Rest. Ready. Set. Go!

Luxuriating in the second week of a long-awaited retreat at our place on the NC coast, I’ve had the opportunity to rest and re-energize. For the past year, in addition to working fulltime, I’ve been in school, a 50-something born again student, and non-work hours were guided by a course syllabus with reading, paper-writing, tests and due dates.

What a joy the past two weeks has been to spend time with my husband, to watch the ocean intently, to honor nature, and to offer gratitude for a truly wonderful life, and to walk through my days wide awake and tuned in to the world. Life hasn’t been without some ups and downs but I’m reminded every day that we rise and fall with the tides. Yes, we fall, but then we rise again.

I’m in the midst of what some call “a midlife career change” but I choose to call it mindful action. I heeded my inner voice about two years ago, recognizing and answering a call that I needed to

re-focus my energy to an emerging need in the world. Older adults, the elderly, senior citizens, you choose the name that resonates with you, these folks need and deserve attention, respect, honor, and quality care. Too many are lonely, alone, in need of attention and support. Their family members need help, support and access to resources.

I decided to answer my own call and put myself back in school to add some knowledge to my passion. You see, I love old folks. I always have. I’ve been a caregiver most of my adult life but I needed to add some objectivity and old fashioned “book learning” to my personal cache of experiences. I finished my coursework at the end of August. Next up is my practicum.

So, here I am, as dangerous as a new driver with a learner’s permit. I’ve read, and studied, spent hours interviewing and chatting with professional geriatric care managers, social workers, counselors, therapists, professors, nurses, aides, and clinicians. My road test begins in about a week. I get to take the wheel while a generous-hearted social worker rides shotgun for about 50 hours, guiding my road trip. I’ll spend time with older adults and their caregivers in a skilled nursing facility. I’ll observe and hopefully make helpful contributions to aid their journeys through times of crisis, heartache and suffering. My sincere hope is that I’ll solve some problems for folks and afford them with some peace and comfort.

Stay tuned. I think it’s going to be a great ride!

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