Those starfish!

I coordinated an event at work, and the event happened a couple of nights ago.  I do not enjoy the preparation for it, and worry that it won’t work out as hoped.  I was looking forward to it being over, as it is the last time, in fifteen years, of doing this event.  The relief I was anticipating is not there.  I recall now that a similar activity last April also did not have that feeling of relief.  Then and now, I feel some sadness.  That my self-imposed stress about it was not perhaps, stress well spent, in retrospect.

This week has been another emotional week for me.  I have been upset about a couple of things:  some students’ needs are being unmet, and lack of response from some of my co-workers.  Neither of these issues are new, but my heightened reaction is new to me.  I find myself upset that I am looking at the same problems for twenty years.  I am upset with myself for not effecting change,  and upset with my workplace.  I am then upset with being upset!!  

I am reminded of the times I have moved out of a house.  I have been driven to clean that house to a standard I don’t even try to reach when I reside there.  I have said, I don’t want anyone else to clean up my dirt.  I am now realizing that is my approach to retiring:  I want it all tidy for the next person.  It’s a standard I don’t think I will attain.

In my field, we talk about systemic problems versus individual problems, and about having professional impact on the system  in which we work.  As I look at leaving this field, I am wondering about my professional impact at my workplace.  Not saying I didn’t have impact, but through my current lenses of frustration and discouragement, I  can’t recall having had impact.  I think about the adage of the person on the beach throwing in one starfish at a time.  Historically my work has been like that, one starfish at a time. I am now concerned I  needed to focus on how they all ended up stranded on that beach in the first place.( Actually, I need to focus on both aspects!  A challenge to which I don’t always rise.)  When reflecting on this with a co-worker, she reminded me of a student last year, that with our joint efforts, we made a big impact in his life. He is one “starfish” I am glad I tossed back into that proverbial ocean.

With that in mind,  this is what I want to remember:  I have been in this profession for thirty-seven years.  I have continued to grow in my skills and  my understanding of my work. I am appreciative of the work opportunities I have had.  All in all, it has been satisfying work.  I want to finish strong, continuing to work from what I believe to be the best I can give to this job.  Since I work with people, I will never get it done, but next May I will stop, retire and call it good.

Published by Lorna

I spend time hanging out with my husband, those two young adults I had the privilege of momming, and two grandchildren. I love connecting with my friends and talking about what’s important to us over a cup of local jo. You can find me outside taking walks, bicycling, tending our wild yard, or inside cooking Gluten-free yummy food, knitting, crocheting, sewing, reading, and catching up with my large extended family. After exploring approaches to life, I have decided the guide for me is Love. And that keeps me grinning.

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