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(It has been over a year since I wrote anything for MuSings, so let me introduce (or re-introduce) myself. I am Shelley Stephenson…married, mother of an 18-year-old son, and diagnosed with RRMS in Feb. 1999. Thank God my MS has not severely interfered with my life. In May of this year, I finished 2 ½ years at the local Community College, graduating with two Associate’s Degrees.)
I think most of us look back at the year we have just completed when New Year’s is looming on the horizon. As I look back on the past year, I realize just how much has changed, all the while staying the same.
For my son, one of the changes is that he is now a Senior in High School; but it is the same High School, with many of the same teachers. Another change is in the band, where he is finally "top dog" in the trumpet section; but it is the same band. Brand new uniforms were acquired this year for the band, which gave them the confidence they needed to really "sock it to" the other bands in competition. They had a great winning season! Still more change is that he has decided
on—and been accepted to—a wonderful college for next year. What is the same there is that he is going away from home and beginning the next phase of his life, as has been planned for several years.
For my husband, it is a new set of responsibilities and a higher rate of pay (great changes!), at the same place of work. He has come up with a whole new system for creating and maintaining a budget for us…with all the same bills! He changed the way he invests for our future, too, and we are finally seeing some good come from that, albeit slowly.
My sister, who is four years older than I, lives in Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. She has been divorced for something like 13 years. She has lived alone for a total of about 5 of those years, on and off—her sons have sometimes lived with her, sometimes not. But after all those years of single-ness and living alone, she got married the day after Thanksgiving. That is a story for another day, but it was quite the adventure. What, to me, qualifies as "same" in her story is that she has known her new husband for something like 10 years. And he is a true southern gentleman, which goes with the upbringing my sister and I had. She was born in Alabama, we both spent several years growing up there, and she spent the first few years of her first marriage in Louisiana.
As for me, well, as stated above, I finally finished my schooling and that’s when the fun started: trying to find a job. NOT an easy prospect anywhere, but especially around here—a small town that has lost so many businesses and industries in recent years. But I put on my
job-hunting hat and "went to town", so to speak. I lost count of the number of interviews I had. They all told me that I had good qualifications, but no one gave me a job. I finally discovered that it was my lack of experience that was doing me in. When I finally did get a job this past summer, I only kept it for a week because although they advertised for an office assistant, what they really wanted was someone to become a full-time insurance agent. Not my line, so I quit. A brief change, and then back to more of the same.
Shortly after that, I had another opportunity, which I took. I worked as a receptionist at a local insurance (gasp!) office for a woman who was on maternity leave. At least this time, they only wanted a receptionist. I must interject here, though, that during my fifth week (out of seven) I learned that one of the agents had resigned for health reasons, and his secretary was getting married and moving to Kentucky. Until they could find someone to take the agent’s place, they needed someone to serve existing customers who had questions and/or changes to make to policies. They offered me the job. I turned it down. Psst: If anyone asks, I AM NOT INTERESTED IN SELLING INSURANCE!!
In my last week at that temporary job, I was informed of a position opening up at the local community college. Hmmm. Sounds familiar! I sent in my resume and was asked to interview for the job. Since I was not familiar with a particular software program that the college uses, another college employee was given the job, but I was offered the position she would be vacating. Unfortunately, it is not full time and does not carry benefits, but it IS a job! I took it. So, the change: I am now gainfully employed and earning an honest living at something above minimum wage. The "same": I am at the college where I spent the last 2 ½ years! You know the old saying… "the more things change, the more they stay the same." I believe it!
Reach Shelley by email to comment: firstname.lastname@example.org