When I Grow Up

November 23, 2016

When I Grow Up

by Ambassador Amanda Maida

"What do you really want to be when you grow up?"

A question that's has come up a lot lately around "the office". We banter
back and forth mid-air on our headsets, complaining about the 14+ hour days

and nights, working away, living in cramped crew houses away from our
families and our homes for weeks at a time.


Most paramedics quit after five years of service. Just 8% make it to
retirement. Most leave the job with back injuries from lifting 300lbs
patients on the daily, go back to school for another career, or burn out
from stress. The stats only go down once you're airborne.

It's hard on your body, your mind, and your personal relationships, to
dedicate half your life to the job. Try having a first date and ending with,
"That was fun, what about Saturday - next month?" Or for some, saying
goodbye to your kids for what seems like a lifetime to their young brains.

"Can you see yourself doing this in twenty years?" A colleague asks me over
coffee and the gentle roar of king air medevac engines. She's made the
decision to go back to school for a business degree. "What's your exit

To be honest, I haven't thought that far ahead. The only future I'm thinking
of is my next set of days off. This is the only job I've found in my field
the allows me two weeks off a month, to do whatever I want. I work hard for
that time, and that makes it even more special.

The only thing in my immediate future is which bindings I'll put on which
skis with which boots.



I just turned 32, I'm single, and I have no pension plan. But I do have a
newly reconstructed ACL, a custom knee brace to protect it, and a lift pass
to Sunshine Village in Banff National Park. Crazy? Maybe. Not everyone in my
world understands my lifestyle, but I've found what makes me happy, and I'm
building a life around that.

"What do you really want to be when you grow up?"

I shrug, an uncontrollable Cheshire grin widening on my face, "Maaan, I just
want to be a skier and play in the mountains."

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