Anniversaries suck. I’d take a “Happy Birthday” over a “Best Wishes for Your Anniversary” any day. At least with birthday’s you get asked, “What are you looking forward to this year?” Unless you have those witty friends who love to tease you about another year older and deeper in debt jokes.
Most importantly with birthdays you know what you are celebrating. It the day you were born. Clear, cut and clean.
Anniversaries can mark both events that you relish and some events that you would rather forget, but because it was so significant the event gets immortalized with an anniversary every year.
Yes, Anniversaries have that uncanny way of making your look back, often waaay back…reflecting over years gone by.
I don’t want to be a year-gone by gal, sitting and reflecting upon what could have been or what was. Any yogi worth their weight in gold would say, “Live in the moment”.
I’d be the first to agree that having a “past” is a good thing. Sheesh. If you have been around long enough to even muse upon birthdays and anniversaries, you are one lucky duck. Even if that past has seen it fair share of ebbs versus flows.
The one thing in common with anniversaries and birthdays is you can’t out run them. You might be a hare, but the anniversary is the tortoise and it will always win. So best to suck it up and face the anniversary straight on.
So here goes, my version of sucking it up.
This year 2016, marks the 30th-year anniversary of Response Training Program LLC, a crisis intervention curriculum I started back when I was definitely under 30. Like way, way under 30.
Back then I suffered “fraud syndrome”, touting my curriculum to institutions that had celebrated their 100th plus anniversary. I was presenting to psychiatric hospitals, psychiatrist, CEOs many years my senior, and mental health workers who had already celebrated their “30-year anniversary”.
I vividly remember driving home after sealing the deal to integrate and teach the Response Curriculum for a very large statewide health department. I was a solopreneur before it became fashionable. At my very, very young age of…well let’s just say it is younger than the late comedian Jack Benny who was notorious for calling himself “39” , I became charged with providing crisis training for 6-treatment centers and hospitals . I had no budget, no employees, and barely a sense of how I was going to get it all done.
Only a year early, I was a Youth Service Officer working at of the best jobs for Adventure Based Outdoor Instructors in the country teaching adjudicated adolescents experiential education. The next thing you know it I am in charge of 6- very large institutions.
Over the past 30-years, Response has taken me on and to nearly every road and airport in north America and parts of Europe. The curriculum that I designed by getting a visitor pass to the Yale Medical Library so many years ago can unequivocally claim success on many levels. But the one that I am most grateful for in achieving is reducing the use of seclusion and restraint and creating a culture where hands-on is an anomaly.
When I turned 30-years old I had asked my mom (who is now gleefully rolling into her 96th year on earth) how she felt about her 30th birthday she said, “Oh, Ria it was the worst.”
Aghast I asked, “Why?”
She said, “Everyone wanted to make a big fuss of it. I just wanted to glide into my 30’s. I stood out because, back then most women my age were already married and had had their children. And you my dear daughter were still a very distant twinkle in my eye.”
When I reflect over her words the first thing I think of is, the idea that:
What we see in front of us, is already our past
What is coming up behind us, is our future.
At the same time, I know I can walk away from my past and walk into my future.
But the thought of my future coming up behind me, somehow makes those 30-years feel like only the beginning of a great adventure.
And maybe, just maybe it is about time I realize that taking time to note an anniversary is leading chaos.
Happy Anniversary Response Training Programs