I am a little behind in my posts for The Thankful Project but I have been compiling and thinking of my topics before sitting down to write this post.
Day 2 A ROLE
As I read many of the other posts written around this prompt, I also agreed that I have played many roles in my life. Some of those roles are very natural such as daughter, and sister but others are ones which I have made a choice to become such as friend, wife, volunteer.
The role I am thankful for choosing is the one I never planned to become which is one of a counselor. My career goals in high school were to major in psychology (one of many minors) and eventually attend medical school. Many turns in life led me away from medical school (but not the medical profession) and I then found myself with a Masters is Social Work and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Even in graduate school, my direction was to never do clinical work – my brain liked policy and administration. I was open enough to take opportunities as they presented (my supervision was paid for by my employee) and remember a supervisor encouraging me to obtain my LCSW because “It’s only going to help you.” (I don’t think I ever truly thanked Lelia for that advice)
Officially, I spent 12 years working as a grief counselor with Hospice and I do not want even guess the number of people I have had the privilege of working with in support groups and individually over those years after the death of their loved one. These clients allowed me the privilege of being in their life during some of their darkest times but also allowed me to walk through their journey and see them in beautiful places. It is because I’ve witnessed the work of grief from others that I also know the journey may be difficult but there is hope.
The work of a counselor is not easy, and it takes continuous self care. Burn out is very real and must always be assessed. I would be lying if I stated I didn’t think of other career options. I could make more money in sales, would have a little bit more respect from society if I had chosen another path. As I explore what to do next I do think of those things. However, other fields would not have given me the opportunity to work with the individuals I have met over the years. I’ve often laughed that my clients would state “I heard your voice” and ” You were sitting right there on my shoulder” but I was the unbiased person who gave them the support that others could not. I remind all of my clients, I provide them with information but they are the ones doing the work.
DAY 3 A PLACE
Over the past months and especially after placing my Mom’s home for sale, I have been thinking allot about the concept of home. In time, I plan to write about the concept of home but for this post I feel the need to write specifically about my hometown and area.
In the South, you are from where you are born, even if you only spend the hours of your birth there. Lexington, Kentucky is my birthplace and has been what I considered home even though I lived in surrounding towns until college. However, I spent so much of my summers with my grandparents that lived in Lexington that I felt like it was home. Currently, I live about five minutes from what was my grandparents farm. The land my husband and I live on was once farm land that we drove by on a regular basis.
When I was younger, like many young girls, I dreamed of bigger cities and other places. After all, the grass does look greener. It was only after a road trip visiting a friend in Western Kentucky that after coming off of the Bluegrass Parkway that a voice in my head stated “This is home.” It is very easy to go on vacation and make statements “It’s so beautiful here. I bet people living here don’t appreciate it.” I certainly try to enjoy the natural beauty of my home.
Within five minutes, I have the ability to drive past beautiful horse farms and see rock fences created years ago. Major art and entertainment centers such as the Norton Art Center and the new EKU Arts center bring in touring productions such as Chicago and host debates for vice-presidents during election season. Of course, there is Kentucky basketball and the fact that Lexington’s downtown continues to improve on a weekly basis with the addition of new restaurants and activities. If you need something different, Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati and Indianapolis are only a few hours a way.
With the exception of my graduate days in Louisville, Central Kentucky has been my home all of my life. My great-great-great grandparents on each side settled here. I am not one who has developed the ability to move on a regular basis and I do have the comfort of remembering when what is now a mega church used to be a major mall in the area (and also where I had my first retail job).
I do not know where the future will lead James and me. We’ve looked at each other and stated “we could move”. We think about other cities which we love such as Nashville, Atlanta, the whole state of North Carolina (minus those colors of blue from North Carolina and Duke). For right now, we stay in the comfort of my hometown, the place I know and love and which will always hold a place in my heart where ever I may roam.
Thank you Lexington for all you have given me!
What roles and places are special for you?