Category Archives: New Year

Reflections on blogging

It has been a year since I started this blog.  I thought I’d be writing more.  While I didn’t think that writing on a regular basis would be easy, I didn’t think it would be this hard.  In reflecting on what has made more frequent blogging challenging for me, I have come to some conclusions:

1.)    I love words and I love writing, but I’m a perfectionist.  Maybe it’s related to being a speech-language pathologist, but I recognize the power in words.  Especially the power in words, written or spoken, that are woven together well.

2.)   I find it hard to share my personal thoughts in writing.  That said I generally do tend to wear my heart on my sleeve.  I can be overly earnest and honest in what I say to others.  So, I’ve learned to monitor my words.  And it seems this extends to my writing in a public blog.

3.)  I find my monitoring of words is further magnified when carefully crafted phrases can be re-used by other, less earnest, bloggers.

4.)   My work life can make unreasonable demands on my time.  As any speech-language pathologist can tell you, we have unreasonable caseloads and workloads that do not meet the suggested ASHA guidelines (www.asha.org).  I often write at night . . . comprehensive initial referrals, review evaluations, initial IFSPs and review IFSPs.  And I won’t even mention lesson plans (oh, I just did!).  All of these work related documents are specified, mandated, time-lined and rigorously monitored by one or more friendly government agencies.  After much holding of breaths, my agency just passed an in-depth file review with flying colors.  (This is what takes up valuable thinking and writing time!)

5.)  And finally,  I will write a paragraph when a sentence will do . . . enough said.

So after some further reflection, my goals for the next year of this blog are to:

1.)   Post more frequently

2.)   Worry less about sharing  (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery… sort of)

3.)   Write briefer, shorter posts

4.)   Not obsess over grammatical constructions

5.)   Balance Life and Work obligations better   (…not just a blog goal)

As always . . . .

Life is fine,

Sarah


New Year Message in a Bottle

There is a children’s song… “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver, but the other gold”  At the beginning of the New Year, I think of memories like that.  Cherished old memories are like gold, while shimmery silver new memories are just waiting to be made.

Memories, especially as I get older, make the holiday season more bittersweet, but I’m fine with that.   It shifts the focus of the holidays and the New Year to an appreciation for the people and positive events in my life, both past and present.   After this season’s reflection,  I’ve decided to write a New Year’s “message in a bottle” to one of my cherished  memories.

In the 1970’s, I was a live-in  au pair  to a well-heeled Manhattan  couple and their 10-year old daughter, Lauren.  I was twenty, attending a well-known secretarial school and taking singing and dancing classes on the side.   My goal was to finish secretarial school so that I would have a way of supporting myself while pursuing a career in acting.  Naively,  I thought I could take on the New York City challenge… “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”.

I had lived close enough to the city to have visited frequently, but I arrived in New York young, sweet and relatively innocent.  Not only did I need to work on my acting skills, I needed to develop a tougher,  more street wise demeanor.

However, New York had different plans for me.  What I learned during my tenure as a nanny was that my softer side was my greater strength.

 To this day, I have fond memories of  afternoon walks to Carl Schurz Park with my charge, Lauren, and her dog,  Christy.  This was one of my favorite activities while living in Manhattan.

 

 I also fondly recall the many hours of laughter Lauren and I shared.  Discussions centered around her experiences of  5th grade drama and friendship politics and, of course, debates with her mother about fashion choices.  (no dresses please!)  I think I gave some pretty good advice, but as anyone who has worked with children knows, I also got some pretty good advice about my own life.

 After completing my au pair year and secretarial school,  I left Manhattan and my acting dreams behind.  I moved to another city with a slower pace that was a better match to my personality.  My goals and life focus had changed. Indeed, I had learned a lot  during my stay in NYC.

 I learned, like many  twenty-somethings, that if you don’t make it in NYC  you can still make it anywhere.  More  importantly, I learned the value of being true to who you  innately are …. perhaps, that’s the goal in this life.

Later in my twenties when I had my own daughter . . .  named  Lauren.  I hoped my own Lauren would the have  the same qualities of strength, inquisitiveness and caring as Lauren E., and, of course, she does.  Hope so often creates reality.

I lost touch with my au pair family several years after my employment ended.  But  I have carried hopes and dreams  for Lauren E. in my heart for over 30 years.  Many thoughts of good wishes have been sent to her through the years.  I hope they have added to an already happy life.   My young charge is now a grown woman.  In this age of social media it might be possible to reconnect, but I am not sure I wish to intrude.

So, instead,  I am sending this “message in a bottle”  to Lauren E . . . may it find its way to you wherever you may be in this New Year.  You,  like my own daughter, will stay in my thoughts and prayers forever.   I am an  unknown cheerleader in your life.  I send hope and good wishes that life is well with you!  Namaste!

                                                                       Life is fine,

                                                                          Sarah