Stranger 83, Day 83 – Meet Virginia, the “Happy-Go-Lucky”

Stranger 83, Day 83 - Meet Virginia

I met today’s Stranger while waiting in the lobby of Atlanta Tech Village. She was walking around the building for a moment before stopping in at the Octane coffee shop. That’s when I walked up to her while she was checking out. She gave me the curious look of what I wanted after I told her I wanted to ask her a random question. However, she was totally game for meeting, and so here goes…

Meet Virginia, 29

Who are you?

She gives me a funny face. “Hmm, I don’t know how to answer that.”

Though, she tries anyways, “I’m somebody that’s pretty happy-go-lucky. I have a lot of passions about a lot of different things.”

She continues, “I’m a nurse, so I have a lot of consideration for people in a lot of different ways. But even when I’m not working, I guess, I still consider people in different ways.”

You have a lot of passions for a lot of different things. So what are a few of those passions?

“Well, I guess, what I mean is I have a lot of passion for what I do at work — like caring about people and taking care of them.”

“But, I guess, anything I do like biking, kick-boxing, or boxing. When I start to do it, I really think about my goals. Like I start to have goals about what I’m trying to do. That’s what I mean.”

What’s a goal you’ve got right now?

“Actually, just started taking Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This will be a long, long term goal. Eventually, I want to be a black belt. But I just started so that’s going to take a while.”

“And then with biking, I actually, one of my other long-term goals is to do a Century, which is a competition to do a 100-mile race. So I’m going to do that.” She thinks some more.

“And then as far as my career, eventually, I’m going to go back to school. I want to do some travel nursing. So, I can see different things before I go back to school.”

Where do you want to travel?

“I guess for travel nursing, I would have to live in a certain area. I was thinking about definitely over in the west coast. I had some thoughts about Hawaii. That’d be fun. Maybe New York City. Maybe also in Puerto Rico or Bahamas. Like down in that area. But, I like to travel, so out of the country is always fun.”

You mentioned you like to care for people. What are the reasons you’re doing this and nursing? Where did you get this drive and motivations to care for others?

“It started with my family. I originally wanted to be an eye surgeon.” The moment she said that I felt my stomach turn thinking about surgery on an eyeball. Yowza!

“… because my grandmother was going blind. I learned very quickly after watching one surgery that I did not want to be an eye surgeon,” she laughs.

“Then, I started to think back on what I actually liked to do and what mattered to me most. I went through a lot of paths before I picked nursing. I picked nursing because I wanted to be able to do something if something happened to someone I cared about. It’s not too specialized, but it’s specialized enough where I would know how to save some lives for people that I cared about outside of the hospital setting.” That’s cool!

One of the very first things you mentioned to me about you was describing yourself as “happy-go-lucky”. How does that fit into everything?

“I’m not really sure. That’s just kind of how I’ve always been. I guess I get the feedback from people and people tell me, ‘oh, you smile a lot. You laugh a lot.’ Like I get that growing up. That’s my feedback, so that’s how I feel like I am.”

Virginia adds, “I like to take things seriously, but not to the point where it makes you miserable. I think, sometimes, you have to look on the positive side. I know it sounds kind of cheesy to say. It’s hard to do, but sometimes you just have to think positively. I like to exude that.”

Thinking about how you’re a nurse, and how you like to exude positivity. From what I’ve heard from my nurse friends, there are difficult times as a nurse. So I’m curious how you are able to keep your positivity in otherwise difficult situations (that aren’t).

“Umm, yes, I would say it’s very difficult sometimes with certain people in the hospital while taking care of people. I always try to keep in mind that if it’s the patient that’s acting out, I always try to keep in mind that they’re stressed out in this situation. They’re not necessarily doing it towards me. So, I had to learn very quickly not to take things personally. I have to think about their situation. If it’s family members, it’s pretty much the same thing. Like, even if they’re not going through what the patient’s going through, they’re still stressed out for their loved one in that way.”

“I try to keep that in mind. I keep a smile. I like to kill them with kindness. How about that?”

But not actually kill them!

“Yes!” she laughs hysterically. Poor choice of words, but I get it. 😉

What makes you the most happy? (Thanks to Sunshine, Stranger 82)

“I would say…” she thinks about this. “Being around, and just having my friends and family and also my cat… makes me really happy. So we could be happy just being around my friends and family because they’ve got me through a lot through my many years of being on this earth.”

Anything they’ve done specifically that you use as a nurse?

“I think what I learned from them is just to listen. Because I guess, in our day and age, we spend a lot of time talking about things. So, I’ve learned from them how to listen to them because they listen to me when I’m venting about something.”

What would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

“Maybe what motivates them to do what they do to try to make the world a better place.”

After the handshake.

We had fun taking her picture in different ways, and then, speaking for a few minutes about this journey. I mentioned to her that one of the inspirations of 100 Strangers, 100 Days was the frequency to which we see the same people all the time, but because we do not have to “work” with these people intentionally, we don’t connect often. I shared with her how we tend to do the courteous thing to wave hello or say hi, but nothing else. The rude thing would be to not do anything. Meanwhile, the awkward thing would be to say hi and go beyond the hello. Why is that? She points out that she felt that exact same way when I first approached her. Then, she caught herself and asked herself mentally why she felt this was awkward. So she very much understood the motivations behind this journey.

She also comments how she talks to Strangers all the time, but she does so because she “has to” as part of her job. However, there are many others she sees frequently who she knows nothing about. She thinks about this, and I can see it working in her mind. I can see her thinking about taking a leap to meet some of these Strangers with familiar faces she sees often.

It was only Virginia’s second time at this Octane coffee shop, she also tells me. Well, hopefully, maybe, we’ll see other again in the (near) future.

Meet Virginia. No longer a Stranger.

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