Sunday, November 7, 2010


November 4th was my birthday!  YAY!!!  I would have started this new post then, but had such a great day (despite the lousy weather,) that I ran out of time.  So in the spirit of great birthdays, before I turn to more serious topics, please join me in a little song!

dah..nah..nah..nah, let's CELEBRATE!

dah..nah..nah..nah, let's CELEBRATE!

There's a PARTY goin' on right here...
A CELEBRATION, to last throughout the years!
So bring your good times,
And your laughter too...

We gonna CELEBRATE your
party with you!


Ahemmmm...Okay.  It's out of my system!  I just can't help myself...there's somethin' about a good birthday that sets my toes to tappin'!  I've had 39 years of great birthdays, and am looking forward to many more!  And I have to say, I struggled with coming up with an idea for this week's post, because of all the birthday madness going on.  But I think I need to devote today's writing to the ever dwindling economy.  Boy...that's a joyous topic!  Maybe I should have saved that song for the end...

As all of us attempt to stretch our finances and pay our bills, the road to security may seem long.  There are many different situations out there...the struggling business owner trying to keep afloat, the single mom working two jobs to put food on the table...the many people out of work due to layoffs and closing businesses, searching hard for a new job.  Though I can only draw from my own experiences, which include having to give up my occupation because of an injury I had years ago, and needing to reinvent myself.  Unfortunately my new self is not a multi-millionaire (hmmm...maybe I should have worked harder at that!)  And while struggling to pay all of my bills is an endless, difficult process, having to reinvent myself was even harder.  For seven years I answered 'Special Education Teacher' when asked what I did for a living.  Being a Spec. Ed. teacher was my main identity...I had already finished college and started teaching before my disability was diagnosed, so when I described myself I did not say I was a disabled person, only that I was a teacher.   When I finally was diagnosed, I became a 'Special Education teacher who is also disabled.'  It was like my identity was finally complete!  I had always understood my students and the challenges they faced, because I had faced many of the same challenges...and now I finally knew the reason.

Now, I wasn't rolling in the dough while I was teaching.  Anyone who teaches knows that you don't go into that profession for the money.  You go into it because you love children, and want to help them learn and takes a lot of understanding, a willingness to work well beyond the 8-3:00 school day, and an endless supply of patience!  I wanted to help children with physical and cognitive limitations overcome the many obstacles in front of them, and teach them to deal with the discrimination they would face throughout their lives.  For seven years I was able to do that and felt like I had a real purpose in life.  And though I wasn't rolling in money I was comfortable enough, and had a sense of security.  Then an injury that happened in the span of about 30 seconds changed all of that.  I won't go into all of the gory details of the injury, because I don't wish to relive was hard enough the first time.  And despite the quickness in which it happened, the recovery was extremely long!  As I mentioned in an earlier post, for two years I wasn't allowed to work at all, and assumed that after those two years I would go back to my regular life and resume my identity as a teacher.  But that was not the case.  My doctor put it very simply..."Christine, you cannot be a Special Education Teacher anymore.  It puts way too much stress on your body--you need to find a new occupation."  WHAT??!!  A new occupation??  But how do I do...WHAT??!!  I was lost...I had taught for seven years, not to mention all the years of college that came before it.  And for what?  To lose it all, and have to start all over again with something new?  Not only that, but my something 'new' had to fit within unfamiliar parameters...I was now only allowed to work 20 hours per week, at a sedentary job with limitations on how long I sat, stood, how much I lifted...the list went on and on.  All of a sudden my identity I had worked so hard for was stripped away...I wasn't sure who to be anymore.  I felt like Superman might feel if he lost his powers, and someone hid his suit.

And I was one of the lucky ones...surprisingly enough.  I have a family that helps when help is needed, and wonderful understanding friends, and was able to depend on them during those years of recovery.  And along with Social Security Disability (which now pays some of my expenses,) I did find that sedentary job that fit within all the new rules; working part time for my chiropractor in her front office.  Physically I am doing much better than I have done in the past, what with working at a job that doesn't hurt me and getting regular chiropractic my weekly pool therapy fits nicely into my schedule!  But financially?  I most of us are doing right now.  The bills roll in faster than the money, unfortunately!  And I've attempted to find other part time work I could do at home that might bring in more funds, though the only thing I have found so far is telecommunication.  Which basically means having a phone line set up in my home so I can deal with unhappy customers...and I'm just not ready to go there yet.  Although I have a pleasant phone voice and a nice demeanor, I'm not sure I'd be very good at helping someone who's angry at the fact that their Thigh Master obviously is defective, because they still can't fit into their skinny jeans.  My response might not be altogether appropriate, and I can't imagine I'd have that job for very long!

As for the identity?  That is a work in progress, I guess.  I've been able to devote more time to art, and with this new blog I am delving deeper into the world of writing.  I am still searching for my true purpose in life, as I'm sure a lot of us are.  And with the economy being what it is, though the circumstances might be different, I know that many people out there are also struggling to find new identities...when the business they struggled to develop goes under, or they lose a job they worked at for years.  I am not sure what the future holds for me, financially or otherwise, and hope the economical status of this country soon changes for the better.  Though I have learned the hard way that things may not always be as secure as they seem, and you may not be prepared for every event that comes your way.  What is secure, if you are lucky enough to have it, is the love of family and friends.  That is security you can count on that can help you through the tough times; it is security you can provide as well, even if it's only a shoulder to cry on or a willingness to listen.  Hmmm...maybe that purpose I've been searching for has been in front of me all along?  To hold onto the things that truly matter most: friends, family, and love.  To be thankful for what you have and can count on, and give back to others whenever possible.  You may still struggle each month to pay all those bills, and may not have money to buy the extras you wish you had; but if you have the love of family and friends in your life, you will truly be rich.  And that's a reason to CELEBRATE!  

No comments:

Post a Comment