and move on.

Phew! That’s a lot of information. More later.

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Ruth passed away from cancer. Please remove from list

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