It has been one week since I sat for the National Boards Exams in funeral directing and embalming. Passing those tests was the last major hurdle on my track to becoming a licensed mortician. I am happy to say that I don’t have to go back to school in the foreseeable future! All that remains is a final year of apprenticeship and some pesky paperwork.
I finally had a little time to process everything on my evening walk yesterday, and I’ll admit, I’m feeling a little lost in the transition. I can’t help but liken the feeling to a phenomenon that happens in the grieving process. I like to refer to it as the “Now what?” phenomenon. There may be a more sophisticated term, but I think this gets the point across. The bottom line is that after a major life event, i.e. a loss, new experience, or life change, we often enter a type of ‘adjustment period’ in which social connections, routines, and priorities shift. Anytime we come to ‘an ending,’ there is a type of internal pressure as well as that from external sources (peers, society, etc) to move ahead into whatever is next.
People who experience this feeling in relation to the loss of a close loved one can cycle between waves of uncertainty, depression, and helplessness. Sometimes they must take on more responsibilities or learn to do things for themselves. In the wake of a loss, simple changes can seem next to impossible, but over time and with support, hope reappears.
While my current situation is nothing like experiencing the loss of a loved one, I am nonetheless in an ‘adjustment period,’ and I’m constantly rolling around the question, “Now what?!”
For me, this adjustment period will lead to a pretty thorough job search in the upcoming year. Right now, however, it means trying a few new recipes, spreading out my evening walks a bit, reading a book or two or ten, and not hesitating to spend a little while longer on the telephone.
If there’s one thing my job is teaching me, it is that time is fleeting, but people are valuable. Relationships. Are. Important.
My job is challenging. It is rewarding. I feel like I make a difference. I do make a difference. And each and every day there are new opportunities popping up as I encounter different people and different types of situations. I’m taking it all in and trying not to get too caught up in the, “Now what?” question and just focusing on the “now.”