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By Jocie Ferron

Why is it that as soon as we get comfortable in a new routine, change happens?

Just recently I had the chance to change my nursing shifts from eight-hour days, five days a week, to two 12-hour days and two 12-hour nights followed by 5 days off. This for me is the ideal shift work!

After so many years without full-time work, I was finding that working all day everyday was doing my head in. Weekends were crammed full and nothing seemed relaxing anymore. Add on top of that school, homework, extracurricular activities … I was definitely more tired than ever and without a doubt grouchier as the week progressed.

My husband just called me a princess (but seriously, kudos to those who love the Monday to Friday work week, it is definitely not built into my psyche). While others extolled the joy of Wednesday 'hump day', I was moaning about the 'blah day' of the week. Just a day thrown into the middle and invariably always my worst day.

With these new shifts, I don’t have that Wednesday 'blah day' anymore and the four shifts seem to fly by. 

But what was I saying about change?

We don’t seem to do change by halves. My husband just found out he will have a role change at work and his travel requirements will increase. Welcome back to those Skype calls and text messages! Now we have to find that good, but sometimes hard-to-find balance with working away and shift work … thank goodness for grandparents to fill in the gaps! 

This change in shift came at a great time. My parents are visiting from Australia for most of the summer holidays. We have been able to get away together to some areas close by which otherwise would have been impossible with me having no vacation time this year.

We have been whale watching (even saw a couple), beach walking and looking for sea glass, hiking and swimming under waterfalls. In a couple of weeks, we are heading off to Anne of Green Gables land, otherwise known as Prince Edward Island for some more exploring and delicious ice cream.

It has been really nice having my parents here. Living on the opposite side of the world, I really enjoy this time together and the kids are loving having their Aussie grandparents at their beck and call. I am not looking forward to them leaving, especially with the ensuing fallout of having two little boys devastated to say goodbye.

My summer garden has been growing and we got our first crop of tomatoes the other day. The peas are shooting up, the beans are blooming, the brussel sprouts are being eaten by God knows what and maybe I will get some carrots and beets. The cucumbers? Not sure what happened to those but the zucchinis should be plentiful.

This summer we caved to the kids constant requests and bought a trampoline as a surprise, putting it up when they were out of the house. It was worth it to see the looks on their faces when they saw it sitting in the backyard. It has definitely been the most used item in our house, and also probably with our neighbors’ kids.

One of the downsides of working in healthcare, especially the operating room, is that you see all those very random injuries, including from trampolines. Just days after we set it up, I was working with an orthopaedic surgeon who started griping about the annual summer increase in trampoline injuries: how dangerous they are; why they shouldn’t be sold! Talk about making me nervous! What if?

I sometimes live life with that 'what if?' mentality, and once drove my husband so nuts worrying about everything that he called me a helicopter parent! It was a wake up call. As much as we often try to avoid those what ifs, the reality is anything can happen at any time. Working in the operating room, you really do see that apparent randomness thrown at people.

My new motto in life over the last couple of months has become "Eat the cinnamon bun, because you never know when it may be your last". It might sound a bit pessimistic, maybe even depressing, but it's my way of reminding myself to live life, enjoy it, and in the process eat those delicious cinnamon buns!

More articles from the joyful Jocie Ferron:

Australian nurse Jocie Ferron was volunteering in Mongolia when she met her French-Canadian husband, who was working in the mining industry. After a few years living in Australia they decided to settle in Canada with their two young children. They enjoyed a few years in a north Quebec mining town (where Jocie had daily adventures navigating life in French) and they've now settled in New Brunswick.