Human TuneUp Column by Cath

| June 6, 2017 | 0 Comments

Time Out

I was young and out to save the world.

From a hometown of 12,000, I was testing the waters of the big city. I came west from Michigan to California with my college degree and ended up working in the downtown welfare office.

My job was to take applications for welfare and determine eligibility.

I was so culturally naïve that when I went out to call on my first applicant, and saw that his name was Jesus, I thought: Oh my, this person’s name is Jesus (as in
Nazareth). No.

Add to that, I also did not know what a taco was.

Criminals, the homeless, the mentally challenged, the physically disabled, alcoholics and people in for the winter in sunny southern California made up my caseload of people genuinely needing help.

It was a workplace where there was way too much to do and not enough time to do it. And therein was my problem.

I had brought with me my Midwest work ethic and had been raised to work hard. So even though it was all too much, I kept trying to get it all done.

After a while, this interior dialogue began repeating:
“I need a break,” followed by, “You can do it.”
“I need a break,” followed by, “You can do it.”

Did I ever really listen to myself and stop and take a break? No.

Did I get a break?
Yes. Seven breaks.

Head-on car crash.
Off work for a year, repairing my body.

And the nerve of that workplace. Still functioning without me for all that time.

I learned to spend an afternoon on the couch.
I learned if I do, the world does not come to an end.

Cath DeStefano, Author, Fun Workshop Leader
Book Excerpt: “Vital Signs! for Life” by Cath

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General articles by the Presidio Sentinel and Associated Partners.