It's promising to be a lovely October day -- a day perfect for yardwork or sightseeing or apple cidering with my two- and four-legged loved ones.
I will be doing none of those things. I will instead be sitting in a conference room, in a public building set literally in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, at a "community fair" geared for economically disadvantaged families. My agency, which serves the elder population, is a member of the community committee that has set up the fair, so even though our services have relevancy to only a small number of the target market, it's politically expedient that I "represent" at this affair.
I will have my agency's visual dog-and-pony show set up on a table -- a table that I have to tote there myself. And if this fair is like past fairs at which I've presented, I will have meaningful conversations with perhaps two or three attendees. Most people who show up are there for the free stuff -- the pens and keychains and other promotional bling -- and couldn't care less about the information being offered.
I remember, one year, exhibiting at a senior health fair at a local casino. Now, if you're an older adult, and have the option of going into one room filled with oxygen companies and wheelchair salespeople and hospice workers and other providers whose presence sends an unspoken message of, "You're old and sick and going to die really soon," or going next door and playing nickel slots until you get hungry and then heading for the all-you-can-eat buffet down the hallway...where are you going to go? I thought so.
The silver lining to this is the fact that I can comp my time on Monday. And today I'll bring my work laptop and work on a project, and also bring my new Feeling Good handbook and work on the exercises; it's kind of appropriate, I think, doing a little cognitive self-therapy in the context of today's assignment.
But -- oy -- I am so tired of this stuff. I think I do quite well putting on my public-service game face during events like this, and every so often I make a meaningful referral and can go home happy about actually having helped someone; but it becomes wearying. I go home exhausted and cranky. I don't want to spend the rest of my life doing this for a living. I think the fact that the other areas of my life -- my personal life, my life in my faith community -- are so rich and full underscores my unhappiness in this sector. And then I feel guilty for thinking that; I mean, my God, I live in one of the most underemployed counties of my state, and should be on my knees thanking God for my job every morning.
I used to work with an ex-Marine whose favorite slogan was "Persevere!" I guess that's good advice. So that's what I'll do today.