I remember decades ago when I worked at BC/BS in upstate NY, each day parking my car in a different spot and the effort it took to find it.
In retrospect it didn’t seem worth it, but I did it anyway without giving it much thought. Bev my office mate was a creature of routine and she had protection; protection that I was missing as I sat beside her mixing it up day after day. She is probably retired now. When we worked together she had already been there over 15 years.
During my short time there in some ways I stood out but in other ways I blended in as the bean counter/worker bee that we all were. A cog in the wheel at the beginnings of ‘managed care’ within our industry. The start of something new that even year’s later still reverberates in complex ways. Bev wrote in my goodbye card that she admired my imperfect yet successful nature. An imperfect person that allowed for repose, space to her perfectionistic tendencies. A comfort that was now missing for her in the empty chair that sat beside her.
One time at our holiday party I had everyone take the Myers Briggs personality test and they all came out STJs to my NFP. Ill fit there but still I stayed until I sighed relief when we moved. I was so afraid of leaving there that it took a move to get me out. The money was good and where would I go? My tunnel vision was unable to see the possibilities. I couldn’t see that the choices were innumerable. Maybe because I had already bought into the way life was supposed to be.
So I trotted off each day with trepidation and anxiety. I remember once sitting at lunch with a bunch of coworkers and I had trouble swallowing my food, my anxiety was so high. After that I stopped going to lunch with them. Years after at other places I worked in the healthcare industry, I would still eat alone. Outside where I could sit in the sun and close my eyes and breathe and be away from the stifling air. I guess you could say I wasn’t a team player, I avoided anything other than small talk and business. I just hadn’t found my tribe yet. Even now in groups, I still have anxiety. Those feelings of inadequacy still lurk but markedly less so than they did back then. Now I spend time with people who feel right and whose presence gives to me a feeling of belongingness. Something I didn’t feel back then when I was especially resistant to routines for fear of the gripping hold that they could have on me.
I remember Bev being steady and staid. We complemented each other well and I didn’t find her judgmental as I suspected many of the others to be. If anything it was a soft judging eye that she affixed on me. Wondering what I would do next. We were compatible as we worked side by side. Trying to do good things as best as we could in the environment where we were housed. We provided a lot of education for providers on how things would now be in the world of reimbursement. I had grand ideas and we offered seminars and speaking venues that we pulled off with remarkable aplomb. My ideas were grounded by her efforts to implement them. Neither one of us could have done it without the other. As I think back, I can still see Bev and her routinized nature, and how the days just flowed into the next for her without any markings of change. Especially before I got there. I wonder what it would be like to have that protection today of being a person of routine..slow and steady.
When did I get like this? Wishing for something so foreign and safe. Maybe just searching for the right comfort to cocoon myself in. The comfort of being in Asheville. Of trusting in staying here without searching for change. I could fall into a healthy habit with one day flowing into the next, couldn't I? This is what I am thinking this morning, as I look out into the cold, cloudy, snowy morning with the obscurity of the unknown less appealing to me today. I am not antsy to go. Maybe I am still as stuck as I was back then but now with more presence, awareness and ease.