Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Wisdom

I visited a resident and began the conversation by breaking my own rule of never asking a resident "How are you?" *

"Well, I've been sick" 92-year-old Catherine replied with the all-too-standard answer (and the main reason you should never ask an old person this forbidden question).

"Oh? What's the matter?" I asked, already too far gone to turn back now.

Catherine leaned in toward me as if she wanted to share a secret and whispered loudly: "Let's put it this way. You should never trust a fart."

Indeed not.

*This rule has been in existence since February 2, 2005, which is the day a cantankerous resident turned 100 years old. I made the mistake of asking her the forbidden question and she snappily replied "I'm 100 years old. How in the hell do you think I am?"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Reason I've Been Absent

I wonder why it is the things we enjoy the most are the first things we let go when life gets hard or busy. Shouldn't it be the other way around? When life is stressful or hard or whatever, we should do MORE of what we enjoy to counteract the bad stuff. I wish it worked that way...because if it did, I would have been reading, writing, running, going to yoga, or any other number of things these past two months. Instead? Nada.

I spent several weeks with an incredible amount of anxiety about the future of Rock Ridge. Not my future there, but Rock Ridge's future. I have an unfortunate talent for worrying about other I spent days upon days worrying about every single resident, their families, my staff, and their families. I didn't run. I didn't write. I didn't read anything inspirational. I didn't pray. I just walked around with a heavy heart and a sad countenance.

I am beyond delighted that The Deal That Would Have Changed Everything didn't happen, but I'm also wiser for having had the experience. (I originally wrote that I'm disappointed in myself...but decided that anytime learning takes place we are better for it, so wiser is a better word) This new wisdom means that should I ever find myself in this position again, I will certainly do things differently.

This time: I can't even begin to think about how much energy I wasted worrying and stressing about things that were absolutely and completely beyond any control.

Next time (although I'm hoping there never is a next time): I will spend that energy on the things I can control. Like loving the residents. Hugging them. Enjoying them. Being happy myself so that I can contribute to their happiness and joy. (or going for a run when I need it most!)

This time: A change seemed inevitable, therefore I stopped being really good at my job. I let staff get away with things I normally wouldn't. I didn't do reports. I let things slide. My heart simply wasn't in it. What a disservice to my residents and staff. What a disservice to myself!

Next time: I will act as if. I will act as if nothing is changing...until it really does. I will act as if everything is as important today as it was yesterday. I will act as if I am the best person for my job, and will not allow the feelings of helplessness and uncertainty for the future set the agenda for my day.

This time: I might have actually forgotten for a few days why I do the work I do and that I'm a positive, happy person by nature.

Not just next time, but every day for the rest of my tenure as the director of Rock Ridge: I will ALWAYS remember why I go to work every day and I will never forget who I am...just because of some Deal That Would Change Everything. No matter how much something changes...I'm still me...and I still really love old people.

The End.

Note to Jeff: Thank you for your message. You were the prod I needed.