Trash in My Own Yard

I have recently witnessed a few serious events of friends that make me want to go into other peoples’ lives (yards) and help them clean up their trash. I assume they can’t see it, won’t do it correctly or would do all things differently if they were able. I am such a great codependent, I want to jump in and fix it all, as if I know what they need.

A couple of them are in denial about what they are dealing with. Another is totally clueless. No matter what, it is not my business. I have to firmly RESIST the impulse to get in there and tell them what they are doing wrong. I have tried to rationalize that I am teaching. As an RN, this is a common theme. I call it support, education, helping, or being there. I actually think I know better than they do about their life. It also makes me feel needed and useful.

I figure I have learned to manage some life challenges, so they should do that too. I have also learned that it is not my job to facilitate someone else’s ah-ha’s. “It’s not my journey.” is my new mantra for living. I am not good at moving in and out of the piles, so I am mostly sitting outside the yard. I can support at a distance, instead of sitting with them in their piles of trash. I can provide health information, emotional support and back away. What I need to do is look in my own backyard instead of worrying about everyone else’s. Whose yard are you sitting in?!


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN


Progress NOT Perfection

I am pleased to report that the “Fix up Susan” project has closed its’ doors permanently. It has been a work in progress for several decades with discernable improvement but no completion date. While I was busy fixing myself, I forgot to live my life…until a health crisis reminded me that I needed to live in my wholebody, not just my head. I have finally learned at a week shy of 64 years old that I am fine the way I am. I will never be thin, artistic, or fluent in another foreign language. I will continue (likely forever) to be creative, overweight, smart, empathic, sensitive and compassionate, as well as musical.

After reading a million self-help books, Geneen Roth, Brene Brown, Wayne Dyer and many others, I have learned and believe I am good enough. Can you close down yourself-fix it project? Can you actually fathom not working on ANYTHING but rather living your life….? Be who you are…An amazing and important idea!


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

Get Empowered: Ask for Help!

February was not my month! For two weeks, I was flat on my back and sick with something awful…? The flu? Couldn’t eat, take care of my dog or put out the trash. I struggled to keep the basics going, like the heat. I thought I had it handled.

Then I took a fall. Broke my hand in 2 places and couldn’t use it. Of course, these falls only happen when you are buck ass naked and it is Friday at midnight. The good news is I was able to get myself up. The bad news is I couldn’t do much else.

I slept with frozen peas and a splint. The next morning, my friend called. I told her what happened, and she showed up with a goody bag full of crackers, seven up, bananas and Gatorade. She checked in regularly. apparently the word traveled and another neighbor took out my trash. People showed up to feed the dog, water my plants and see if I needed laundry done.

I was lovingly cared for by several folks. Some I didn’t even know that well. A couple still ask if I am doing ok. I was really impressed by how kind they were. I felt empowered and treated kindly.i am usually the one doing the caretaking. It was different to be the one that needed it. As a nurse for over 40 years, I pride myself on taking care of myself without help…except for my golden retriever. I now know that as I age, I may one day again need to ask for help. Next time I will be less judgmental and afraid. How are you at asking for help?!

Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

The Yenta in My Head

I have recently decided my resolution focus for this year is on myself. Being more mindful, taking care of my health, my weight and general wellbeing. Who can argue this isn’t a good thing?! What I didn’t expect to discover while learning to meditate and focus on the present, is that my in my mind is a mean yenta.

The mind stores many negative experiences, and mine in childhood are doozies. I am learning from a master of neuroscience how to manage my mind which never seems to shut up. This skill set is hard for me, and opens up an incredibly new way of living…being mind-neutral. Being mind-neutral forces you to let go of old experiences, pain, anger, fear and sadness-a great concept, but tough to do.

Michael Singer discusses the benefits in several videos, and his book,”The Untethered Soul.” (See link below) I sure wish I learned this stuff decades ago.


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

Ordinary Time

Ordinary time is a Catholic and Christian term and concept that relates to the liturgical calendar. There are labeled times, like Advent and Lent, and ordinary time is outside those special days. Many folks believe “ordinary time” means not important time. This is not true for the liturgical calendar, or in living life.

The older I get, the more blessed I feel to be aging. I used to be someone who complained about wrinkles, crow’s feet, and other evidence of my aging. I don’t do that most of the time anymore, as I have learned how lucky I am to be alive and presumably healthy at age 63. I know several folks I have loved that did not get to live until 63 years of age. They died younger.

As we welcome in the New Year and make our plans for the future, remember that all our time on the planet is a blessing. We make not like what is happening in our lives, but we are wired to adapt and change to cope with it.

Don’t take health, family or love for granted. Embrace your life and make your time extra-ordinary. Happy New Year!


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN

Basic Kindness

I have been thinking about basic human kindness for a few days now. Recently, I was headed to a special music session located an hour away from my house in an area I wasn’t familiar with; out in the boonies. The host had offered very detailed instructions, but I still got lost. I called the information number listed on the directions. I told the person answering that I was likely lost. His comment was “if you have the directions, follow them; I don’t have time to talk right now!” He then hung up the call.

To say I was stunned was putting it mildly. I was going to an event in his venue and paying monies to do so. I was already concerned about finding the place in a rural area, and this was his response. I was so upset I turned around and went home. He lost the revenue and reputation I could have spoken out about, and I felt shamed, unworthy and stupid.

I am not directionally challenged, but even if I was, making me feel worse about it was not helpful. What happened to saying something kind? Asking if we can make it quick because he is busy? Why are folks rude, when it takes the same amount of time to be nice, or at least tolerant? I am over my feelings about the incident. But it reminded me to be patient and at least reasonable with folks who do not understand the way I do. When was the last time you were kind to someone?

Time to Stop the Madness

I started out thinking this blog would be about my experiences consulting in prison. But as I wrote, I realized that my madness is outside the wire and inside my mind. It is the madness of producing and output. Measurable success, as determined by “them.” I don’t know who “them” are, but I do know I constantly strive to continue working, continue to produce; to be worthy, valuable, balanced and whole.

I taught a leadership course a while back, and part of the dialog from young nurse leaders, was that they worried that we, their boomer bosses, would not think they were valuable or productive enough because they left before 8pm at night to go home to their families. We, the boomers, had role-modeled complete imbalance in our lives, and these younger generations thought it was the way they had to be successful was to imitate us.

I recently wrote about looking at the “slow lane.” I have written about “preferment” instead of retirement; doing what I want to do professionally instead of what I think I need to do working full time. What I didn’t realize until recently, is that I am the cause of my biggest madness. Everyone I know my age is struggling with at least one health issue that makes them uncomfortable. Some are on their way to permanent disability. But they stubbornly resist retiring or working less-part time or per diem~not because of money, but because of perception. I thought I shouldn’t retire until I was disabled or unable to work. How messed up is that?!

Where did we aging, exhausted boomers get the idea that productivity equaled value? That working 70 hours a week was required? That taking time off during the “work day” to see a child play a football game is “cheating?” That we must work ‘til we drop from keeping 87 balls in the air? Is it in our nature as nurses to be workaholics? Are we avoiding tough things in our life? I have a dear friend that needs at least one major surgery she has put off for 8 years (!) …because she doesn’t have time (and doesn’t want to do it).

Part of this madness is the “women in the workplace” expectations of the eighties. All of our role models worked 15 hour days and every weekend. It goes right along with those stupid bow ties and pinstriped man-suits we all wore to be “taken seriously.” What the hell were we thinking?!! I am just now learning about balance and being whole. Progress but not perfection. That resting is not a weakness.

I have been a nurse for almost 42 years. It has been the most rewarding career I can imagine, and I have learned many things, including my experiences inside the wire (prison) which I will write about another time. For now, I am taking a well-deserved, long overdue nap!


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN