Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

October 14, 2012

There is always room for self-improvement

Here I am, thinking I’m all grown up. Mature, professional, dignified, and maybe even — ever so slightly — classy? I feel fairly confident and assured now that I’m 40 years old, sport matching Vera Bradley bags and natural, muted lip gloss. I’m standing at full height, eye-to-eye with the world, becoming a professional health-care provider, right?

But then.

In the most casual, perhaps clever, way, my university professor — a doctorate-level nurse practitioner, mind you — praised my bubble-gum-bubble-blowing talents. Last time I checked, bubble-gum-bubble-blowing skills are not on the nurses’ test.

Because I typically sit in the very front row under the instructor’s nose so as not to miss one morsel of information — an annoyance in and of itself, no doubt — this ultimate superior had witnessed easily from her perch at the lectern my prolific popping.

So not only was I popping gum in an upper-level university classroom; I also was popping gum, essentially, in my instructor’s face.

When she casually mentioned my, er, talents, I was instantly mortified. Had I really been popping gum? In her class? While she lectured, with all the seriousness required, about goiters, blindness and ear infections?

“How rude of me!” I told her. She sort-of smiled noncommittally and assured me that she, too, liked to blow bubble-gum bubbles.

“But not in a university classroom under the PhD professor’s nose, I bet,” I thought. “Not when you’re working on becoming a professional nurse. Not when you’re the oldest student in the class?”

I had a familiar sensation — conviction, revelation, insight, whatever — that I was about to learn something big if only I embraced it.

Well, I’m embracing it.

My bubble-gum issues are probably some Freudian oral thing. I have been known to blow through several packs a day — chomping one juicy piece after another. My mother did her duty and scolded me about the smacking and popping; I just didn’t listen.

I’ll leave why to the psychologists.

Without slipping into morbid and self-piteous reflection — but reflecting nonetheless — I began to think about my other, similar habits and what they communicate about me and to others. I immediately saw room for great improvement.

There’s the way I dress, my timeliness — or lack thereof — and even the way I sit in class, which is often with my feet up on another chair.

Upon further reflection, then, I saw — obviously — a column topic.

It’s this: We can make some changes. Thankfully, mine might include shopping.

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