Monday, April 7, 2008

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I bet you're all thinking, "So, Patti Brown, did you change your life yet?" or "Write a best-seller yet?" or "Did you change anything yet?"

I don't blame you for those questions. I think those thoughts sometimes (about every ten minutes) too. I'm a pretty big skeptic when it comes to me and my own abilities. I've been kept somewhat humble by my life circumstances, but that's okay with me.

Truth is, I did change a little in the last two weeks. The changes are pretty small. I'm getting up a little earlier, and I'm trying harder to keep my chin up more instead of getting beaten down and complaining about it incessantly. I stopped playing solitaire. (My husband will call that a major accomplishment for me.) I'm making my time with my kids a little better quality and a little less grumpy.

I went to an excellent conference this weekend by Dr. Bruce Perry. He's a child psychiatrist who works with kids who have suffered trauma in their lives. He's an incredible speaker and very inspiring. (Here's the website for the non-profit group he works for: http://childtraumaacademy.org .) And, he confused the hell out of me.

I've been working in the child protection field for seven and a half years now. I have wanted out for about six and a half years. Mostly because this is hard work--emotionally hard, not physically or mentally difficult. Trying keeping your feelings on the back burner when you're speaking with a parent who has starved their child and then denies it to your face, while the skeletal child languishes in front of you. It's hard to do year in and year out. (Thankfully those kinds of situation don't come up too often.) And yes, there are gratifying parts. But the positive parts seem to be fewer and farther between as the years go by.

Dr. Perry reminded me that I have a passion for this. I want to help these kids. I want to make a difference. But how am I going to do that? Will I ever feel good about this work? There is so much bureaucratic garbage to deal with daily. I can't deal with that aspect of the work very well. As a daily way of life, it generally stinks.

Then, throw in on top of that, I WANT TO BE A WRITER!!! I don't want to be a nurse any more! Thanks a lot, Dr. Perry. Like I needed more confusion in my overtaxed soccer-mom brain?

I thought about how I could help these kids in some different capacity than I'm helping them in now. Maybe I could be a foster parent. Okay, stop laughing. Maybe I could go back to school and... and rack up some more student loans while I try to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. There are a million "maybe"s...

Today, I worked on getting up earlier and thinking more positively. I'm working on getting writing done, and finishing my work that's due soon.

Tomorrow, I'll work on changing the world.

-PLB

2 comments:

A Large Slice of Cake said...

Hi Patti! It's my first time to the blog (this is Jess Leader from VC, btw.) I think giving up solitaire is a MAJOR accomplishment. Seriously. I don't know what I would do without Spider Solitaire, but I probably should someday.

Patti L Brown said...

Dear Jess,
Thanks for stopping by! I haven't yet given up solitaire... at least not completely. It gives me a little down time between work and writing. Problem is, sometimes its provides more down time than up time. LOL
Looking forward to seeing you in July!
-PLB