Before I was a mama, before I did the work I do now, I worked in health care as a nurse’s aide. I know that it played a huge part in how I use my creativity to help heal & encourage others today.
I worked in nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, assisted living, dementia care units & then lastly, home care.
I loved my residents & they loved me. I’m not going to sit here & tell you that it was a cake job though. Anyone that has worked in this field knows. Oh you know. Some days were trying, some nights I would fall into bed because my body ached from the physical demand of lifting people, sometimes men, 2-3 times my body weight. Being understaffed was a regular occurrence. My mind grieved over loss, the lack of visitors, how what insurance type you had determined what kind of care you were eligible for. There were things that fired me up. There were things that I fought for & against. There were things that I learned. Oh the things I learned.
Here’s what I know for certain, these all are very common life principles but I want to tell you how they relate to what I did & do now:
Be super-silly, professionalism sucks sometimes. I wasn’t the most professional CNA, oh hell no. I did my job, I did it well but I had fun. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not the cleverest crayon in the box, I’m not wired for wit but silliness, that’s my street & my house invites you in to get your freak on & laugh your ass off.
Out of all the places I worked the dementia care units were my favorite place to be. You see, when you work with Alzheimer’s patients you have to get into their world. There is no redirecting, their world becomes your world. There was so much laughter & love. I remember one day I was taking one of my favorite (shhh!) ladies for a walk around the building, off the locked floor unit, she was clad in her flowered red hat. We were walking slow, she walked with a cane, the administrator caught up with us.
I’ll let you in on the fact that this administrator was all business. I think I maybe saw him crack a smile once or twice in all the years that I worked there.
As he walked by us, Mildred, she had no filter at all mind you, she was also hard of hearing – she “whispers” – “He walks like he has a stick up his butt. You gotta dance through life bay-bee!” – & she starts doing this crazy/beautiful dance, cane in hand. I danced with her. We laughed like it was the last time we were EVER gonna laugh.
Yes, there may be a time & place for professionalism, I respect it but I choose not to run my business like that. Facades are for fools, I choose fun. I choose love.
Age ain’t nothing but a number. I took care of Jan in her home during the last year of her life. She was 93. Her & I, oh the bond that was formed. She wasn’t like a grandmother figure to me, we kicked it like we were in high school, the best of girlfriends. We told each other secrets, we cried together, played pranks on each other. We told each other dreams that we had & dreams that had died. We confided in each other. We learned from each other. We loved each other.
I’ve gotten emails from readers ranging in age from 8 to 67 years old. When I produce or curate content, age doesn’t even cross my mind. We can all learn from one another no matter our age.
Keep your mind open, always. The minute I fell in love with my mister, Jan knew it, I didn’t say anything because it was complicated & I didn’t want to jump the gun when I hadn’t even met him yet, she said, “Amanda, who is he? You’re twitterpated! Look at your face, you’re glowing! You can’t hide when you are in love, honey.” I spilled everything & you know what, she was rooting for us, hardcore. Never in her 93 years had she even surfed the internet & she was open to all of it, even when many of our closest family members & friends thought we were totally crazytown.
Keep your mind wide-open, to everything, you may be pleasantly surprised to what flies in.
When you work together you can do most anything. When I first started working in health care I worked with the best team of women. We helped each other. We weren’t afraid to ask for help. We knew our limits. We were gentle with ourselves when we couldn’t get it all done. One word that comes to mind is POWERHOUSE, like, we got shit done, we didn’t skimp, we all loved our residents to pieces & we worked to finish our most important tasks & raise the quality of our residents’ lives TOGETHER.
This applies to what we ALL are doing right here, right now.
When we are open to sharing, helping & encouraging one another – we are helping the whole community thus helping the world.
Our actions create a ripple effect that knows no bounds.
No matter the medium in which we are doing it, we ALL are creating magic, do a little silly dance in its light.
I had an amazing time sharing here this autumn. Watching as we all made ourselves at home, letting our leaves fall to make a mosaic of magnificence.
I feel all fangirl-like waiting to see who is in the winter tribe & what they will be sharing — what I will be learning & how I will be growing — feeling my roots grow deeper into the ground & my limbs stretching further into the sky.
Thank you for being you.