One of the mistakes I made in my working life kind of intersects with my personal life. As I think about it, I don't really understand how it happened or, more precisely, how I let it happen. I worked very hard for many years and grabbed on to every opportunity that came my way. I remember reading a journal and thinking, "I have something to say about this." The journal had been publishing articles regarding deinstitutionalization because many provinces were moving toward decriminalizing people with disabilities, they had been locked up for the crime of difference and repatriating them to their home communities.
I had noticed something with the people I was supporting during this journey and that was that deinstitutionalization may have meant something very different to the people we supported than it did to us. To us it was an ideal, an advancement, but people with disabilities hadn't been asked they'd been mandated to move and they were expected to feel gratitude towards community staff for almost everything. The burden of gratitude can be wearing, we all know that. So, I wrote about deinstitutionalization from a different perspective and, wouldn't you know it, my first publication in a journal.
That's a big deal.
There's a shift in your perception of yourself.
There's a realization that some of the limits you've put on yourself are shackles and fetters that may be more self-imposed than one thinks.
And what did we do to celebrate this?
We moved past it towards the next goal.
Nothing, I started another.
Now I don't mean that I didn't have a reaction to each of these. Of course I did. I always felt a boost, a change, and then I packed away the experience.
Now that I'm older, much older, and much is behind me, I ask myself why didn't I take the time, why didn't we as a couple make the time to celebrate. To crack a beer and toast the moment? Those moments are with me, but sometimes as a list of achievements that go in a resume that no one will read anymore.
Let me serve as a warning to folks reading this.
Take the time.
Make the time.
To celebrate your life. I've talked to all of my staff about this, warned them of a life that ignores accomplishments and celebrates none of them. I thought it would be 'too much about me' and that it was egocentric, it isn't. It's an honest celebration of an actual accomplishment.
Celebrate your life.
Celebrate your accompishments.