Reflections on the New Job/Life of a Lucky Dog!

I’m sitting on the couch at our cottage near Buckhorn, Ontario on a Saturday night. A quiet dinner just the two of us, make that three of us including Tilly, who thoroughly enjoyed the barbequed steak with cauliflower…and cheese sauce.

Dave has been raking/blowing all day, while Tilly, yes, Tilly again, slept among the leaves. I spent a decadent few hours with my friend Terry, whom I have known since we were 16-year-olds at the Red and White Grocery Store, and, I might add, the fastest cashiers with the best shoes.

After a trip to the spa in town, we had lunch together with a glass of Australian Shiraz. One of those things we don’t do enough of with old, check that, long-time friends. Terry and I, of course, haven’t changed a bit. We still buy similar clothes…and we still love shoes and the Rolling Stones.

We talk about our boys (we each have one son), our husbands we were both so lucky to finally find, our parents… and our second careers. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in life and while at times we’ve gone as long as a year or two without seeing each other, we always manage to pick up where we left off.

As a labour and delivery nurse at North York General Hospital, Terry probably delivered more babies than most doctors. She lovingly and skillfully looked after new parents and their babies and some new parents who had lost their babies. Caught up in the heart of the Sars crisis, she ended up taking an early retirement a couple of years ago after which she and her husband sold their rambling home east of Toronto and moved up to cottage country. “I never want to work again”, she said….”no more hospitals, babies or patients for me.”

That could have been me one year ago…the day I got my letter telling me my services as a news anchor were no longer required. One year ago! The day I thought my world had come crashing to an end. Something in me knew it had been a long time coming. I hadn’t been feeling the love, as they say. Would I ever work in the industry again? Was I just not good enough any more? Had I lost it? But a job that had defined me for more 30 years was over. I wasn’t wanted anymore. Terry decided her career was over. Someone else decided for me.

Just as I knew Terry would work again, I knew I would too. I started writing, this blog, and a couple of newspaper articles and talking to people. I learned I still had value and it didn’t matter that I didn’t have a “work” phone number anymore. Terry embarked on a massive project re-building their cottage into a home. It is beautiful but it is also finished now.

A year or so ago, while construction was underway, a group of townsfolk got together and decided to open a medical clinic. Word got around that a former head nurse was now a local resident. Would she consider sitting on the board? Well yes, she said as long as that was it. That clinic is now a reality. Terry is a board member, and volunteered to order supplies. Now it seems they want to hire a nurse to set up a satellite lab…. Just a few hours a week. It’s perfect for her.

After three decades of being front and center as life began for hundreds of newborns and life changed forever for hundreds of parents, Terry knows she has so much more to give but she also needs to be needed, to be involved, to put her incredible experience, skill and compassion to work again.

I tell her I knew this day would come, just as I knew it would come for me.

Six weeks ago, my new TV show, “Always Good News” premiered on CTS Television. There were nerve-wracking days full of angst and panic and sleepless nights when I’d wonder what I had gotten myself (and my director-husband) into. But the fear in my belly; the sense that the best in life has past; the dread of failure; all of that, is gone.

I have a new comfort in this new job of mine. I have a sense of self worth. I believe in what I’m doing, that the world needs more good news. My opinions are sought. I’m proud of what I do and how I do it and I have a team of people behind me including bosses who treat me as an equal and more. I’m at the center of my world.

I’m past 50 but not past the belief that the best is yet to come. We are what life has dealt us, the product of our experience. As I tell my now 20-year-old when he feels like a dumb kid over some silly mistake, life “is” and there is no such thing as a bad experience as long as you learn from it. There will be more challenges ahead. I know that. But I also know I’m stronger than ever. So are you Terry.

I like the way my life “is” today. I am grateful for my blessings and the journey that brought me here. Terry, here’s to you and me and tomorrow!