Everyone makes mistakes at some point in their lives and everyone makes choices that guides the direction to be taken after those mistakes, whether the choices we're good or bad. I had my first child as a teenager and as soon as I was old enough to sit in nursing school (LPN), I was there. I lost quite a few close relationships, some family and some who I "thought" we're my friends, when I began going to nursing school because, in their eyes, I was supposed to do a whole lotta 'nothing' like the rest of them who had made similar mistakes. The difference for me was that I had a very strong support system within my immediate family and my mistakes were not a result of my family teachings and my environment. It was a non-thought-out decision on my part. Your living in the 'projects' subjects your ears and eyes to a lot of negative feedback; not your mind, as you've demonstrated. When I got back home to visit, those same people have progressed not one step in improving their lives. Some are still sitting under shade trees in sweltering temperatures, with the beer and what I assume is a cigarette. My cousin in particular, has been raising kids her entire life because before her baby came out of high school, her oldest had already brought home a new baby, and now her baby has a baby.
As a teenage parent still living at home, I was made to partake in the public income system known as welfare. I hated every minute of it. To me, that was MORE embarrassing than having a baby at too-early an age! I don't knock it or judge anyone who has to utilize it but it was not for 'me'. So, when I got my very first check as an LPN, I drove straight to DFACS and showed them my check,told them to stop all future payments IMMEDIATELY, and instructed me to stay away from my home! (Back then, anyone receiving payments were not allowed to own a car (making it impossible to get a job), jewelry, or savings account, and they made monthly visits to come check the kitchen cabinets for groceries that they deemed appropriate, checked the dressers for the children's clothing, checked the crib where the child was living....basically INVADED my privacy for three of the longest years of my life!!! Thank God nursing school was only a year long back in one days!!!!
Since nursing school was not my plan, but my dad's, I had no intention of furthering my education in nursing. So, I began working as an LPN, kids #s 2 & 3 came along, and work continued. Before I we it, my babies were not babies anymore and it was time to put them on a decent path in life. I was working 16-hour shifts with home health vent patients to pay for my oldest's college education. Since there was a 5-year difference between the next child, I had time before I had to bust my *** like that again. Unfortunately, the next two were two peas in a pod, with only one year separating the two. They put their head together, combined forces against ANYTHING that made sense, went to trade school, got thrown out (BOTH OF THEM), and are finally and gradually about to piece together a life for themselves. Throughout all this time, I was always trying to reason with them but you cannot tell grown folks what to do. I finally washed my hands of it so that they can learn life's lessons much harder than I had to.
You are NEVER doing too much unless YOU believe your endeavors are beginning to have adverse effects on your life. There are those that will judge you. As The Commuter said, misery loves company. Now when I go back home, I hear all kinds of stuff about me and I haven't even lived in my hometown since 2004! Even then, I never shopped there, didn't get gas for my vehicles there, didn't hang out there or anywhere else. The latest talk is that I'm a grandmother who drives a 2-seater, 6-speed convertible. So *******what!! (Lord, I love that car!!!) I served my years with a 4-door sedan and baby seats in the back. My baby is 26 years old. My kids had their kids AFTER graduating high school and becoming adults. I gave up my life for my kids...well not really because as an LPN, I was able to take them to the beach and zoo and park and anywhere else I liked to go. My point is when I want to go somewhere with my grandchildren, I will drive my car to them, park it, and get in one of the three vehicles that already has the baby seats locked down in the back. I don't know about these nosey-*** neighbors, but my grandchildren have parents as did my children. My parents's vehicles didn't have baby seats, they weren't required when I was a little girl and they were not required when my kids were babies. I had one because I got tired of looking in the rear view mirror only to see my kids standing in between the two front seats. They were some hard-headed little cusses!
On darn! I went way off topic, didn't it?
What I came here to say was, let them talk. She knows that if you keep it up, you won't be her neighbor for long. Keep doing what you're doing. That should encourage the COPD lady to lay off the cigarettes so that she will have the breath to keep talking about you!
And as long as you can hear her talking, you don't have to do CPR.
By the way, I did receive my RN license 3 years ago and should be done with the BSN by summer. Victim of the environment? Hell no! I did what I did, except the LPN, on my on terms. Keep it moving while it's moving. You will have greater rewards sooner than you think!