Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Intersecting Moments

There are many intersecting moments that I am feeling inside and the moments are whizzing at such a fast pace that I don’t feel that they are able to properly come out of their space of twirling air. I appreciate when I open up to the universe and I feel and receive gentle nudges both through small happenstances and clues that present themselves; and also through dreams. Sometimes it's difficult to pin point just which moment occurred first or exactly when they intersected and in a way all that matters is somehow these blinks came together.

It began almost two weeks ago. It’s been much slower at work and as I’ve stated and keep giving thanks for, I am grateful to have a job. That it’s slow right now is temporary. But it was the talk I had with the boss and I wanted to be honest to let him know that it was difficult for me during these slow times—difficult to fill the hours with a steady workflow and since I’m an hourly employee, I feel the diminished hours too. I told him that as in the past, I might try to see if there are other part-time opportunities out there, so that I can both keep my current job and find another job to supplement. As I sat there, I realized and told him, it’s really about feeling productive and in my mind I thought—and useful.

This may likely be the slowest of our slow periods yet. I think the largest obstacle for me and one that I believe was hitting home with me through reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is in feeling that I am slipping into mediocrity and non-usefulness. When I had the talk with the boss a couple of weeks ago, that is when I decided that because I may have a little more time to use, I was going to try to put it to good use by finding a volunteer opportunity. I’ve always had a soft spot for seniors so when I did a search on the web, I found a volunteer website that searched by zip code. As I looked through the listings I found one that I knew I would be doing one day. I started that process and awaited an email to find out the next steps. I will be a “friendly visitor” to a senior through Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services. The program asks for a 1 hour per week commitment for a 6-month period. I’m excited and nervous because it will be something new for me. The program matches you with a senior who has similar interests as you do. This new experience has brought me to a book that I found through Kindle, then checked it out through the library because they happened to have it. It’s called How to Say it to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap with our Elders by David Solie, M.S., P.A.

From the short bit I’ve read so far, what I can tell I’m going to appreciate about reading this book is hearing the author’s perspective on the developmental stages of our elders. I remember how my grandparents both had different stories they shared—stories that they would repeat. I listened and as far as I recall, I never said, “You told me that already, grandma.” There were frustrations with my grandfather, but luckily, I think I only corrected him once and after that, I just allowed him to believe what he needed to believe and worked with it as best I could, going along in most cases. My grandfather did end up developing Alzheimer’s, while my grandmother did not. My grandfather regressed into a childlike manner; my grandmother did not. It was difficult and sad at times to watch the deterioration and I saw how my uncle was able to keep everyone’s spirits lifted with his natural sense of humor. My uncle is now 81, but he is still able to maintain his independence and goes out and about. I’m thankful for that. I hope that I will return to this blog with reflections about the book, How to Say it to Seniors, to share what I recall from my own experiences and explore what seems true.

When I am paired with my senior friend, I will offer a smile and allow them to lead the way—of how we will spend our hour and we’ll take it from there. When I visit with my uncle, I mostly listen; I also ask questions and we laugh.

I admire that which I do not hold within myself. Ayn Rand’s character Dagny inspires me, not to be as harsh as she can be—but to find within myself the self-confidence that I sometimes have, but mostly don’t. It could be called something else. I know that it’s been with me every since I can remember. I reach a certain point and then I stop. The only constant is writing. I always keep writing near. An example that comes to mind is when I was going to complete an accounting certificate through DVC years ago. In 2001 I took Principles of Accounting and I passed, but I didn’t do great. I learned some bookkeeping on the job during this time. In 2007 I thought I would try to earn an accounting certificate and all the while I would be sure if I was taking an accounting or business course, I was also taking an English or writing course to balance it out with something I loved and wanted more of. Still in 2007, Intermediate Accounting wasn’t going too well. I dropped too late, ending up with an “F” on my transcript. The concepts covered in Intermediate Accounting were not wrapping around my head. I knew that what I really wanted to do was to gain the skills to become a proficient bookkeeper, not an accountant. But, alas, self-confidence, lack of internal motivation in that direction put that on hold. Today in my current job, I am able to do light bookkeeping, but I do not do the full cycle that a full-charge bookkeeper would perform. Inside I know I can do it, with a few learnings along the way. However, it’s that self-confidence—it’s that feeling of not wanting to be found in a situation and not knowing the answer. I admire those with an entrepreneurial spirit. They dig right in whether they know something or not; they are resourceful and learn along the way. I’m resourceful. What I lack is something else. It’s a fear of not knowing.

The boss has been on vacation and it’s given me time to do some clutter cleaning at work and thinking. I came across some materials that I had printed out some time ago on becoming proficient in QuickBooks; I also found some descriptions of what a full-charge bookkeeper does and I saw the gaps in my knowledge base. Then yesterday my co-worker was working on something and made a comment about how the bookkeeper for a particular client did not code certain things properly and he was surprised that she didn’t seem to know. I had recalled from my accounting classes, when he told me the example, that it wouldn’t have gone where she put it and I knew where it would go instead. We were done with our conversation and I thought I could do this!

I hopped on the computer and did a search in the adult education brochures online. There were two accounting classes that started the following day, which is today. Often classes are already full. I called to inquire about availability. There was space. The next question was do I start anew and take their version of accounting I again or go to accounting II. It felt like only a few years ago that I took level I, but when I looked online at my transcripts, that’s when I saw that it was all the way back in 2001. Because the nature of my work now is mostly administrative, I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on the whole process from start to finish again. Tonight will be my first class. It feels good. I’m also enrolled in the short story writing class for the Fall semester and who knows—by then I might also enroll in the accounting levels II/III thorough adult education. I figure that by the time I meet with my boss for my annual review coming up, I will have a better idea of how I can use my bookkeeping skills more, whether it is with him or by being an independent contractor and going out and marketing myself—once I gain more experience and knowledge. Bookkeeping itself is not difficult and QuickBooks and other computerized programs make the task easy. However, if one doesn’t have a solid understanding of how the debits and credits work together with the different asset and liability accounts, the financial statements will not give an accurate snapshot of how the business is doing. I often hear accountants say: “Garbage in, garbage out.” As I continue along, I would like to work with small businesses in a bookkeeping capacity. All I need now is to trust in my abilities. It’s an interesting hat to wear—the hat where you know deep inside you can do something, but you hold yourself back. I’ve lived it far too long and it’s time to do something about it; hearing myself say—write those words—feels good. We’ll see how it goes.

Writing will always be with me—that I can be certain of. And even if I had to set it aside, it would still be with me.

One day I would like to work in an assisted living facility or for an organization such as Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services. I could see myself in a bookkeeping or administrative role, but I would especially like to be involved with an activities director to help facilitate and develop fun and meaningful activities for the seniors. So one day when I’m ready to launch my wings in this direction, if the pull is still there, I will know that I’ve stated my intention. By writing this here and now, I am focusing myself and preparing myself for what is to come. I will know and keep in mind that as the seasons change, so too my path may change at any given moment. I will be grateful and appreciative for today. Today feels better for being able to begin to be of more use in the world—if even in a small way—through my words, through my smile, through sharing.

Every moment counts.

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