Today at work, I was learning how to scan documents to my email on the scanner/copier machine at my office. The women who was teaching me how to do this said “After you press scan image
then you find yourself.” Meaning that I find my email address on the machine to send the document to. However, it kind of struck me funny. I have heard people say that they were going to find themselves but I never completely understood what exactly that meant. After all, why do I need to find myself? I’m not lost am I? but the more I thought about it the more curious I became and the more I wanted to “find myself” so I googled Finding yourself and got a lot of self help sites including religious sites. I read a few of them and the one thing that most of them had in common was that they said that the first step to finding yourself is finding out who you really are. This was kind of an interesting thought for me because just yesterday, I learned something about myself.
I was talking to the mother of one of my clients. I work with intellectually disabled adults in a day service program. I was having a meeting a woman who has a son in our program. She told me a story about myself: A couple of years ago this young man who was about 21 at the time, started at out center. He has the mind and intellect of a 2 year old child. At the time, my co-worker was driving the North transport van where she picked up and dropped off four clients every day. This young man lived in the area where she did transport on so he was added to her route. I knew that it was most likely stressful for her to drive this young man but I wouldn’t realize how stressful for another year. My co-worker drove this route twice a day, five days a week for a year. She didn’t complain and she had a lot of patience until about a year after this young man started. She decided she was too stressed out to do the route and I was asked to take her place. I soon found out exactly what it was life driving him. First of all, he wouldn’t keep his seat belt on, he wouldn’t stay in his seat. He opened the door even when I was going freeway speeds. He grabbed my arms, shoulder and neck and even put his hands over my eyes on occasion. He threw things out of the window and grabbed things that I might have had up front with me like water bottles and my phone.
I handled this much differently than my co-worker did. Call me impatient or whatever but I wouldn’t and didn’t put up with it. If he opened the door while I was driving, putting himself or others in danger, I would pull over and call his mother to come get him. I talked to his parents and my supervisor on many occasions trying to find ways to make the route safer and less stressful. I didn’t stop trying until I finally came up with a solution (with the help of his parents) that worked. The van route is much different now, it is safer. He stays in his seat and leaves the door closed and doesn’t throw things out the window or grab the driver.
When this lady told me this story I wasn’t sure if she was saying I was right or wrong for being this way. Maybe I should have been more like my co-worker. I talked to a friend about it and she seems to think that it is good that I am the way I am and it’s a quality that helps me in my new position as coordinator and makes me a better leader. I don’t know if this is true or not but it gave me a little glimpse into the way I am.
I think maybe finding yourself isn’t finding yourself at all but figuring out who and why you are the way your are and re-creating yourself to be who you want to be. I’m on the path to doing that.