Summer is coming to a close even as school has already begun and the 100 degree weather rages on with smoky air lingering from local fires. I pressed the reset button again in June. I couldn’t sustain the life I was living at my previous job. The term “quality of life” has been ever-present in my lexicon since working in hospice nine years ago. How do I want to spend my days? How do I want to live my life? These past few months, as I complete paperwork for my new job, I’ve realized how little patience I have for tedious, seemingly unnecessary work. I have no guarantee that this new job will be better than my last. That’s been my life, changing jobs in search of the better one. I keep coming back to the question, how will I live my life differently this time around? How will I balance home life and work as a therapist? How do the two become integrated into my one life I am living? After seven different jobs in two decades, maybe the answer is that there is no balance for my life as I am living it. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I was listening to the Rewind Yourself Podcast #151 Ancestral Amnesia and the Village Mind with Stephen Jenkinson yesterday, which really stretched my brain in thinking about my life. I won’t summarize the interview, but challenge you to listen to it. It was a bit like listening to a foreign language, trying to comprehend something just beyond my reach. A friend in her sixties said to me yesterday that she didn’t know why she was here, meaning her purpose in life. From my viewpoint, twenty years younger than her, I was shocked and surprised. How could she not know after 6 decades? In my naiveté, I assume that wisdom will come in 10, 20, 30 years from now, but the truth is, we are all just living our days trying to figure this life out. I think that is part of the poverty that Stephen Jenkinson speaks about.
Zoey often will ask Stephen and me to share a story from our childhood. There aren’t too many I remember. And then I started thinking about how the stories we could be telling her and Zane would include not just stories of one generation past, but also the stories of her great-great grandparents and who they were and what their life was like.
So I come back to that question of how do I work differently this time around? The truth that I have lived again and again is that work is hard. Work is tiring and draining. It can be boring and tedious. And sometimes it can be fulfilling and inspiring. We live in a time when we’re always looking for the next best thing, trying to avoid where we are. That’s my story anyway. So maybe this time around I open my hands and welcome it all in. The difficult and the easy, the sorrow and the joy. That’s a life lived, right?