New Habits: My New Career

New Habits: My New Career

In the past six months I have experienced a lot of changes to my regular activities. My life has quite metamorphosed and in many ways bears little resemblance to what I was doing one year ago.

For one thing, my husband (Ken) and I moved from St. Louis to Chicago in order to be close to our older daughter and her growing family. We moved from a suburban house with a large garden to a suburban condo with wonderful landscapers who take care of the grounds. No more weeding and daily watering! I was ready for that.

With the birth of baby Margot in August, we became first-time grandparents. In November I became Margot’s caregiver when Kate returned to her job as a nurse in a children’s intensive cardiac care unit. I now have a feel for hospital nurses’ long and ever-changing hours. And I have been brought back into the rhythms of infant-care, when the days start early and are driven by a tiny being’s needs and wants. It’s more relaxing now than in my mothering days, when I struggled more to “be productive”. This time it’s easier because I don’t expect to do more than baby-care, and Margot goes home with her Daddy and/or Mommy after supper, leaving me to nights of uninterrupted sleep. The compensation for this gig is priceless… I get to cuddle, play with and be Nana to the world’s most adorable baby!

On my “off” days and during baby’s naptime, I have been tending to small OT career tasks. Bright Futures (my clinical practice) is still alive, albeit very small. It’ll grow more when the time is right. I am volunteering for my state OT association (ILOTA), and writing some. Also consulting to OT practitioners regarding career development and private practice.

Lastly, I am adding in political engagement into my daily routines. This is my other new career. Unlike infant care and OT, this is a whole new cat for me. I mean, I have always been proud of myself to be a consistent voter in the “major” elections (state and federal stuff), but never have I done what I now realize is needed. The past year has taught me that I must be informed and actively responsive in a weekly, if not daily, basis. I regret not having learned this ages ago, but I will not let regret sap my energy going forward.

My daily routine now includes reading up on current events from multiple sources, and reflecting on the credibility of the sources and content. Then I call and tweet my state and federal representatives to tell them what I want them to support or resist. I use my Face Book connections to share information and mutual support. I attend talks and demonstrations to express my values and be counted. I am finally an awakened participant in our democratic society. It feels weird, but right, and I am grateful to have the opportunity.

Why am I telling you this? I am hoping to influence and support you to become a habitually active participant in our democracy, as well. I do not know your politics, but I am guessing that readers who value Authentic Occupational Therapy also value opportunity for all, access to quality education for all children, and good health care for everybody. As long as we all keep working toward goals like these, who cares which “side of the aisle” you prefer?

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