Monday, June 24, 2013

Happiness found.

Seven weeks ago a embarked on an adventure that will forever change my life.  I finally found a job that initially I was afraid to take.

I spent the last two years soul searching, trying to figure out where I am supposed to be in all aspects of my life.  I am by far no where near close to finding all the answers that I seek...but the one that I spent the most time and effort on (finding a new career path) has really paid off.

As I've said before, for me, the retail world is an awful place to work.  It sucked me in, chewed me up, and spit me out a convoluted, warped, bruised and damaged version of the woman I once was.  I was angry, bitter, unhappy, stressed out beyond measure,  overweight and bored.  

The spirit of happiness that I used to portray was gone.
No one should cry themselves to sleep because they hate their job.  
Worse yet, cry before work because you don't want to go in that much.
My husband, my best friend, really helped me cope.

Finally, through a lengthy series of events immediately following our first year of marriage, we decided it was time to quit my job. In fact, the company's inflexibility to help me relocate my position made it that much easier to quit.  
Within a week of my last day, we had our bags packed and I was moving to Oregon.  I had just reconnected with my Dad after 20-something years of no contact.  His health is questionable at times and I didn't want to miss out on anything anymore.

The last two years I have had a lot of time to relax, get back to who I really and truly want to be.
I'm still somewhat overweight, but that's slowly working it's way off...

I'm happy!  I smile and laugh a lot again.
I am surrounded by nature.
I am surrounded by people I love.
I am confident in the woman I have become and know my past only shapes me.
My passion is back!
Plus, I love my new job.

Seven weeks ago, I took a position as a caregiver for five developmentally disabled adults.  I have always had a special place in my heart for those with disabilities, now I get to make a difference in their lives.

I was scared at first.  I didn't want to let the residents down, they've been through so much.
Adjusting to a nocturnal shift (645pm-7am) three to four days a week didn't sound appealing, either.
I have found it more enjoyable than I could ever imagine!
The nocturnal hours aren't that bad, actually.  I get to enjoy dawn, my favorite part of the day, everyday!
The only hard part is figuring out how and when to spend time with the hubby, but our time is more quality now than ever.

The best part are the people I support.
Seeing them smile over the littlest things makes me so happy.
Playing music and dancing with the dudes is one of my favorite things to do.
Teaching sign language, giving them choices, taking them out on adventures...just a sampling of things my co-workers and I do for the dudes.
Mostly, we spend time with them.  We give them quality of life back, that was once taken away.

We don't know all of what they've been through, but what we do know is not pleasant.
I'm not at liberty to say anything, but you should research the history of abuse and neglect for the DD (developmentally disabled ) population.  What you'll find is that they are perhaps the largest group of people who have suffered from all forms of abuse.  It's sickening.

I am so thankful for the job I have and that we support the life and well-being of these individuals in Central Oregon.  

What would you do if you needed assistance in every aspect of your life? Would you still be able to find joy in your day? Our residents still find joy.  They battle many things in just the simple tasks of life, yet they still find joy.

The problems we face day to day seem so small to me now.  Sure, there are things that are going to get us down....but I ask you to take a step back from one thing today that pisses you off and remember that there are others out there who cannot even fend for themselves, yet they still have joy.

Their laughter is infectious.
Their frustration is real.
Their feelings are genuine.
They have no bias or judgement.
Their joy is pure and true.
Their day is full of structure and schedules.
Their life depends on the caring support of those around them.
They're people.
They have feelings and emotions, just like you and me.
A single step forward, a new word, getting out of bed, going outdoors, and many other things are daily victories that some aim to achieve.
They have a special place in my heart and life now.