Writing prompt: Work

All of my jobs have been in healthcare. When I was 17, a senior in high school, I got my first job working in Central Supply at the local hospital. While I was in nursing school, I worked weekends as a nurse’s aide. After I graduated, my first nursing job was at the county hospital in the sick baby nursery. I was 20 when I became a Registered Nurse (back in the late 70’s) and I had way too much responsibility for someone that young!

My next job was in the operating room. I have always like studying the human body, so this was fascinating. I was on the evening shift, and if we didn’t have a case, we would sit around smoking in the small lounge. I was a circulating nurse, and was responsible for sending anything removed from the patient to the lab. The most memorable specimen was an entire leg.

Then I had my second baby, and stayed home for 16 years, giving birth a total of seven times. Became an earth mother, so to speak – homeschooling, gardening, breadmaking. That, of course, was a more than full time job! I got into religion. But that’s another story.

When my youngest was about four, around 2000, I got a job in day surgery with some time spent in nursery and postpartum, after a short correspondence course to reactivate my nursing license. I thought this was what I wanted to do after all my personal experience, but found that it really wasn’t a good fit after all.

After about a year of that, I had an opportunity to work in hospice, which at first scared me, because I hadn’t really been around death. But I went for it, and in the course of time became very passionate about it, and it helped me with my own PDA (personal death awareness). I worked for three companies in the eight years I was in hospice, at one point in management. But the last year of working in hospice, I was driving 100 miles a day to see patients, working hours that were too long, and got burned out.

At this point, I decided I wanted a job where I just went to work someplace, but I didn’t want to go back to bedside nursing, because really, I didn’t want to have to deal with all the involvement with personal body fluids and life and death situations. I applied for and was hired as an acute care case manager in the same hospital where I had my first job, and have continued in this field for the last 11 years.

ON FULFILLMENT:

The most fulfillment from a job was in hospice, caring for people in the last stage of life, as well as their families. It could also be emotionally draining. When I started in hospital case management, I really didn’t know what I was getting into. It’s important to me to be able to make a difference in someone’s life, and usually that happens in a day’s work, although there are days when I’ve wondered what the hell I’m doing. I’ve quit twice, but returned. After this past year with two travel assignments, I feel that I’ve come to a place of being happy in this line of work. Not sure if fulfilled is the right word. I do help people, but I’m also glad to have the camaraderie in my department, and the feeling of satisfaction that comes with being good at what I do. Fulfillment in my life happens in my relationships with my children, grandchildren, and friends.

I’d really like to work part-time, and have done so periodically. Financially, that doesn’t work out in the long run.

WORK VALUES:

I have to help people in some way. If that’s not happening, it is just a grind. I also need work/life balance. I tried working 4/10’s and 3/12’s, and even though having the extra days off was nice, I was exhausted at the end of the work day. I prefer 8 hours – I get up early enough to have time in the morning and I leave work early enough to have time in the evening. It is important to take vacations, and I use all my PTO, only saving it up when I want to take a longer vacation. It’s also important to be valued and appreciated by the boss, as much as that is possible.

EXPLORATION and CIRCLING BACK:

A few years ago I studied Ayurveda with a plan to get away from traditional healthcare and have a wellness practice. That would be an amazing job – to help people really be well, instead of being in the revolving door of traditional western medicine. But when I finished my studies and took an additional course to learn what it takes to set up a practice, I realized that I would absolutely hate the aspect of having to market myself, do all the internet and social media, and that I couldn’t make as much money as I do in Case Management. So I went back to full time work for three years. In 2020, in the middle of the covid pandemic, I felt stuck and burned out. I looked for other opportunities, and this last year, I fulfilled my desire to travel by doing a couple of travel contracts, and taking time off in between.

I got what I needed from that – different work cultures, unappreciative bosses, and perspective on what is really important to me. So, at almost 65, I am returning to work full time at the hospital I left when I decided to travel. I do have opportunity to help people navigate the healthcare system and have the care they need. It’s not a dream job, or a calling, but I am good at it and have a good work environment. All the circumstances and benefits give me peace about financial security, and I have plenty of time outside of work to do what I want to do.

Like enjoying children, and flowers. ūüôā

Milkweed

Not my first rodeo! (or why getting married at 60 is better than at 20)

Well, obviously, I’m a lot smarter than I was 40 years ago. I’ve made a lot of choices, and in spite of some of them looking bad at the time, I have no regrets.

As I muse, on the eve of my marriage to the man who will be my third (and last?!) husband, I do ponder my life with some amazement!

I married my high school sweetheart at 19. What babies we were! I thought it was forever, certainly planned for it to be forever. We had a roller coaster ride, and along the way seven wonderful little lives were created and birthed into this world. Certainly can’t regret that!

Midlife came along, and until you are there, and then well beyond, you don’t understand what a midlife crisis is really all about. For me, I had the first realization that life was short and I didn’t want to keep living the life I was living. And the only way I knew to change it, because of the rather narrow vision I had at the time,¬† was to change husbands.

Now I know that I created my world, and I could have created change in a different and more healthy way. But that’s not what happened, and I got just what I thought I wanted. At 43 I divorced and quickly married again, tried to make it work for 12 years. I had wanted more pizzazz in my life, and I got it, but not in a healthy way. What got birthed through all that was an older and wiser woman! I learned to take responsibility for my choices and learned to make better ones! I don’t regret that!

And I was done with marriage! I was 56 years young, feeling strong, and made plans to have a whole lot of fun that I had missed out on in my pursuit of living the perfect marriage. I minimized and moved, and started living the exciting single life.

I joined meetup, because I only wanted to meet people, not date. Oh no, I was done with men! I went to parties, happy hours, restaurants, went to running groups, did all kinds of things I’d never done. I did get involved with someone, but it was always known that it was just for fun. I¬† went out with a few guys, but it was more out of curiosity then wanting a real relationship.¬† Then, only a year after I was divorced, I met Robert.

I’d gone to yet another meetup, at the wine bar down the street. He was there, along with a bunch of other people, and there was no love at first sight. Just another guy. But we met again, at another meetup a week later, and that is when something magical happened. I had this moment when we were sitting at the table talking, and the rest of the world just kind of faded away, like in a movie.

So, long story short, that was four years ago. A year ago Robert proposed to me right before my fabulous 60th birthday. (He threw me a great party, btw!)¬† I’ve had enough time and experience with him to know that he is the real deal, for me. I know what I want, and don’t want.

The biggest deal is that I am entirely safe to be who I am in this relationship. There’s no big drama, no narcissism. There is a constant love and acceptance, and an understanding that love isn’t always FELT. Rather, love, the marriage kind of love, is a knowing. Knowing that you feel good with this other who is a mirror of your true self. Knowing that life is great lived without a partner, but somehow, with this person, life is a whole lot better.

So, never say never. Be open, be careful, be ready to be surprised!

Am I saying “til death do us part” ? No, not this time. Said it twice before, broke that promise. I fully expect it to be til one of us leaves this body, but saying that just doesn’t seem to be necessary.

I am getting married tomorrow!

20171027_175635.jpg

 

Moving!

In two days, some men with a moving truck will load up all our worldly possessions, drive the 60 miles across Houston, and unload them all in a new space.

The last month has been stressful, to say the least. Talk about uncertainty! We found a place we loved, but for a number of reasons walked away from the deal as the red flags were waving all over the place. Quickly found another wonderful place that seemed to be calling to us, and it seemed to take an eternity to get the YES we needed and to get all the paperwork squared away. It felt like those fight scenes in movies where they suddenly go slo-mo and then everything speeds back up. Totally out of control.

20170623_184003And now, as we sit among the boxes, sorting and packing, feeling the tension build and taking steps to release it ( like going out for pizza, having pillow fights, watching movies), we are so ready to be there and find the new adventures waiting.

This move, as most are, is a leap of faith. We never really know what we are getting into until we get there, right? We may love the house or apartment, but we don’t know it’s quirks. We may love the location, but we don’t really know the neighborhood, or, more importantly, the neighbors.

We take our familiar possessions with us into the great unknown, and work to make them fit into unfamiliar surroundings. And we do that with ourselves, making shifts and changes to fit into the new subculture we find ourselves in.

What people will we meet? What experiences will we have? Where will this road lead?

I am in the unfolding.

A Day Off

Since quitting my full-time job in July, my life is my own. Or is it? What am I taking a day off from? (warning: this post evolved into total stream of consciousness!)

Starting from last Saturday, let’s take a look at my schedule for the past week, and most weeks. My 3 year old granddaughter stayed overnight with me Saturday, and again on Monday, while her mama worked. Thursday I spend with the now 6 month old twins. Tuesday evening is my Ayurvedic Spiritual Counseling course. I worked, albeit from home, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, for a total of 18 hours.

Today, Friday, is the only day this week that I have nothing on my calendar. Not even a yoga class. So there you have it, a day off.

I always think I am going to “accomplish” big things when a day like this comes along. But what does that mean, anyway? I have in mind to get all my homework done, do some painting, do some writing, cook a delicious meal, go for a long walk, do laundry, clean the bathroom. I doubt if I’ll do all that, and I may do other things. It just feels good to have an entire blank slate of a day.

Right now it is the middle of the day and Robert is fixing lunch, some kind of garden veggie burgers, and vegetables and grains and it smells delicious! I guess if I’m going to cook it will be dinner!

wp-1484932347137.pngI got up at 6:45 and meditated.  Then I went back to bed for a bit. Got up and had tea, wrote in my journal, did some Yoga with Adriene, my favorite youtube yoga teacher. Ate my favorite breakfast of oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, and stewed apples. Took a shower and washed my hair. Threw some paint on a canvas, almost literally!

And I’ve been sitting here on the couch writing between doing laundry. I started a new blog this week, The Cat’s Advice – just for fun, check it out!

While we are on that subject, I also started¬†Finding Ayurveda. It’s purpose is mostly for me to put together what I’ve learned into content that makes sense to people who don’t know anything about Ayurveda.

***********************************************

Now it is after lunch, which is just as delicious as I expected. I sit here writing with my phone propped against the screen ¬†skyping the aforesaid granddaughter. Lately, we’ve been doing this more frequently, just “hanging out” so her mama can have 30 minutes to do some organizing or whatever. ¬†Precious time, precious child. I don’t post pictures of her at her mother’s request.

wp-1484942917585.jpgIn a little while, I will drive down to the nature trail and take a walk. Today it is a balmy 77 degrees, a beautiful summer like day in the middle of January. ¬†Yeah I’m doing that instead of watching the inauguration. You’ll never find anything political here.

Whatever you do today, may you be happy and look for the good. Remember, whatever you put your attention on grows and strengthens.

Thanks for reading my blog!

A lot can happen in a year.

I love Timehop. It would be so cool to have my whole life on it. Year by year, the journey unfolds. On Jan 3, I got the notification of what I wrote about 2015, and I thought wow, where has the time gone? So much has changed in the last few months that writing has been on the bottom of my list. But, here I am now!

New Year’s Eve, 2015: I was in a cottage in the country, drinking champagne and making intentions with my partner, Robert. I said I was going to leave behind “I can’t” and make having more compassion be my main intention. I believe I have been successful with¬†the former and hope that I am making progress on the latter.

New Year’s Eve 2016: I was home, babysitting my three-year-old granddaughter while her now single mother worked. And Robert was also at work. Making intentions was the farthest thing from my mind. After the little one finally¬†went to sleep, I was glad to just sit and watch a movie!

Caring for a young child twice weekly so her mother can make ends meet was not something I anticipated a year ago, or ever, for that matter. But, when circumstances change, what are you gonna do? Although at times it exhausts me, I am glad that I can be there for my daughter and have a special relationship with my granddaughter.

Speaking of grandchildren, 2016 brought me two more! The announcement came in early spring Рmy second oldest son and his wife were expecting twins! And they arrived, two healthy boys, in mid-July, right after I quit my job. And, with that freedom, I make a weekly 120 mile round trip across Houston to spend the day with them and give their parents a bit of a break. wp-1483928846636.jpg

In other very major news, Robert and I are now engaged! After three amazing years together, “in spite of it all and because of it all” (as he and I often say), we have taken this step of commitment. He asked me on November 29, on bent knees, and I said yes. I never thought I would want to marry again, but when I thought that, I hadn’t met Robert!wp-1484019838009.png

Then in early December, I got my birthday wish! I turned 60 and my deepest desire was to have all my children together. Robert threw me a wonderful party, and all seven of them were there,along with some of their spouses and all the grandchildren. It was quite a feat! My dear sister Ellen and her husband drove down to celebrate with us, and my closest friends were there as well. It was wonderful, marvelous, unforgettable!wp-1484019648440.pngwp-1484019669518.png

Biggest plan for 2017: we are going to move house. Going to go north of Houston, away from the city and the refineries I’ve lived by all my life. Going to where the air is cleaner, but close enough to the grandkids to continue the current relationships. It’s a leap of faith in many ways, but I’m ready for this next adventure!

I am continuing to study with New World Ayurveda, and applying what I know to my life and sharing with family and friends as much as they are interested and want to know. I  will finish this course in April and take another trip up to Maine for the final intensive. Robert is in this class too, so will travel with me. With the completion of the course, I will be qualified not only as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, but I will also be a Spiritual Counselor and meditation teacher. Since I am also certified and registered as a yoga teacher, I feel a sense of pride in accumulating these credentials over the last two years.

But since the priorities of my life have shifted unexpectedly, I haven’t started a practice as I had expected. And I feel ok about it, and whatever else may change. I am blessed to be able to work part-time from home doing medical reviews right now, because there’s just too much going on right now for me to start a business!

As I was readying the little one for bed tonight, and taking some time to hold and cuddle her, I was reminded that this is what is important. Just being, and loving, not always doing.

The message I have received in my spirit Рmy intention, my vision for this year and beyond:

 Whatever choices I make on the path of life, as long as love reigns over all, nothing else really matters.

wp-1483928697271.jpg