It was a normal day, just like any other. Up at 5:00 am for my growing yoga practice, some breakfast, and then a quick check-in with my husband over coffee before zooming off to work for the day. Scot would b eplanning his next magic show, or building a set for the current community play, or maybe helping his mother do something around her house...it was early December in Eastern Oregon, so that meant making sure the blow-dry plastic wrap was securely in place on all her windows.
I never quite knew what would await me at work, but fresh, daily hell was a normal part of my life as a social worker. Vicarious trauma and secondary PTSD was all just a part of the average day in child welfare. Meeting with DAs and the police; interviewing parents, teachers, and children; fighting and/or collaborating with attorneys, and cursing at idiot judges after heated hearings were just the more exciting moments that broke up days of endless note- and report-writing. Trips to lunch at the local Mexican and Chinese establishments with equally perturbed colleagues were nice ways to decompress before the rest of the day, even though those trips were beneficial to neither my seriously obese body nor my chronically anemic bank account.
Work was most of my life; as the middle-aged, solely employed person in our family, it had to be. When I wasn't working, though, I was singing in the community choir, accompanying community musical theater, or leading the church choir. In addition, I played the piano at church every Sunday and even preached the first Sunday of every month. Being a small, rural town meant that none of those expectations commanded much preparation...neither my homilies nor my offertories (or any of the other things) demanded much effort. But those efforts were appreciated by those that received them.
After getting home and making dinner, before sitting down at my piano or, as I often did, collapsing on the couch with my crochet hooks (I was perpetually culling my ever-growing yarn stash), Abby (our aging Corgi) and I would often walk the river path together. It ran behind our house and the flowing water was a welcome and peaceful respite for me, lowering stress levels I didn't even know were elevated. After the evening wore down, far too quickly, I would collapse into bed, Abby snoring in her bed on the floor beside me, with Scot still watching TV in the living room.
The days all pretty much looked the same, blending one into the other with little differentiation, the long, run-on sentences occasionally punctuation by visits with our children and grandchildren who lived three hours away. Whether it was ordinary or special time I rarely knew, because it all felt the same. Exhausting, mundane, and not what I had ever planned or hoped my life to be. But it was what it was.
I was desperately dissatisfied and unhappy...and didn't even know it.