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To Be Continued . . .

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I feel as though I have spent my whole life giving back to others. Even as young as junior in high school I spent my summers volunteering for handicapped youngsters and teaching Sunday school to a severely disabled boy. At this point I knew what direction my life would take me. In 1977 I graduated with B.S. in Elementary and Special Education. I was about to begin my career in public service. I began teaching a junior high special education class in a small northwest Ohio town. Although this was extremely rewarding, my job was my life. I moved to San Diego, California to be closer to family and obtained my Master’s Degree in Educational Administration in one year. Although, it took me several years to find my niche, I finally found the position that I have held for nineteen years as an education services coordinator for a local correctional facility. In this position I have had the opportunity to utilize all my educational degrees and make an impact on the incarcerated female population. During an examination session, one young lady said to me “Kelly, I don’t know where I would be if you weren’t here for us, to help us become better people. Thank god you do what you do.”

Although, this has been a very satisfying career I realize there is no nirvana both in my professional and personal lives. My biggest turning point came in the fall of 2011 when I left my husband, whom I had been with for twenty-five years to try to regroup and find out who I really am. It all sounds so cliché!!! Although, most of our years were happy, I spent a majority of time acting as an enabler and realized this was not a healthy place to be. I realized it was now or never both financially and professionally; this was the time to make a change for the best. Right after my departure, a month to be exact, my husband fell and I was once again thrown into making all the medical decisions, including nursing home and rehabilitative care, PHEW—to date I think I managed another crisis and back to some sense of normalcy, whatever that is. I have always been the type of person who looks at the glass as half full and the best is yet to be. Even though, I have spent my life as teacher, caretaker, counselor, and motivator, I have devoted very little time to developing my own interests and peace of mind. As I look ahead in the days and weeks to come, I want to become the person I have taught so many women I have worked with to aspire to be; strong, independent, and take care of yourself first!! As I transition into this new phase of my life, I have said to family and friends I am the only person I can truly count on to make the necessary changes I need. Reflecting back on my life thus far, I realize my strengths and memories I have made will give me the courage to look forward to the day where I can truly be who I was meant to be—ME!!!!

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