If you had asked the seven-year-old me pictured here what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have listed several dream jobs such as astronaut, scientist, professor or journalist – all careers I actually considered as I grew up. Working at NPR (National Public Radio) for 15 years was the closest I came to any of these possibilities. Even though I worked in corporate communications roles rather than as a journalist (having realized in college that becoming a reporter was not my path), I did achieve my dream of working for a major news organization. And it was amazing! Yet it was nothing compared to my career with Goodwin House.
Joining the community of staff and residents made me reimagine myself, not just as a professional, but as a person. Before working here, I thought about aging the ways I suppose most of us do – whenever I spotted a new wrinkle, celebrated a birthday or received the type of news that reminds us time passes quickly and life can seem too short. Thanks to my job here, my perspective of aging has changed. Rather than focus on the wrinkle, I contemplate how many smiles it took to create it. Rather than think about adding another year to my age, I reflect on another year of happy memories. And rather than focus on the loss, I celebrate a life lived and a person loved enough to be missed by others. The Goodwin House family and communities serve as a constant reminder of this process we all go through, a reminder that aging is something to embrace, not fear. The seven-year-old me never imagined this career. If she had, I’d have started working for Goodwin House years ago!