I went to a speech conference last week. It was cool. I’ve been wanting to take this particular course for years now, and finances and schedules and locations finally lined up enough for me to do it. It was long and hard, but it was worth it.
Going to a speech conference sounds like I’m a hard core speech therapist. I’m not. I took 6 years off from my career to raise my kids. It doesn’t feel like a long time to be away from the profession, but considering that 6 years ago, there were no smart phones, no I-pads, no “speech apps” for sale, no Facebook, no Pinterest, no Twitter, and the only places that weren’t still using paper medical charts were the very cutting edge hospitals, I’m actually feeling quite behind. I have a lot of catching up to do, and in terms of my treatment skills, I’m very, very, very rusty.
This was forcefully brought home to me during this conference, as I sat with energetic fresh faced therapists, most of whom have been practicing less than 5 years, one of whom measured her career in months. They were young, and sharp too, processing things and answering questions with whip speed as I was still mulling things over.
I felt old. And stupid.
But after the conference, we all went out to dinner, and had a conversation about therapy and parenting. None of these women were parents yet, and I realized I had a perspective that they didn’t. They are at the beginning of their careers, and I am in the middle, which means that even though I’m rusty, I still, by definition, have seen more than they had. I may not be able to recite off the top of my head which tests I should give to evaluate a preschooler’s language, but I understand better what a parent needs from a therapist, how it feels to wonder if your child has a problem, and how therapy can be overwhelming in terms of time and money. I also remember cringe worthy conversations I’d had as a fresh faced and energetic eager young therapist with patients and families. Those conversations today would have gone very, very differently.
As I was pondering all of this in my hotel room one night, I thought, “Hey. Whaddya know. I’m evolving.”
It was a nice thought.
It meant that even though I often feel like motherhood is sort of an intellectual desert, and even though some days it’s all I can do to get through the day, even though I’d like to think that I love classical literature but actually more often read books about Discworld*, and even though I’m way behind in a profession that I desperately want to rejoin and have no real idea about how to do so, somewhere, SOMEWHERE along the way, I’ve picked up a few things.
Who would have guessed.
Have you had experiences that affirm emotional or intellectual growth? How has the experience demonstrated that growth? Are there are things that you have done specifically to avoid intellectual atrophy, either at work or at home? Are these experiences painful?
*Discworld is a world created by the fantasy author Terry Pratchett, and he’s written a variety of books chronicling the lives of the different folks who live there. The books are quirky and awesome and fun. Death is there a lot. He’s quite funny.