A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in an art therapy class designed for the employees of Joy’s House. We recently started an art therapy program with a licensed therapist, inviting caregivers and their loved ones to explore communication through art projects. In an effort to better understand the process and be able to answer questions about the program, our therapist offered a session for small groups of Joy’s House staff members.
The first task was to use whatever medium we wanted to create a representation of ourselves. I grabbed a few pipecleaners because, gosh, I hadn’t played with those in forever. Also grabbing some sheets of torn green and yellow paper, I started creating what ended up looking like a tree. It was wobbley and unstable, so I added a few more pipecleaners to the base of the tree, though I couldn’t find exactly the right matching color. In the end, my finished product resembled a Truffula Tree. You know, the kind found in The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.
My leaves ended up having two different colors – and after I sat back and looked at it, it seemed fitting. My tree was going through a seasonal change.
That morning, I had had a second interview with the Alzheimer’s Association and was pretty confident I would be offered a position the following week. Sounds great and wonderful, right? Sure, it was – it IS, but with all “seasons,” you do need to shed a layer in order to grow. In my case, shedding my skin – my comfort zone within my job at Joy’s House – would be tough.
It’s so much easier to leave a job that you’re not happy with. A job that you dread, or a boss that drives you crazy. Or maybe it’s just a blah environment. At Joy’s House, I don’t have any of those things. It’s a fitting name, really, because the definition of “joy” isn’t necessarily happiness-all-the-time-oh-life-is-grand. Joy is associated with contentedness and gladness. The people are joyful people. The families served, the volunteered involved and the dedicated staff – these people are my “peeps.” My family.
You know what, though? The reason these people are so great is because of the mission. Everyone is a team player and wants the best for the future and the community. When I reflect back to my Truffula Tree, I consider my own mission-driven personality to be my career “foundation,” with my roots running deep. Perhaps the branches of my tree are the ways in which I can serve, wherever life takes me.
On August 12, I will be “branching out” and will be the new Communications Director at the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Indiana. I am excited about the possibilities before me and thrilled to share my talents with such a strong and mission-driven organization. Their foundation is the same foundation I have rooted in – to equip caregivers with the best tools available in order to care for their loved ones. And, to educate the public on dementia and other diagnoses. The unfortunate truth is that my generation is not aware or prepared to take care of our future populations as they continue to age.
The people I’ve met – my new coworkers – are embracing, dedicated and all-around great. I really feel like I’ll fit in well. It’s taken me a minute to adjust and think of myself outside of Joy’s House, but I know my relationships there won’t ever change. Everyone in the know of my career shift has been nothing but supportive and exited for me. So naturally, I’m getting excited, too!
I’m learning to embrace change. It’s not my favorite part of life, but it can be exciting. Suddenly I’m reminded of one of Wesley’s favorite songs from a potty training DVD:
It’s different, and it’s wonderful
Change is good
Look at you grow!
(Look At You Grow, Potty Time, Two Little Hands Productions)
Tags: Alzheimer's Association, Joy's House, updates
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