Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Musings and Reflections upon Turning 46

Having a birthday on September first, right when school starts, meant that as a child I always claimed my new birthday much earlier in the summer so as to appear older. I found myself resuming that habit this year. Perhaps I was not seeking to appear older so much as the last year has been so full I should already be able to claim that next year!

The last few years have been quite eventful. I began working on an Ed.S. degree in marriage and family therapy in the spring semester of 2007. I am quickly becoming a dinosaur in a program that has shifted to only offering a MA. I am now half way through my practicum, and this time next year will be taking the liscensure exam and beginning my fellowship.

When I began the graduate program, I was making excellent money as a debt collector as well as receiving tuition reimbursements. My disposable income has decreased by $31,000 a year. We are barely making it, and that's thanks to whatever work Cameron can occasionally pick up and student loans. But we are still afloat, unlike so many right now with this economy.

Cameron and I have now celebrated six years together. While we continue to struggle with extreme poverty, we are rich in many thing that matter. We did finally manage to exchange our old ratty love seat (extremely damaged by cats and passing years) for a futon this week. Lovely birthday present for me!

My youngest son called me yesterday and wished me a happy birthday. The Enlightened One has landed a long-term substitute teaching position in his local school district for decent pay. His wife is finishing up her student teaching. They bring my heart joy. I also raised the idea of meeting up during my westward camping trip next summer when Cameron and I go see the parental units again.

I continue to work in my field, albeit substance abuse. Few of my peers have landed a position since their graduation. With budget cuts in South Carolina, getting a job with DSS or Mental Health continues to prove challenging. It's my hope to never have to apply for another job (except my fellowship). I hope that while working on my fellowship, I can start my own practice. At the end, hopefully I will have enough clients to work for myself.

I adore this stage of my life. The growing pains are past. Most of the trauma has settled (PTSD doesn't seem to ever go away entirely). I am in a committed relationship with a woman who treats me wonderfully and loves me well, my children flourish, and I work in my field. With the exceptions of the hardships inflicted by a shortage of money, my life is exactly what I want it to be today. Not so shabby for being only 46!

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