It Takes Kids


If we are lucky, we end up getting more than we expect from something we undertake. So has been the case with the job I started back in December. Just a very part-time and simple one as a lunch room monitor in a very small Charter school, something I honestly felt might not fulfill me as much as my career as a paramedic, but took because of logistical reasons. As it turns out, this non-career position may end up being one of the most satisfying jobs I’ve ever had in some important ways.

I was asked a month or so ago by a co-worker if I would be interested in participating in a 5K race that a bunch of kids and staff members were doing. This race was a two-part thing: one a regular 5K to benefit the Girl Scouts, but the other was called Girls On The Run to get local girls to get psyched and get out there and see what they could do. My co-worker knew I worked out, so approached me and I said: of course! Not really knowing what I was supposed to do though, I registered for the Girl Scout part, which was timed.

Meanwhile, the girls at my school trained, and in the lunch room, we all talked about the upcoming day which happened to be today.

It was held in a lovely park right as the sun was coming up. I haven’t raced in years and planned to just speed walk. The girls were excited and it was great to see some of the teachers out of work.

When the race started, I held to my plan for a bit, but since I had been having a pretty good work out regimen lately (and I’m way too competitive), I thought I’d try jogging just a bit. The paved trail in the park was surrounded by grass, so I was able to jog on it for much of the time. Since the Girls On The Run race started 5 minutes later, a few of the kids passed me and we cheered each other on. One teacher (who had planned to walk too, but was running), passed me also as did a friend’s son. I ended up jogging slowly almost the whole way. It was a miracle.

At the finish line, we all had fun cheering the school in (and collecting thin mints). And it was really crazy when we found out some of us actually placed in our age groups; including me! I was second in mine! Pays to be old. Of course I was 10 minutes behind the first woman, but hey: as a famous woman runner once said, “A win is a win!”

But the really best part was having the girls calling out my name along the way and saying hi, having one teacher telling me how much she loved me (I actually thought she never noticed me), having the kindergarten teacher introduce me to her Mom telling her about how I’m in her class and just hearing from folks how the kids love me (I was asked to be one of the coaches next year).

I worked for 20 years as a medic and rarely got warm fuzzies. Maybe it just takes children and their natural ability for giving joy and love to finally make someone like me feel good in my place of employment!

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Even Better


Sometimes we get tiny moments in time where we get to reinvent ourselves: a new job, meeting a new friend or maybe moving to a fresh neighborhood. We start over so people may not know our old habits, quirks or things about us that maybe we’d like to change. Of course, we probably are essentially the same, but we can hope that our old baggage can be left at the door.

As we get older, for me anyway, the picture of who we are seems to become less complicated. Maybe getting there can still be puzzling, as the world may not always work in the way we want, but if we take enough time to be quiet we can usually figure out what makes us tick and will make us relatively content. We realize too, that utter happiness may be an illusion chased by youth, and that each day presents challenges we must face.

But there are basic things we can each decide if we need or want them: do we need to be rich or have just enough to live and be comfortable; is a relationship important or is our solitude more gratifying; how close to family do we need to be; how much weight do we put on our jobs/careers, or is it simply important that we enjoy them? There are so many questions we can ask ourselves in search of contentment and being the person we want to be.

And when we stand at the threshold of some beginning, hopefully it is one that will bring us fulfillment and we can come to it as the person we want to be. So then at the end of it all, when we have lived as best we can, embracing what we loved about ourselves (even if others didn’t) and adapted to each new situation because it was a chance to become someone even better.

The Next Decade


As I boldly step into this sixtieth decade, where this woman has never gone before, I sense it will be an interesting one. I already know that I will be experiencing things that have never happened to me before, and portray roles unknown to me. This is both scary and exhilarating at the same time!

Ten years, while it may seem like a long time, can quickly speed by. The last ten certainly did and brought with them so many ups and downs. While I can’t ignore the past decade and its emotional pitfalls spattered with the not as memorable good snapshots, I’ve decided to do the sensible (and recommended) thing and live in the now.

So that even means not looking too far down the road of the next decade, although there are enjoyable moments where I can’t help it. Hey, my kids are all off doing their own things now, I’m single by choice, my health is good and I have a great imagination! Why not, then, occasionally dream about what may be in my future? All the fun places I might chose to live, or a new career choice, people I may meet, my future creations…the possibilities are as big as my mind.

But we don’t get there except by living day by day. And I plan to make each one of those days as satisfying as I can. My plan is to stay healthy and positive, remain open to new ideas and keep learning/reading/researching. With all these things, maybe the next decade will be decent. I’m not reaching for the moon, just a good walk on this troubled earth.

Most of all, I want to remember to be in the now, breathe and stay in constant touch with the world around me. Hopefully this may help to slow the next 10 years a tiny bit.

Vive La Difference!


Some parts of moving here have been hard: moving away from family and friends, leaving my home, making the decision to retire from a career. But one thing that I am really loving is the mix of people here compared to where I used to live.

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Welcome!!

Where I came from before, it was much more homogeneous. It was a rarity to see someone ‘different’ or unique or speaking anything other than English. Here it is an every day occurrence to hear a span of languages or dialects.

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Buenos Dias!!

Even where I work, we are all so different. There are many people of all different colors. It’s not always easy for me to understand everyone and how they speak, so I must be more diligent in my listening skills–never a bad thing for any of us.The accents are tricky so I try hard to understand what is being said to me. It doesn’t always work and sometimes I fail miserably.

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I hang out and listen quietly…

We all look different too. Many with beautiful dark brown skin and hair worn in all sorts of fantastic styles. Some with more light brown skin and the stories of their home back in Puerto Rico or Cuba. Many of these co-workers were immigrants and tell me their stories and have such interesting opinions during this political time. It’s fascinating to hear their perspectives.

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There are holes in the US system….

Many have heavy New York accents or speak outwardly about their strong Jewish or Christian faith. Some are teased a bit: like when they want their cup of ‘cawfee’, but it’s all in good fun. There is an acceptance of the openly gay and lesbian employees also, something that probably wouldn’t fly where I used to be. Everyone is just out…no hiding. It’s comfortable and cool.

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Come on out!!!

They might kid me about being a vegan and the strange drinks I bring in, but it’s not unheard of like before. I mean after all, this is a city! Yeah, most of them drink alcohol (not at work), but they understand the good stuff too. People bring in ethnic dishes to share, bake for one another and generally share cultures.

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Help yourself….

It’s viva la difference! Pretty much no-one cares….at least to your face. What they say behind one’s back, well, that I do not know. But generally I do get a sense, at work anyway, that the skin colors, ethnic backgrounds, religious backgrounds, sexual orientations etc. really don’t get in the way of anyone’s opinion of each other. Maybe other stuff, but not those things.

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Don’t be shy!!

This is quite a refreshing change. And for me personally, I completely love being immersed among so much color, culture and diversity!

For My Work Newsletter


So this is the article I am submitting in response to my decision to being asked to reconsider my resignation at my job:

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My April Fool’s Day

When I moved here in September, it was for a few reasons. The main reason was to be close to my Mother, but it was also to be away from the brutal New England weather and to retire from a stressful career where my co-workers often did not care about one another.

It’s been a blessing living near my Mom and the weather is sublime.

Applying for jobs was exhausting, and when Bethesda called I was very excited. I actually had applied for a different position than the one I am currently in, but with my experience, they felt I would be better suited for this one.

They were forthcoming about the stress of the job, which made me a bit nervous at the time because of my hopes for coming here mentioned above, but assured me about teamwork among colleagues.

It’s been three months, and yes indeed, it’s stress on steroids! I’ve seen how the stress reveals parts of people that probably, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t bubble to the surface.  Some of these parts have directly affected me and, I won’t lie, this has been difficult.

For years I’ve been told ‘you are too sensitive’ or ‘have a thicker skin’ and often it made me feel there was something wrong with me. But as I grew older, I realized that I embrace this part of me and know that this is what makes me a kind, compassionate and loving person. I don’t want to keep people out with a thick skin and I prefer being sensitive to the world around me.

So I had to make a decision about the stress once again in my life and if I wanted to (not could) deal with it. And after much soul searching I decided to resign on Friday, April 1. Even though it killed me because there are so many wonderful people and I actually really like the job and am not ever a quitter. But I had also promised myself not to live a stressful life anymore.

Amazingly though, something happened. I was asked to reconsider. And many people, including some that had been stressed out directly at me, came to me and were very kind.

This made me think about some things.

  • We all have our troubles, so trying to be conscious that another person may be suffering personally may help us to be more patient
  • We all are tired and over worked, but acting as a team will help us all in the long run
  • A smile and a kind word goes a long way
  • Someone we think may not care, really might in the end but just may not know how to show it in the moment
  • Be the first one to extend a helping hand, or even consider being social with someone
  • Try to talk directly to the person first if you hear something you don’t like—remember: don’t assume
  • Let’s accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative in regards to people, how we say things and our attitudes

I guess this all sounds hokey and maybe I’m being unrealistic. But my feeling is that if we reach high than maybe we may obtain at least just short of our goals. And this is better than not reaching at all.

The decision then about reconsidering? After so many great people asked me to, and because I am hopeful and positive person…

The answer was absolutely!

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I’m not sure how my co-workers will take it. They are a mixed and motley bunch. Some may be sympathetic and find it inspiring and others may find the words insipid. None the less, I am choosing to put them forth, just like I put myself forth every day in my blog to my blogging community. Many here hail me, some have walked away. Hey, it’s a free country and freedom of speech is regarded highly and we must be brave when we put ourselves out there to a new audience.

So shall I do when this gets published in our Surgical Services Newsletter. And then let the commenting commence….

 

Jinxed?


Have you ever felt like you are just jinxed? Certainly there are days that just feel like you set your feet down and no matter what you do to try to make the day good–smile at everyone, say your mantra, speak positive speak, or whatever– the day keeps dealing you harsh stuff. But I’m talking about a theme that keeps running through your life that makes you wonder if you pissed someone off in your last life?

I am someone who truly believes that we create our own realities. And I believe I work very hard almost all the time (I say almost because I’m not perfect) to be the best person/friend/co-worker I can be. A good friend of mine recently paid me a wonderful compliment. It has to go down in the book of “the most awesome compliments paid by a friend” book. She said that I had taught her so much and that I had such a good heart. We are very different people the two of us. And yet I could tell she saw my worth on a deep level and I had touched her. It was such a wonderful moment.

And yet, when I wanted so much to be in a relationship with a man, I couldn’t seem to find the right one. So many years passed, with so many painful interactions. I really wondered if there was something wrong with me? I’ve come to accept and even embrace my “singleness” now, but for the longest time it seemed as though I was jinxed.

Now it feels the same way with regards to my career. I’ve been stagnating for a long time. There have been a few times I’ve tried to step out of it and head in a different direction. But nothing seems to come of it. I can’t seem to figure out where to head or a job I apply for doesn’t come through. I know I am stuck for sure, but I don’t know how to get unstuck and each good opportunity I try for seems to get, well, jinxed.

I’m not a gloom and doom person generally, but I feel like I’m battling a deep sadness sometimes. It’s like I see the joy so clearly but there are these unknown forces keeping me from it? I know this isn’t true, but some days it just feels that way. I am just trying to keep up the positive talk and looking at all the good in my life. There is much I know: I do have a job and it’s decent. I help people every day. That’s a good thing. I just want an opportunity to do something different with my talents….

Hopefully the clouds will part and the good stuff will all come pouring in. I want all the magic to start happening and doors to open. Until then, I will keep being the person I am and put out my good stuff and hope it comes back tenfold. And maybe whatever karma from the last life will fade away if I work hard enough.