Forty-0ne years ago today I started to work for San Bernardino County. I spent the first four years with the Department of Public Social Services. In '84 I went to work with the Public Guardian/Public Administrator's office, where I spent the next 25 years for a total of 29 years, four months, four days and four hours (approximately). I laugh that I figured that out, but it is pretty much accurate. It was a career I guess.
Now, going on twelve years in retirement, (I did retire young they say), I look back and still wonder if I did the right thing. I stayed even when many times I wanted desperately to leave. It was a good job overall, and very interesting at times. I dealt with people's lives and estates, trying to help those who couldn't help themselves or those who had no one else to wrap up their affairs. I worked with some wonderful folks and we are still friends. And of course there were some things I never got used to, like office politics and such, but overall, it was a choice I made to stay.
That all said, and after all this time, I still look back and wonder, "What if?" What if I had pursued my real dreams? What if I had more confidence in myself, believed in my talents and abilities and really lived the life I dreamed of? As I kid and even into high school and college, I always thought I wanted to be one (or all) of the following: teacher, writer, artist, bon-vivant. And over the years I have dabbled in all of them. And here I am, still second guessing myself. For criminy sake.
So here I am. I earned a comfortable retirement. Its the security I thought I needed to obtain. At what price? In the end, though, I am content. I am doing fine. And here I am getting back to writing again and working toward other artistic interests. As usual, life is a series of starts and sputters. Here I am, starting again. The second guessing is more of a musing these days. Thank goodness it is not paralyzing any more! But like the poem by Robert Frost, it came to many a fork in the road...but I, I tended to take the road well travelled, which, of course, has made all the difference.
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.