I wrote the following Introspective for the P.R.O.S.P.E.C.T.S. newsletter in the spring of 1994. Little did I know when I wrote this how my life would later be affected by the most intimate of “movings on” of all … the passing of my mother, December 25, 1994. And then, in 2009, to again move on, this time to an “empty nest.” In 1994, I could barely dream of such a thing.
Today, I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had over the years to learn from season to season, from experience to experience. I hope this Introspective will get you thinking about the things you have learned along the way, as you have experienced your own “movings on.”
It occurred to me recently that life is merely a series of “movings on.”
As I sat contemplating my move from a position at the Association for Community Living in Cobourg, Ontario, to a position at the Peterborough Family Enrichment Centre in Peterborough, Ontario, I realized that the emotions I was feeling were vaguely familiar. I had never moved on in just such a way before – from one job directly to another. Yet, I was beginning to have memories flood over me.
I remember moving on to high school. How frightening to suddenly move from being the oldest and wisest to being the youngest and least experienced. I remember feeling that a chapter in my life had closed. Things would never be the same again.
I remember the move from high school to university. The mixture of feelings … excitement, pride, fear and loss. How would I ever learn to fit in among these scholars. I did adjust and somehow I fit in.
Moving from the academic world to the “real” world was scary, but almost too simple. As time went on, my series of “movings on” had somehow gotten easier. I found a job that was challenging and that I enjoyed.
It did not take long to move on to marriage and starting a family. This too came easily. We planned, and everything went according to that plan.
Then, somewhere along the line, the “movings on” began to take on a life of their own. My careful plans went out the window, and I was along for the ride.
Becoming a mom was a planned event along the series of “movings on.” Having a child with special needs was an event that was unplanned and which set me on a completely different road – uncharted and untravelled by anyone I knew. It was a job I chose to do full-time, despite having absolutely no idea how I would ever succeed.
Over time, I came to recognize and accept the new route I was to follow … until it was time to once again move on. My daughter was moving from the safety of a segregated preschool setting to an integrated setting. I felt adrift in a sea of emotions … fear, anxiety, sadness, loss. How could I ever survive on my own.
I did survive. Until we moved on to yet another stage of our lives. School.
If I was scared before, I was petrified now. By now, I was well aware of all the horror stories. I knew I would be challenged by the “system” and the fact that I no longer “fit” into it.
Years passed and I found my niche as advocate for my children and for others’. I accepted the challenge to speak up for those who are unable to speak for themselves.
And I approached another transition period. It was time to move on again, this time once again to employment.
Again, it seemed to come so easy. I started my job in the fall of 1993, and before long I was presented with an opportunity that was too great to turn down. I was faced with having to make a choice – to move on for me, or to stay where I was for them.
It occurred to me that many of my “movings on” had been done out of necessity or because of someone else’s wants or needs. This was an opportunity to take for me, all the while knowing that I had indeed made a difference before moving on.
And how did I know I had made a difference? A wonderfully wise person assured me that, as I moved on, I was leaving tiny footprints for others to follow should they so choose. Just a reminder to me that there is indeed a grand plan, and that I do have a part in it.
I was touched when this wise person suggested that people who make a difference are like popcorn poppers. Once the kernels of corn (the people who benefit) are heated up by the popper (the person who is the catalyst), they are transformed into fluffy white flowers, and will never return to their small, hard state.
As we approach the different stages of our lives, let us move on, making tiny footprints, with the knowledge that, like the popcorn popper, we have in some way positively impacted others’ lives.
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At this moment I am going to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast
coming over again to read other news.