My brother-in-law and I were discussing the different types metal detectors this weekend and how some of these units are so high-end and professional grade etc, etc. and that it seemed like to me that you did not even have to work at it any more. I was saying that having a device like that would take away the ‘fun’ of it, I don’t want to make a living at it, the hunt is part of the fun of a metal detector. He was like ‘Exactly, success is not the destination,’ I liked that and asked him if I could use that. He said yes.
I got to thinking on this and what it means to me. I realized that the destination does not even have to be a long journey, or a spiritual one, or even a life changing one although those are cool as well. The best example of this in my life right now is me.
Thirteen years ago when I moved into this apartment complex I was not in very good health. Hell, I could barely walk from a re-ruptured disc I had had surgery on a few years previous. I knew nobody and was happy to keep it that way. I was going to school full-time and I really did not even expect to live here more than a year or two. We (my mom and I) moved a 10×10 storage unit into an approx 15×30 studio apt. Just looking at the boxes every day on top of homework, helping my mom and trying to settle in was making my already fragile mental state worse. I really did not know what I was gonna do, how I was gonna handle anything, everything. My mom was a life saver. Even better was she lived down stairs. We had separate units and our own space, just in the same building. It helped.
A few months after moving in while still sorting out all those boxes, the psychical pain got worse and I could not longer walk upright. I spent Christmas in bed that year. It was weird. I got better with LOTS of therapy, hard work and patience. It took me 20 minutes to walk the 35ft to the end of my hall and 35ft back with a walker, but I did it. I did it three days a week for months till my walker became a cane that soon got put in a stand for the occasional use (even now).
A year or so later and school is going along ok but I’m not. I feel that I cannot do ANYTHING in the world right (I actually still suffer from this, but I manage it better). I had all but a mental breakdown in my moms apt. one afternoon and she refused to let me leave until I had called the local mental heath clinic and talked to someone. One intake later I was on my way to mental therapy. Joy. Not again. I did not want another round a shrinks telling me I was a waste of air. However, as it was mom that asked… I went.
This was good as it turned out. I found a counselor that actually wanted to help me not just evaluate me and send me on my way. She was amazing. She knew just when push almost to hard, and when to step back. I discovered that I had some serious issues. Family, Dad, school, Dad, bad behavior, Dad… You get the picture. So lets work through years of that BS.
She helped me get through some tough stuff. I have taken the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) before its restructure in 1989 and the results were not the norm, so she was there with me while I re-tested and took a full battery of IQ tests. Guess what? I’m not stupid & I’m not crazy. 🙂
She was there when My dad was diagnosed with 2nd stage Melanoma and went above and beyond her job description and found information to help me understand when the doctor couldn’t. She was there when moms health started to worsen from various issues. Most importantly she was there when my mom died unexpectedly in 2008. When she had the opportunity to help juveniles stay out of the revolving doors of the states juvenile correction system I knew she needed to take it. If she could help them half as much as she helped me, ‘Nuff said.
My new (and current) counselor is certainly different in her approach, but I have found over the last few years just as effective at getting to what needs to be addressed. She was a great source of understanding how to grieve when my father finally succumbed to the Melanoma and passed on in 2011 and for a brief moment I felt totally and utterly alone since my brother, my only other family member, had also passed away in the mid 90’s. Fortunately my dad and I had realized that neither of was us blameless and were able to work through a lot of stuff before his passing. We parted as friends and family. He left me with a great gift of a new family who love me as though I was blood.
Today I have a better understanding that I am NOT a waste of space. I can be and indeed am an import member of my community. I did not move on and while I now live in a different unit, I still live in the same building. I act as a superintendent type person in my complex. It is a rewarding feeling to be involved with the life in my building. To be able to give them assistance if I can, even if it is just to change a light bulb, is worth the smiles I get in return. There is a decent percentage of residents that do not speak English well or at all so those smiles mean the world to me. These are all things that I could not get the same reward value out of a simple paycheck. I do not get paid for this job, I do it because I can and because I’m good at it.
I look after a community of older & disabled people who are just amazing. I have a small group of friends that I have Sunday lunch with, and a larger group of friends I have Tuesday night dinner with. The wonderful foreign treats that the residents bring me to say thank you. There are outings, bingo, movie day, arts & crafts and a slew of different eating events that happen around here. I went Gluten Free in
April and I’m learning how to cook. My friends are a great source of feedback.
I am also looking to help more in the community outside of my apt complex. I have opinions on things that sometimes people are interested in hearing. I am more comfortable in sharing with people and it is certainly easier to talk with people than it used to be. People respect me and ask me for my opinions as well.
All of these events and choices, not only from the past thirteen years I have lived here, but the previous fifteen before I moved here have shaped who I am and who I am becoming. It only took one casual comment to help me see it.
There is SO much more in thirteen years than what one thousand one three hundred and eight words can say, especially as I am no where NEAR my destination, but I know I am becoming successful at living it.
Posted for the Weekly Writing Challenge