Without Meaning

I’m having trouble saying who I am at present.

It was easy when I worked on the ambulances – I was ‘ambulance worker’, the job defined me completely. The shift work made me sleep at weird hours and be grumpy when I was awake. I walked around other people’s homes as if they belonged to me and I raced along the road on blue lights. I was part of a clique of people who had seen things and done things that most people never even think about, the camaraderie and the in jokes, the swearing, the ‘us vs. them’ attitude. My job defined who I was.

Then I left the ambulance service (just in time, as my crumbling back gave me numb legs and I couldn’t see myself carrying 20st patients any more) and I became a nurse practitioner. There is something about being a nurse practitioner that just doesn’t give me meaning like when I was working on an ambulance. Is it because it is less stressful? Is it because the camaraderie is not as strong? Is it because, instead of saving lives and delivering babies, I’m now telling people how to deal with sore throats and runny noses?

I’m no longer described and defined by my job. ‘Ambulance worker’ was my super hero identity, ‘Nurse practitioner’ is just a job. When I’m not at work I’m not ‘off duty’ any more – I’m just not at work. Working on the ambulances defined me but being a nurse doesn’t seem to fulfil that same role.

I’m not sure that this is a bad thing, but I think it is something that has been worrying away at the back of my mind for a while. I’m wondering if it’s come to the front of my mind because my old blog Random Acts Of Reality has finally been deleted from the internet (due to Blogware shutting down). I have the whole site in a vaguely unusable export format – but something that was such a large part of my life has now gone, and I’ve nothing new to replace it with.

Maybe I need to find something…

8 thoughts on “Without Meaning”

  1. It sounds like you lost a big part of who you are, and you have. Try to look at this as an opportunity, a self exploration. It didn't sound as if you had time for a social life before, so maybe now is the time to put yourself out there, take some chances, and maybe find a new, recreational passion that won't define you as much as accentuate or compliment you. Easy to say, I know, but I'm rooting for you and I'm sure I'm not the only one! Goodbye Tom Reynolds, nice to meet you Brian Kellett!

  2. I get what you're saying. Mostly because i remember you talking about it on Random Acts. "Tom Reynolds, Ambulance Man!" is an easy concept for strangers to grasp, whether they're reading your blog, or hoping for you to make their loved one all better.

    But it was never all of who you were. It's over-simplified and two-dimensional and i think it may have covered over other parts of you from general public view. The Collected Adventures Of Tom Reynolds, Ambulance Man! were fine as material for Sirens and a large part of Blood Sweat and Tea, but they weren't the reason why I, and i daresay others, read and commented on Random Acts consistently for mumblemumble years.

    Of course the trouble is that much of what makes you, you, is quite intangible and not really anything you could put on your CV or talk about at a speed dating event. You can try to pour yourself into different jelly moulds – Brian Kellett, Author! or Brian Kellett, Volunteer At A Youth Club! or even Brian Kellett, A Man Who Enjoys Cooking, Foreign Films And Long Walks By The Seaside! – and if it makes you feel better to do that, great, but it has nothing to do with who you are.

  3. It is mostly like this after a change in career path; and even more so when you retire altogether.

    However, it is not the job itself which defines you as a person. It is the unique being, the one who interested us all with the way that you felt about things and not just what you did in the ambulance service. (Fascinating though that was.)

    You have not posted much of late, but as soon as you do, people out here are interested in your perspective.

  4. This is a problem for anyone who defines themselves by thier job. An ex-policeman I once worked with described how old coppers would retire, paint the house and then die. They had gone from a job that offered all the things you mention as well as filling up all the time they wished to devote to it. Once free of the job, they couldn't cope with the freedon and pegged out.

    Please don't do that. If you need a hobby, get RAR back online in something else. WordPress does imports I think as does Blogger. Come on, it's still a good read.

  5. You are Brian Kellett, writer of acerbic comments that make us nod knowingly and of geeky comments that make us fellow geeks giggle for an improbably long time.

  6. It's sad to see your blog deleted. I read it from day one and sometimes would look back over past posts.

    A part of your life has gone, but others will develop. There's always something on the horizon.

  7. My husband experienced the same thing when he went from working in a trauma level ER to a managerial position. I think it was the loss of " the rush". He never knew what would come through the doors. He was part of a team, on his feet, had to think fast. Now he has more normal hours, better pay, and it's less physical demands but the "thrill" is gone. His job is much more predictable. He's almost 50 years old but his brain thinks he's still 30. He has started volunteering with boy scouts teaching Emergency Preparedness and first aid. Not the same as being in the thick of it but he's enjoying it.

  8. don't you feel sad for the loss of your real ability which is not the health area at all but potentially yourself as a best selling author?

    its not even that you squandered the talent but spent it in an area that has given you nothing but trouble and grief !

    the moneys gone out of tv , but sirens never had a hope because they were too stupid to see your talent and hire you as a script writer !

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