Thursday, June 16

My hat is over the wall

This post really is a continuation of my earlier ramblings: Follow Through.
Frank O'Connor, the Irish writer, tells in one of his books how, as a boy, he and his friends would make their way across the countryside, and when they came to an orchard wall that seemed too high and too doubtful to try and too difficult to permit their voyage to continue, they took off their hats and tossed them over the wall--and then they had no choice but to follow them.
President John F. Kennedy, November 21, 1963

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After all the hubbub I’ve made about this I really feel like I should be making a more dramatic announcement. However, it’s not all that dramatic or even exciting. It’s more just a swiping away of all the other exciting possibilities that crowd my mind and have kept me immobile. It’s coming to terms a little bit more with who I really am, versus who I think I should be, or who I think that other people think I should be.

Part of the problem is that I really truly find everything interesting. I find some things much more interesting then others, of course. And while they have some consistent themes I’ve never latched onto that big thing that I want to specialize in or dedicate my life to. I latch onto something for a while, burn myself out on it and then move on to something else, only to pick it up again sometime after I’m bored with the other thing.

Throughout I have always been very interested in the people aspect of things. People are very important to me, especially people with special needs. Actually I think we all have special needs, just some of us have more obviously special needs then others. I could write a whole book into what has held me back from making this conclusion before, but I’ll restrain myself.

I love learning things. I love teaching people. I love helping people out and going the extra mile for them. I have lots of artistic interests and love fiddling with around with gadgets. I've entertained the thought of going into academia, but some of my own special needs put me at a real disadvantage in that realm; I do have some learning disabilities.

Human Services it is, not medical because I don’t have a science education and I don't want to start over with that. I’m looking towards the direction of teaching and/or counseling. I’m especially interested in working with adolescents and older children and, of course, I’d love to be able to tie some of my creative and intellectual interests in with this, but that’s not essential. I’m interested in working with some of the special populations of teens with mental and emotional issues or with younger people who have developmental issues or learning disabilities. I also will feel more effective working with small groups of people at a time. I may not be able to "fix" the world this way, but I can make a difference in individual’s lives.

Choosing a far-reaching goal and working towards it hasn’t worked so far for me. All that does is overwhelm me. I’m changing my point of focus and I’m going to do this in baby steps. Instead of focusing on the end goal of being a blah blah blah, I’m going to focus on what I’m doing now and what my next move will be. I'm not going to worry about things that are to far down the road to predict. Anybody who has know me for a long time will be scratch their heads and ask, "Isn't that what you started out in?" Yes, it is. I've just gotten distracted along the way.

So my hat is over this wall. I’ve committed to this area. There are lots of things I can do to gain experience and skills, and to gain perspective that will enable me to make better decisions in the future. My first focus is getting a job in the human services working with teens who have special needs and, at this point, that is focus enough.


Lora said...

I forget to answers Julie's question in the post. I have a B.A. in Sociology and Art.

andrea said...

yay for you! it's a big step, just pinpointing the area and narrowing your focus.

on a personal note, I have been working with at-risk youth (ages 3-18, mainly) for several years now. I work with an organization that uses dance/movement to teach values (such as respect, responsibility, discipline), basic educational concepts and introduce freedom of self-expression, help build self-esteem. it is what I have always wanted to do and though it has not always been easy, it has always been rewarding. I often learn more from the kids than they learn from me! the other aspect of this area of service that seems to remain constant through the years: always, always, ALWAYS a need for more people (who truly have a love and desire for it) to enter the field...

that said, good luck to you! I will be so interested to follow you in your journey. thank you for sharing.

Kel said...

so I guess know you don't wanna lost that hat of yours - what kind was it that you threw over the wall?

Anvilcloud said...

Good luck with following your hat. May you jump walls spritely.

Lora said...

Kel- It was a long bobble hat. I don't want to lose it because I might need it if I ever actually experience a winter again in my life time. Silly girl.

Anvilcloud- Thank you for your well wishes.

Andrea- That so excites me. I bet that is just a wonderful program to be involved with. I would love to tie my art into this plan, but baby steps, baby steps.

Kimberly said...

Hi Lora, I'm here from Michele's M&G... and I've been having a great time looking around.

Figuring out what you really want to do can sometimes be the hardest part of making a change, and it sounds like you're there. Best of luck finding that first job in your newly chosen field.

J Bo said...

Lora, that sounds fantastic! You mentioned that you networked with someone so I am interested in hearing how all of that is going for you!

Best wishes to you!

And hey- we are planning our TX trip and I may fly into Austin, then drive out to meet up with family! I will keep you updated!

terrilynn said...

I'm like you; I'm interested in so many things-one look at my resume would tell you that I've had jobs all over the map. I wish I'd found the discipline to settle down earlier. Good for you for tossing your hat.

Since you want to use your creativity, you might want to explore art therapy. They do amazing things.

colleen said...

I love this post...such a good subject to ponder...and I love the Kennedy quote that sets it up. I relate to everything you've said. I finally realized that I didn't like anything enough to do it day in and day out, over and over. I think part of the problem is that "job" is such a modern invention and we are mostly geared to just living a natural life...providing for our needs which means we'd be using a variety of skills. I also agree that we all have special's just a matter of degree. I've always leaned towards human services, but sometimes I just want a job that doesn't take a whole lot of emotional investment.

Last Girl On Earth said...

Here via Michele. It sounds like you have spent many long hours thinking about what you want to do with your life. Congrats on figuring it out! Enjoy the journey!

Lora said...

terrilyn- Art therapy is top on my list

Thanks collen- I orginally hear this story told on a West Wing episode. I didn't know if it was real or fictional and had a devil of a time finding the source. I can understand your reluctance for emotional investment. I feared it when I was younger, but it makes it very worth it. You just find outlets for it to keep you balanced.

J Bo- It's taking me some time to connect with the person who does the actual hiring. If he doesn't get back in touch with me today I will call him on Monday.

Waterfall said...

Best of luck following your hat! Hope you enjoy the climb over and the journey beyond.

crystal said...

We seem to have a lot in common. I'm also interested in so many things, but not entirely passionate about any of them. Except food. I'm trying to figure out my career path, too, but I like your plan of just taking the first step. I'm always overwhelmed by the "I'm going to be a ______". Thanks for this post!

Sue said...

Well... had we stayed in the UK, I would have done a course as a primary school classroom assistant, and then worked with special needs children. I volunteered in my sons' school three days a week and what I loved most was helping the children who were struggling academically.

I doubt if it will happen here. I would have to learn Greek fluently as special needs children are unlikely to be bilingual (although we know two with Down's syndrome who are) and Ivé got to the stage in life where I need to concentrate on writing, at least for a while. But I look forward to hearing how you get on, and what kind of people you work with, and wish you all the best in the search!

tapestrygirl said...

my entire being is beaming with joy for you my dear friend!