Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Nouns: We're All Essential!

My favorite Sunday mug.
In your lifetime, have you ever felt that you were destined to "do" something? Something special, something great, something meaningful? I used to think that, whatever I did or would do, it'd have something to do with music, for it has always been a part of my life. I thought, at one point in my young life, I was destined to be a concert pianist or vocalist. I practiced hard, performed, competed. I've been a music director/conductor, composed/arranged, did the Nashville scene, etc. Music has always been a part of my being, and always will be.

I also have a passion for [freelance] writing. When I was a kid, my parents couldn't keep enough pens and paper around. I wrote on literally everything (including my desk, walls and outside the window sills, LOL) I've been a columnist and reporter for a few newspapers, had a news blog in Amador County, CA...even started this blog, a platform where I can freely share my thoughts du jour.

I've had several jobs along my journey that had absolutely nothing to do with music or writing. An aerospace company, an electronics firm, a few law firms, an architect firm, a hospital, hospice, a window/glass company, modeling...was a temp as an administrative/office assistant for many companies, did a lot of data analysis/entry. Very fast learner with several computer programs. Wherever I went, whatever I did, I hit the ground running.

I also developed many hobbies and interests. There was a time where I was a recreational runner, eventually trained and ran the Chase Manhattan in San Francisco. I've scuba dived (PADI) in Monterey, Cancun, Lake Tahoe...abalone diving at Fort Point...went tuna fishing off the CA coast...was an avid trail hiker, explorer, nature buff. Loved taking my kids to Santa Cruz!

Some hobbies and interests stuck with me throughout my whole life. I love traveling, road trips...stopping at historical markers, museums, tourist traps, greasy spoons. I used to go rock and fossil hunting with my grandparents, aunts and uncles. My mother and grandmothers instilled a love for cooking and baking. Our family always had a huge garden, every year...and when I moved back home to stay, many of the loves and passions inside of me were awakened and embraced. I still love cooking. I love gardening. I love road-tripping. I'm no pro at photography, but I do love to take photos for what is meaningful and purposeful to me in the moment...and very much appreciate those professionals who have a passion for and make a living in capturing subjects and images as an artform.

I've been married, been in relationships. I've raised children; I have a grand-daughter. I have experienced and survived many dramas and traumas, some that would probably make your skin crawl. I've been in the hospital many times, had many surgeries. I've learned the easy ways and the hard ways. But I know that (and I've said this before)...if I died today, if there were no tomorrow for me, even at the ripe ol' age of 54...I can rightfully say I've already lived a very full and meaningful life.

This weekend, as I pondered my past and present, I've come to realize that the common thread(s) through all of the experiences that have made my life meaningful are the people I've met, and the friends I've made. Some have remained true for life. Some have served merely as a warning to myself and others. Still others I may have only met once, but made a lasting impact, in one way or another. 

In some ways, moving back here to my hometown of Riverton, Wyoming has proven that my life has come full circle. Yet, in so many other ways, being "born again" into my Third Life has created so many more adventures and challenges. I often ask myself what it is I'm doing that might be "great", might be meaningful, might be special...

When I worked in hospice, it was mainly about comfort. It was about families and loved ones making difficult, but necessary decisions. These days, I find myself on the other end of the spectrum; those I work with are those who are emergently saving lives. They see humanity at their worst, on their very worst days (and varying levels in between)...and they do it on very little sleep, little respect and little pay. What you read in the newspapers and the media about Emergency Medical Services (EMS), it doesn't even scrape the tip of the iceberg of what these Providers are doing and have to deal with, on or behind the scenes. Sometimes I count myself fortunate that my own job doesn't require me to experience what they do, first-hand...but that's not to say what they go through does not impact or affect me. As they come into my office to spill their guts on any given subject or scenario, I try to do what I do best: Listen. Sometimes they just need me to be there to laugh, to cry, to vent, to hang sarcastic, be funny, be a bitch, be an asshole...and they know that I will not judge. I've learned so very much as I live vicariously through them, that at the end of the day, my only hope and wish has always been for their own safety and the safety of their patients. I feel this very deeply.

I am involved in several projects and sit on several committees in my community. I do these things because throughout my life, I've discovered that something "special" or something "great" has to do with people. As so many political decisions are made over our heads (so many of which are out of our control), my heart has always been for those on the front lines. Our local providers, our local small businesses, our farmers and ranchers, our artists and musicians, our restaurants and cooks, our oil workers, our mechanics, our stores and boutiques, our doctors, our nurses, our school teachers and coaches, our mail and delivery services, our indigenous neighbors/tribes...those who are the very backbones and heartbeats of our hometown economies. For any entity or power to define or decide who or what is essential, or who or what is not (as my Dad would say) "really tans my hide". No one should ever minimize what an individual brings to their tribe, the pack, their community. Who or what we do, who or what we are, what we bring? It's all important. We're all essential!

The fate of our ambulance services in Fremont County lies in the hands of those we voted for and in whom we've placed our trust. No RFP or contract will be "perfect"; there are always compromises to be made; always that good ol' give and take. My jobs/experience with attorneys (as well as my own in representing myself) ring loud and true in situations where someone needs to come to the defense of those who cannot defend themselves. Back then, in my case, it was my children. In this case, it is those who are on the front lines...doing what they do best. Doing what is great, meaningful and special.

"Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option."
- Mark Twain

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog piece are my own and not necessarily those of my employer and their associates.

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