From my home to work is a forty-three mile drive. How do I know this? My iPhone tells me every morning which by the way freaks me out. Like, how do you know that’s where I’m going? Anyways….
The commute to work everyday is really one of my favorite times of the day. I have forty-five minutes all to myself to just sit and think; some reflection if you will. Having a career as a rehab director in a skilled nursing facility places you in a position to tell families that their loved ones aren’t doing well, that they may never be able to go home again or that they are ready to go home even when that family isn’t prepared to be a care giver. Death becomes something you know is swiftly approaching yet you’re never quite prepared for it. For some people the residents may be just that, a resident. But for most of us they are our family. We just happen to work where they live. They enjoy what’s happening in our young lives. They love to see pictures of our children, our vacations or new love interests. No moment comes without a story, a lesson in life and how it’s done. A plethora of wisdom I immerse myself in daily. You don’t know life until you talk to a lady who’s lived ninety-four years on this good, green earth!! Respect. Men can tell you stories about their wife and girlfriend and the eight kids that may or may not belong to them. I’m not even kidding about that. Imagine a retired driver telling you about his thirty-one kids; his wife had three of them!! Most days I laugh so hard I’ve gotten my an workout in for the day. So here’s the reflection part:
Life is not at all short. It’s the longest thing you’ll ever do; live. If I’ve learned anything at all from my experiences in a nursing home it is that life is never about what job you had, the money you made, the things you bought or how fancy your house was. When you’re old you’re going to hate that two-story house because your bad knee won’t let you make it up those steps and your wheelchair isn’t going to fit down those narrow halls and if you do get to the hallway you’ll forget what you’re going to do. I mean that happens to me now but that’s just who I am as a person. What matters will be the moments you spent with your children, the memories you made with the love of your life and the way you treated people.
Love who you want to love. Be who you truly are soul-deep. Let go of the past and push forward with your life in the most positive way possible. And above all love yourself and love others whole-heartedly. Be unapologetic about living your fullest life. At the end when you tell your story you want it to be damn good. You want it to be what you wrote with your own hands.
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and you’ll be damned if you don’t.” -Eleanor Roosevelt