I’ve been working on other projects this spring, and as a result I’ve let this blog slide. That’s too bad, because blogging is something that brings me great pleasure. I started this mainly for my kids: an ongoing memoir. I wanted to share some of my experiences and lessons learned along the way. Secondly, I thought it would behoove me to have something tangible to show for my “time off” from work. This was/is intended to be an ongoing “writing” sample, as well as a learning experience. Nothing impresses a future employer more than seeing a job candidate use her or his time wisely by learning new skills. At least it used to be that way. Now I’m not so sure. I still write for these reasons, as well as the enjoyment of it all. As of late, there are other reasons, too. Little did I know that writing would light a fire under me for future endeavors!
In addition to writing, I have been photographing…anything and everything that stands between the object of interest and the end of my camera lens! When I began working on my bachelors degree in art, drawing was my medium of choice: pen and ink, pencil, charcoal. One of the requirements for my degree, however, was to take at least one photography course, something I was not at all interested in. Much to my surprise, once I picked up a camera and began shooting pictures, my life changed. For real. I ended up taking every photography course offered, and a few independent studies as well. I stayed with photography after college, even worked at a few studios along the way. Photography is an expensive “habit,” however, and there was a point when I packed my darkroom away (this was long before the digital era), shelved my cameras, and turned my focus to the more immediate needs of family and work. Photography became a fond memory. My photos stayed packed away out of sight and mind. But last year my brother “loaned” me a digital “point and shoot” camera, and just like that first photography course in college, I haven’t been able to put the camera down since. (By the way, I’m still using that camera. My brother got tired of me asking if I could keep it ‘just a little bit longer’ and gave it to me. Sweet.) More recently I unpacked my old Pentax Spotmatic and started shooting with it, too. I haven’t lost the touch or the desire to make art via the photograph.
In the interim years, I worked as a hospital chaplain (internship in graduate school) and mental health counselor. As my mentor told me on several occasions, 90% of counseling is showing up. Listening to both the words being spoken and to the emotions driving the words, and being a sounding board for people navigating their way through pretty rough waters, was humbling to say the least. Offering options, assurance, patience, and kindness was an honor. After working as a chaplain, I secured a position as counselor for the terminally or chronically ill, primarily people infected with HIV/AIDS. Despite working long hours and listening to many heartrending stories, I knew this was the right place for me. (Some stories of that time were shared here in previous blogs.) When I married, it was bittersweet to leave the area and my work behind in order to be near my husband‘s place of employment. Now, years later, I still think wistfully of my days as a counselor.
I am telling you these things because I want to share what I’ve been up to these past six or eight weeks. Presently, I’m putting together the puzzle for my life going forward. The plan is to incorporate myself and create a business that utilizes the skills, knowledge and joy written about herein. The first step was/is to create a line of inspirational greeting cards using my photographs. That is in process now. (I made some cards to give as Mother’s Day gifts to the “mothers” in my life, and as often happens, ideas began to bubble and sprout.) What is evolving is a career of writing, photography, and counseling (both face-to-face and online, a new field that is opening up.) My work will have a strong spiritual influence to it. I’ve begun checking out schools with plans to enroll in an MS program in Counseling Psychology or Clinical Counseling by (or before) Labor Day. In due time, I can then become a licensed counselor, a requirement to receive third-party payment, and get insurance.
There is much more to “the plan,” and I’m excited about both the possibilities and the “reasonableness” of it all! It’s doable. The picture fits. I’ll keep you posted.
Now for you: Think back over your life. What brought you joy? Where did you find your strength? In your dreams, what would you like to be doing in five years? or ten? Is it reasonable? How can you make your dream happen in your life?
As always, I welcome your comments.