Today was a Very Big Day. Started out with a 5-mile walk, some phone meetings, a very corner-y and hilly drive through very rural Ohio on a gloriously breezy sunny day, an hour meeting with the mental health professionals that serve the poorest and neediest in this remote area, the return drive in blustery rain, another phone meeting, this time with the Medical Director (meaning best behavior all round), an hour wild scrambling to complete all the business things that must be done whether I have time or not, made dinner (colcannon—mashed potatoes, cabbage and onions baked with plenty of milk, butter and cheese), and finally get to sit and gather my scattered wits with a glass of wine and some Beethoven. Whew!
This was a great day. I got to do almost all the things I really love to do, and still have time to fit in a few pages of a good book and some conversation with the family before toppling over to sleep a good long time before getting up again to see what tomorrow holds. Wow. If you’d asked me 20 years ago if I would ever have this kind of day, I would have giggled and walked away. Me? I think not. But here I am a professional, living the dream. Whoda thunk?
There are days when the pressure gets annoying and the corporate offgassing becomes oppressive. Even working for an organization with solid social values and the stated mission of improving the lives of the poor has its share of obfuscation, paradox and mixed messages. My patience wears thin sometimes, but even on those days I feel privileged to be able to throw my energy towards something really worth doing. Although my individual role doesn’t make much of a public splash, I still get the satisfaction of knowing that some poor people are healthier and possibly happier because of what my team and I get organized to do every day. Old and skeptical as I am, I get a kick out of that every time it crosses my mind.
Working as a corporate drone is surprisingly satisfying to me, especially since I work mostly from home and get to spend a good amount of time in the field. I work with a delightful assortment of people, many of whom are way better at this sort of thing than I am, so I’m always learning. To balance out the ethereal vapors of that life, I still pick up a shift every week or so at the hospital, so that I can feel like a “real” nurse. Those 12-hour shifts can be a bitch-kitty, but somehow the immediacy and intensity of taking care of real patients with my own hands and brain and heart leaves me ready to tackle another week behind a desk with renewed vigor and focus.
10 years ago I didn’t even have a job, was fully engaged in raising children and being my own strange breed of domestic goddess. Now I work two jobs, and balance out all the other activities of life around the edges. It gives me the energy to do things I would never have done then…run a half-marathon, knit sweaters, even write a blog. 10 years from now, I wonder what I’ll be up to next.
©Mary Braden 2013