The process of living involves risk. We are not given a map to plot our course from birth to death. Nobody can answer the question for you "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Although, many will try to guide you, they do not have a crystal ball into the inner workings of your mind, marriage and family. I wanted to explore an area that seems to be ignored when we are talking about being a parent dealing with a child with Special Needs specifically Autism, the recent ups and downs of the economy, our careers, and ego.
For many years, a source of embarrassment in interviews was the number of jobs I have held. This morning I went back to my full resume and counted. Since I was 16, I have worked for 20 different companies. I was so concerned about this I had a professional job coach evaluate my resume. I was taught I was supposed to list everything on this document. He came back with Tim "Just add the word "Relevant" to the experience heading" He then proceeded to tell me only to list the 4 to 6 jobs that made me the perfect candidate for the position I was applying for. Amazingly, the next job I applied for I got.
For many people their identity is intertwined with their chosen career. In the past it seemed this was more of a male gender specific issue but recently I have noticed that females are becoming as attached to this identification. I will always remember a sad situation where a relative was suffering from Alzheimer's. The only family member he regularly remembered was me and he identified me as the "Penney Man". My longest stint with one company was 16 1/2 years with JCPenney Department Stores. This identification with my career was a constant gnawing on my soul. Is that what will be etched onto my tomb stone?
I am in no way being critical of those who have dedicated their lives to their company. We all know the world has changed in the last few decades. No longer is there an allegiance to the working class in a form what so ever. I have seen deliberate measures to destroy unions, contracts busted, Layoffs take place, down sizing, riffs and golden parachutes. I started this thought / Blog with a single tweet in my head. No longer am I embarrassed and neither should you. We are free to be ourselves.
Sometimes it seems as though the world is ending. Health Issues, Job Loss, Divorces, natural disasters, and man made issues... I am here today to say these things can not only drive you to grow but can be empowering. I reflect back on my varied and convoluted life and I realized I lived much of it in fear. I viewed my life through the lens and back drop of expectations of others.
I know this blog is a little out there. I will actually be surprised if the editor runs with it. I just have had the cathartic moment that I don't have to be embarrassed anymore. I do not care that the 20 something in the new suit and shiny shoes cannot comprehend 20 different companies, seven states, four countries, a child with Autism or my laughing at his offer of ten dollars an hour. I am not being frivolous or dismissing the trials ahead of us. I am just saying when faced with some of the life altering events most others are not in a position to give us counsel.
I continuously pray for families dealing with special needs, our economy, our environment and our world. If anything here touches a nerve or triggers a discussion, I feel it has done it's job. My reward though is if you can live a happier life by being kinder to yourself. Be proud of your life as a warrior. We have done more than survive. We have lifted up others and demonstrated the kinder side of humanity. Carry on. Soldiers!
Tim Welsh, is one of the most active and influential Parent Advocates for Autism. Avid Speaker, blogger, and Tweeter (@TannersDad). Tim works to build unity within the Autism community, Gain Insurance coverage reform, End Restraint & Seclusion, Advocate for services, prevent wandering and much more. Tim & his wife Cheri have one son Tanner (16).
“I have a son he has autism, but, I also have dream. I dare dream of a world where profound regressive autism is not only treatable, but is also preventable”