Monday, February 22, 2016

The Wonder Years

Feeling nostalgic…

I have been watching The Wonder Years and the adolescent in me is resonating with the music and storylines.

I wonder if everyone feels they live in the best times of the world. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I was a child of change. Society was changing: politics, music, fashion, “the times”, rules and social mores. We watched the space launches, TV variety shows and listened to music that our parents thought was radical.

Pivotal moments: I remember wearing my first high heels with fishnet tights and a matching poncho dress made by my Aunt Ollie. My first kiss by David Long in 8th grade. Debating politics and being called a “womens libber” by Tim Ritter in 7th grade. Simon and Garfunkel lyrics used in English class to demonstrate poetry.

We may have been the last innocent generation, despite Viet Nam, despite the Civil Rights movement, despite Richard Nixon. Ours was a time of change, not just our bodies and minds but also the tiny town of Summer Shade and the world at large.

I grew up listening to Walter Cronkite and Captain Kangaroo. Reading the Courier Journal, Life, magazines: Time, Look and The Readers Digest. I loved the Encyclopedia Britannica and Little House on the Prairie books. I remember the war in Viet Nam on the news every night, the body counts, the black and white footage…

I remember watching Born Free on our new color television and weeping, connecting with a story on an emotional level heretofore unknown to me.

I remember the confusion of that time between being a child and becoming a woman. I remember feeling so deeply and passionately about everything, feeling as if I were on the cusp of something. There was expectancy and possibility and the world was out there waiting for me…

Now as in my mid 50’s I think of that young girl/woman, I remember her fondly and with much love. I want to tell her to not rush through those years, to take time and savor it, to write down more memories, to take more pictures, to remember every second, every moment, every minute. To stay innocent for as long as possible, for the world would take that innocence, the world would break her heart. There would be many first kisses but none as sweet as the one in 8th grade. There would be more wars, more strife, more disappointments and pain than she would ever imagine. I want to tell her that despite all that Life brings, she will be ok. I want to let her know that it is OK to embrace the passion and possibility of the future, to take more risks, to not play it safe, to not settle for half way anything.

I want to feel that passion and possibility again. I want to be on a brink of expectation and discovery. I want to trust again. I want long late night talks about life and death and all that is in between… I want that unbroken heart and inquiring mind.

The thing is, I think I only have to clear away the shadows and let go to find her again. I think that girl is my core; I think she still exists. She has been buried and hidden for a few decades, lost in the duty of caring for others, putting herself last.
But now, there is a freedom in my life, there is time and an expansion that allows for self-discovery; or perhaps rediscovery. It’s a journey that circles around and takes me back into my heart and mind to find the remnants of innocence and hope…

Friday, February 12, 2016

One chapter ends...

My first job out of grad school was as a case manager/clinician at Croney and Clark, a private not for profit mental health agency. I worked in various programs there and stayed on when a larger corporation, KVC based in Kansas bought the privately owned C& C.

Now I am leaving after almost 9 years.

It is bittersweet.

While there were issues, as with any job, that were frustrating,  overall I leave with a sense of gratitude.

The agency provided me with a lot  of great training through supervisors who taught me the nuts and bolts as well as the art of being a therapist.

I had several mentors who saw me through some rough times both professionally and personally. I am forever grateful to them for their support and guidance. I am grateful that I worked with the populations I did, as their lives were different from mine but I learned to see the commonalities.

There are people I worked with who feel like family and who I hope to stay in touch with but realize, that time and distance may cut those ties...

I feel as though I had reached my peak and that it was time to move on, take on more/different responsibility and challenges. Time to leave the nest. So I am.

Always, change is hard for me. I have a hard time letting go of everything but this feels so right that I am letting go gracefully. There have been and will be more tears I am sure.

It the past decade my situation has changed dramatically. I went to grad school, earned my MSW, got licensed, nursed a spouse through cancer, lost other family members to cancer, got divorced,  lost several pets to death and grew and changed and improved personally as well as professionally. I am in no way the same person I was 10 years ago. I have come out stronger and more confident and for the first time in my life, I believe in ME.

I have been successful in many areas of my life, mainly in my chosen career. I have never been fired from a job. I usually get a job that I go after. This is not to say I have not known failure because I have. But it is to say I am a fighter. That is something I have learned about myself. Even when others have given up on me, I have not. It took a long time for me to realize that... I am finally confident in who I am and I do not need the approval of a spouse, parent, sibling or even a stranger to make me feel validated.

I feel as if I am newly hatched, primed for life and adventure...

Here's to the next chapter!