A conversation with Professor Patty Ward

I was annoyed with her simply because of her sarcasm given freely as she sat on the pedicure chair.

But, eventually I took out my earbuds because that annoyance turned to admiration. She was real and full of sarcasm and jokes. When I asked her how she was, she said not great because she was turning 65 in a couple days. I typically would console clients by returning positive feedback but she was too smart for my bullshit. So, in my blank thinking, I said, ‘yeah, that does suck [that you wake up with aches and pains with origins you do not know]’.

I am often at crossroads through out life. I’m at one now. I know what I’m going to do, but I feel a bit lost about it and nervous. When I’m in this funk, I stumble onto helpful movies, videos, and podcasts in a way that makes me second guess my atheism. Yesterday it was conversation that stumbled upon me.

She gave me nuggets of gold. I had to wait for these gems around conversation with her friend/colleague with whom she taught with at Johnson County Community College. Professor Ward and I are similar just in different decades.

When she was 40, she sold everything, valuables – her jaguar, and pursued psychology and left her high dollar management job.She was in pursuit of something beyond a comfortable salary.

In her new job as a psychologist, she met her 2nd husband. “When you do what you love, you also meet people who love the same thing.” And right now, it’s ‘the best time for women’ to pursue what they love.

She was flattering me with compliments but I mostly disregard it as a psychologists’ move [how low self esteem of me right?]. Still, it was nice to hear a new narrative. ‘You are wise’ in response to leaving Forba for my reasons.

Comparing this conversation with my previous post ‘Convo with Mom’ my heart hurt. I wonder how it would be if it were my mom or dad encouraging me like Professor Ward did [woe is me]. I get very little encourage or emotional support [of my dreams] from our parents. To be fair, I don’t talk to my parents about what I sincerely love because they haven’t given me reason to [how rotten of me].  So, I seek support in other people. This is why I love talking to inspirational people like Professor Ward. It gives me a perspective that aligns with what I believe in.

The most affectful nugget was the idea of self actualization. ‘When you are doing something without realizing the time passing’ that is something you love. ‘It’s self-actualization’. I’ll add – of course, you have to be smart about it, not throw caution to the wind and start changing everything, but it’s something to take note of.

After she said that, I just nodded my head. She asked “what are you thinking?”, I simply replied ‘my move to California’.  I couldn’t say more, the lump in my throat stopped me.

In my head, I was screaming, ‘Writing! I’ve experienced that with writing!’

I don’t remember why she brought up Erik Erikson’s Stages of Development, but she focused on the final stage, ‘Ego integrity vs. despair’.

From http://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html:

As we grow older (65+ yrs) and become senior citizens, we tend to slow down our productivity, and explore life as a retired person. It is during this time that we contemplate our accomplishments and are able to develop integrity if we see ourselves as leading a successful life.

Erik Erikson believed if we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our past, or feel that we did not accomplish our life goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness.

In the moment, I thought she was tying it to the decisions we make, either for love or money. But the excerpt above makes me think she was talking more about herself and where she’s at. She’s entering this life stage. She absolutely hates turning 65, maybe she is feeling nervous about instead because she’s entering a stage where her life choices are measured.

During our conversation, Tu, Ty, and Bella were all around my hearing range telling me to hurry, HuRrRy, HURRY! Which is exactly what the Professor and I were discussing. Value over monetary gains. I valued absorbing our conversation over absorbing money.

Conversations with Professor Ward a gift from the moment. It was also humbling. Once again, my judgement of people failed miserably. What I found annoying to begin with I now can’t stop thinking about and wished I had more time to talk with her. I write about her because I don’t want to forget her kind and inspirational words of wisdom. Next time, I will listen more than I speak though, because in retrospect, I could have learned more in doing so and asking follow up questions vs. talking about me.

So. Now. What do I do without realizing time passed?


Music writing/lyrics – when I don’t give up

Coding as well.

I’ll add to that:

What do I love? – this back deck. I could walk out here every morning and be content with life. My laptop, coffee, nature around me, and I’m golden. Of course, I would love to be paid for words/code I produce. That’s my dream.

I’ve been sad about the move. Highly questioning EVERYTHING. It’s been indescribable, how nice having 3 days on and 4 days to myself has been. Which leads me to my next decision – I’m not going to go into debt for coding. Being above the water allowed me to have this moment of realization, and I want to keep it as an option in the future.

Having that option makes California not look so permanent. The move will be good for my diversity in friends and in thought. It’ll also add some flavor to my writing ;).

I will take this prep course, and possibly a cheaper front end developer course. I will get an entry level, low stress job that will allow me time and freedom to continue writing. I will save save save! From this day on, I will be very mindful of my spending again.

I realize my dream now. My heart is literally fluttering and I have a stir in my stomach. It’s part fear and part excitement. If your dreams don’t scare you then you’re not dreaming big enough is what a song lyric said. I’m hella scared.


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