I am 43 years old. I have 4 sons.  I run a very busy small business.

Why in the world would I go to school now for nursing?

My husband and I have been independent for over 20 years, since we both got out of the Air Force.  He’s a carpenter and I run a spa and practice massage.  Last year he broke his arm and was out of work for 4 months.  No workman’s comp, no insurance, no safety net.  Later in the year his main source for work went out of business and he decided to reexamine what he wanted to do for work.  He came out one day and said, “I think I’ll go to nursing school.”

“That’s a great idea for you Craig!”  The more I looked at it with him, the more I thought, ‘that’s a great idea for me.’  I only have two and a half years left to get a bachelors in nursing, I have a 3.9 GPA, and all of my prerequisites are with the University of Arkansas so I’m a preferred candidate for their nursing program.  At some point while I was looking at the options it hit me that this was the direction that I was going to go.

I couldn’t breathe for two days.

There was a tightness in my chest as I processed the realities of nursing school and accepted the possibility that the spa might have to die, because how in the world could I possibly do it all.  I came to accept that I needed to be independent, no employees if I was going to go to school.  Jessica (my right hand therapist at the spa) and I looked for a place for the two of us to practice massage independently.  We came up with a plan for how to handle the new procedures.

Becoming independent looked very much like starting a new business.  Just as much work, our people wouldn’t know how to find us, we’d have to redefine ourselves, rebrand, rebuild the new concept, remodel, move everything, reestablish procedures, lose clients in the shuffle.  It didn’t make sense.

The spa wouldn’t die.  It’s like a person anyway.

People run into each other at I.M. Spa.  Connect with each other.  Bring people there that they care about.  Give our services to their loved ones for Christmas, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Birthdays.  We see the best of people there.  Men taking care of their pregnant wives, or their wives who’ve been taking care of everybody in the family but neglecting themselves.  Kids take care of their moms there.  Roommates take care of each other there.  Grown up brothers at the counter getting gift certificates together for their sweet mama.

People go to I.M. Spa with health questions.  Gout?  Fertility?  Sleeplessnes?  Pain?  Headaches?  Life changes?  Panic attacks?  Lose weight?  How do I get healthier?

People go to I.M. Spa for help with grief, to deal with pain, to celebrate success, to feel better, to share the good things in life with people they love.

I guess it’s a testament to the business that we couldn’t kill it off.  And how cool would it be to become a nurse practitioner, practice massage therapy, and develop the community of the spa.  What a vision that would be.

So yes, I’m going to nursing school full time, running the spa and doing as much massage as possible (fortunately it’s a very calming meditative type of work), and being my weird foodie type mom self–feeding my kids as much raw food as I can manage.

Our staff at the spa are awesome and I’m counting on them to help me through.  I’m so fortunate to have such a great community, to have such amazing friends and clients, and to have such a wonderful church community at St. Paul’s.  And I’m so lucky that these are the challenges that I have to deal with in my life.

This may be my last lucid post until May.  Wish me luck!

 Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.