I never turn down a second cookie, so why would I turn down second chances?
It took me decades to qualify for my professional passion – teaching, specifically teaching Interpersonal Communication. The topics have always fascinated me; words spoken and written are intriguing.
What makes us communicate with others? How effectively do we really communicate? Why do our communication styles differ with different people? What happens during dialogue? Why do some conversations make us defensive, others pensive and still others cause us to storm out, slink away or stew in petulant silence? Can we really learn to become better listeners?
Shortly after my fiftieth birthday, I received my MS in this field, accepting a diploma as a non-traditional students. Where was the Universe’s open doors? They were supposed to fly open, tempt me inside and dangle unbelievable job offers in my face, job offers for which I was eminently qualified. Finally, the secret would be revealed to me: This is what it feels like to have a job that doesn’t feel like working. I waited…and waited…
The Universe was apparently reading from a different script. Instead of a college teaching position, I was offered a fundraising position at a small community college. While raising funds for student scholarships and supplemental programs was gratifying, I never really got the hang of it. Full-time teaching in my field was what I craved. Sure, I worked with a number of wonderfully supportive people, but it wasn’t until I became an adjunct instructor that I finally felt fulfilled. Interacting with students and other faculty made me feel curious and content, even competent at times.
In semi-retirement now, my journey continues as all life journeys must until we’ve bought the proverbial farm. Only our farm is not proverbial…there are cows, pigs and chickens, mooing, oinking and clucking at this former city girl. As a cattleman’s wife in southwest Louisiana, I have embraced a simpler lifestyle on the Cajun Prairie. Online teaching sustains me because I never stop learning–the learning part of teaching remains my favorite reason to interact with others.
Along the way, I am learning new ways to incorporate my twin personal passions of reading and writing; it is admittedly challenging. My children, grandchildren, students, family and friends push me to seek new paths upon which to trod. Daily, I leave the snug comfort of my bed, turn off the phone and push my 18-pound cat off my lap. Time to search for new awareness and opportunities; time to recommit to listening.
I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother and grand-mother. Family is a priority, community comes second. When one works primarily from home, closing the doors and savoring my solitude are enticing options. Nothing nourishes my soul so much as quiet reflection, but paradoxically, I am equally nourished when visiting with others, listening to diverse perspectives. Walking our land, observing our animals and accepting the lessons of aging well all contribute to my serenity.
So now blogging…a new path. Albert Einstein was being a bit disingenuous when he said he had no special talents, but possessed passionate curiosity. I’m hardly an Einstein, but his point about curiosity is spot-on. Where will this path lead? I can’t wait to find out!