Life of Joy

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Love the Ones You're With!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Back to the Blog!

WOW! Has it really been one year since I lasted posted anything? It is really true that sometimes life does get in the way of all that we want to accomplish. I feel reflective today. It has been almost 3 years since I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. I have lived with recurrence and treatment. Still, as I sit here today, I feel healthy and able to take on any task and/or adventure that comes my way. During the throes of my last treatment (just a couple of months ago) I felt very weak and much less confident. It was at that point that I began considering early retirement. I have worked for the county/state for 31 years and met all the requirements needed to retire except the biggie----how to fund my needed health care. Fortunately the State of Iowa pretty much dropped a perfect retirement plan in my lap this past winter and I became convinced this was the right thing to do.

Now, that being said, making the decision to "just do it", was much easier than actually doing it. Being a supervisor in the adoption field for the last 15 years, and working in the same field for another 7 gave me a true sense of purpose. Yes, every day was not truly joyful and filled with warm fuzzy feelings. But, it's about people and it's about trying to help kids get to a better place to grow and develop than where they were. BUT, it's bittersweet, when you have to lose everything you know and love to get to that place, the decisions that are made along the way by social workers seem a lot less clear. Just as adoption is bittersweet process, so is life. The workers that I have supervised over the years give me so much courage and inspiration, I can't even put into my words the admiration I feel for them. My co-supervisors have really hung with me through the days of celebrating and sad days these last few years, and I have never ever felt they weren't there with me, as with all the staff and work partners in my workplace. The families that I have worked with who have taken children, families, and all of their abusive baggage into their homes, yet hung on, at times for dear life, and persevered to make permanent commitments to those children-----you are my heroes! Your selflessness in giving of your homes and families goes largely unnoticed alot of the time and it surely should not. To the foster/adoptive children who have tried and are trying to make sense of their lives, to work through the profound loss that was thrust on them at an early age through no fault of their own-----thank you for not giving up. Thank you for opening your heart to yet another home and trying to believe that these adults are not going to let you down again. You have always been loveable, worthwhile, beautiful children. And, it is my wish that you will find that place in your life where you are profoundly able to feel that to your core.
I will carry with me into retirement, your stories, your resiliency, your pain and your joy and I will always, always be inspired by your human spirit.

As I transition to the next phase of my life, I have found that I seem to be floundering to find a sense of purpose. Though I know that my human services career and employment by the state is ending permanently, I long to work in the adoption field and hope I have the opportunity to continue to do so. Whatever I have "given" in the past 30 years has come back to me at least 100 times whatever that gift was. My blessings have been many during my years with the State of IA, my gratitude knows no bounds and I yearn to still find purpose and the gift of feeling needed as I begin this next phase of my life.

Finally, all of the relationships that have been a part of my life, including my family, my work life friends, my scrapbooking friends, my high school friends,my Ames friends, my children's parents' friends, sports parents' friends---------all these relationships have enriched my life beyond compare and I am incredibly grateful for all the support, love and camaraderie that you have given me. Truly, I have attained it----I have a life filled with joy.


Kristina said...

You'll find your way, I have every confidence in you. You were blessed to have the kind of work environment that you wrote about in your post. I can understand your feelings on leaving from reading it. I honestly can't wait for when I don't have to worry about going to my job. I don't want to wish my life any either, but I think I'm going to be ready for the next chapter. Congrats again!

We need to do lunch again at Palmer's or somewhere....

Cheri said...

Happy, happy retirement Joellyn...I wish you the best in whatever you do, whether that be sit around scrapbooking with your feet up and eating bon-bons or traveling to the ends of earth sipping exotic drinks and dangling your feet in the ocean, or working private adoptions:)
*hugs* I am thinking of you!

Erin.Joy said...

How is retirement treating you? I am thinking of you. I hope it is going well. Truely,