I've never been one to allow myself to feel content with what I know and can do. I stick with the philosophy that you never stop learning, there's always more to learn, and there's always, always room for improvement. I've also always been one to abhor cocky, over-self-assured, egotistical, self-aggrandized fools. Sure, over the years, that has dipped into a lack of self-confidence, but most of the time, it has been a healthy sense of humility. There is always, always more to learn.
With that in mind, it was a shock to me to be offered a position based only on what I showed of myself during a very brief - and unrelated to a job search - interview. From this very brief encounter, I was offered a position that I accepted. Starting tomorrow, I start this new position in an agency that I have wanted to work for ever since I can remember. It's on a part time basis to start, but I will have my foot in the door, and not only is there a lot to learn, there is a lot of room to grow. There were a few glitches during the two weeks it took to get hired, again, following the tensions within Becky's story, but in the end, it all came together.
When I called the editor of the newspaper to let him know that I took the job and would no longer be available to him 24/7, we got into a short conversation. His feeling is that the economy is going to keep the squeeze on his budget for this year, but should open up again in 2010. He wants me to stay affiliated with the newspaper because, when it all turns around, there will be a spot for me there.
While all this is coming down, my son announces that he is leaving the nest to go live with his girlfriend in an apartment in town. Of course I wish he had gone back to college while living here and working so that he could pave a better path for himself through life. But, he's 23 and knows it all and is content to settle for working the night shift on the floor crew of the local Walmart. In about, oh, 30 years or so, he'll be making OK money. What is a mother to do? You can lead a horse to water... and all that. It's a major change for me. For the last 23 years, it's been just him and I. I guess it's good that it's happening at a time when I'll be so busy and so focused on learning this new job that I won't have the time to feel alone.
So, tomorrow is the big day. Not only is it the first day on a new job, I have a city council meeting to cover in the evening. I love these people in this little town, and being around them will definitely keep my mood light.
In the end, I needed to write Becky's story. I hadn't realized that there were some things about that case that still needed resolution, and it didn't come clear until I was writing it. I fell into the same frame of mind I was in 10 years ago when it was all happening and put myself deeply enough into the story that I remember looking down at my feet to pick my way through the tall weeds heading to that trailer. That tall overgrowth was like driving in dense fog, and there was little to no warning of what was going to happen next. And, there are no holes in my memory about feeling driven to help Becky. I'm surprised I had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the power hierarchy and insist that things be done for her and that family. Yet, my own welfare was the last thing on my mind. You don't see squalor like that and not do something about it. That is something about me that I can readily accept.
Here is where my path divides, to run next to the highway like a service road, one foot in each while both going in the same direction and requiring all of me. It will keep my mind off my empty nest and looking forward and not taking so much of my time that I can't breathe.
Here I am a half century old, and I'm still learning about myself! I want to extend a special, heartfelt thank you to all of you that have been keeping me company and reading along. Somehow, I don't think I could do it without you.