How do I know I can be fixed

I'm in my 40's, no career, just failed nursing school, gave up a lot during nursing school. I dedicated a lot of time for nursing school. I have a BS from university. I want to keep trying at nursing for a career, but I haven't found my place in life. I haven't really found something that I have succeeded in. I'm having a midlife crisis and haven't really even had a life yet.
Asked by Cho

Hello Cho:

You have asked a great question.

It takes a lot of courage to express your thoughts and to allow yourself to be vulnerable in this way. This is a strength. It means you recognize and you undestand that something is just not right for you. Even more so, you have a desire to get some help. These are all good things. 

You asked: How do I know I can be fixed. The answer to the question boils down to what you allow yourself to believe about yourself. How do you narrate your life story? Do you narrate it from a place of lack, victimhood, despair, doomsday, over-the-hill disgrace? Do you narrate it from a place of strength, optimism, victory, and determination to make life work for you? 

I noticed you mentioned nursing school a couple of times. It seems as though you are drawn to being a nurse or helping people. I want you to explore that a bit more. Do you want to be a nurse? Do you want to help people? Do you want to work in a medical facility? Do you have to wear the title of nurse to fulfill your life's purpose? 

If the answer is yes, I want to be a nurse then I want you to analyze what worked and what did not work while you were on the road to becoming a nurse. Were there too many distractions? Was there a lot of stress? Did we say yes to too many things that did not serve us? Did we put healthy boundaries in place? Did we have a good grasp of the material? Did we need change our study habits? What happened? Now that you have your answer, think about what you can do to remove those barriers out of the way. Do you need a quieter place to study? Is there someone who finished the nursing program that could tutor you? 

Sometimes, we have a tendency to think in Black or White thinking. Doing so is a cognitive distortion. When we think in black or white thinking we have a tendency to be narrow in thought. We are less likely to consider other options or ways of looking at life's challenges. We start to catastrophize and make things bigger than what they are. In the end, we become affected by the distorted reality of thought that festers, if unaddressed and corrected. 

Saying, you have not really even had a life yet veers into the black or white thinking category. That is because the mind is given two choices, either we have completed nursing school and we have had a life, or we have not completed nursing school and we have not had a life. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. While, you may not have had the life that you envisioned, you have had some victories and moments of fulfillment when you obtained your B.S. degree. While you may not have had the life that you envisioned, you still have a desire to work in a helping profession and that could give you hope that your life can become more than what it is right now. 

Another thing to consider is your values. What are your values? What do you hold as most important is life? Is that nursing? What else? What else do you value? How do you live life in accordance with your values? If you feel you do not do that very well, then perhaps a task for you is to write out a plan. Sometimes, we get so caught up in things working out perfectly. We presume that getting into a particular profession will occur in a straight line. Well, that does not always happen. Sometimes, we get from point A to point B through winding roads. 

Determine what it is that you need in life at this point. Determine what you want. Determine what barriers exist to you getting what you need and want. Write out an action plan with goals and objectives to help you get from point A to point B. Surround yourself with people, places, and things that will support you in a healthy way. 

Many people change career fields all of the time. The limitations that exist are the limitations we choose to put on ourselves. Have you heard of Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken? Well, he did not a professional chef until he was 40 years old, and he did not franchise his company until he was in his 60s. People perceive age and "limitations" differently. How will you choose to look at it. 

On another note, sometimes when we want something so bad and it seems to escape our reach, the loss can trigger the grief process. This is quite normal. You may feel in denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, before getting to a place of acceptance. Consider working with a good licensed mental health professional to help you work through these emotions and thoughts. 

Cho: you deserve to have happiness. Sometimes, things do not go our way and we are left to pick up the pieces. You can do that. Take one step forward and another. Before you know it, you will be on your way to living the life you allow yourself to have. 

Well Wishes,