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Colleen Young, Connect Director (@colleenyoung)

Winter Wellbeing: What are you doing this winter for you?

Healthy Living | Last Active: Mar 16 11:03am | Replies (18)

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Hi Colleen! Although I read all the heartfelt messages that come in, I do it in the evening when my energy is low and it’s harder for me to focus and concentrate to give all of you my input, support and care. However, everyone, please know I care deeply for all of you and your journeys…..life has many roads we all must travel and there is so much support here! I thank all of you and am grateful everyday for this space❤️
Now, the origin of my username comes from the Ojibwe name for eagle. I worked with the Leech Lake Band Of Ojibwe for many years and the eagle (migizi) is one of the Seven Grandfather Teachings. Although I am not of their tribal background or race, gradually they accepted me and gave me so much in terms of compassion, knowledge, and laughter. I worked in the capacity of mental health, providing therapy to severely emotionally disturbed children and youth in their small community in the school setting, in a Level IV special education program and the Alternative Learning Center. The kids and their families had so many challenges, yet the love that they shared was unconditional and endless in spite of the depths of grief their community often experienced. Ok, I guess I’ve rambled enough. As you probably noticed, I loved my job (in spite of intense stress), but had to retire due to Covid this year because my bronchiectasis interfacing with the kids would be too high risk for my health. Fortunately, I’m now 65 and Medicare is here for me. But now I grieve for the kids and leaving them without therapy right now…..eventually someone will be hired and then they will have new opportunities. Though, as I mentioned, they are used to loss and unfortunately, I am another loss to them. Sorry to make this sound sad….I also grieve my loss to not be there anymore but my health feels more stable, although my energy level continues to stay somewhat low. Thanks for asking and Have a wonderful holiday!

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Replies to "Hi Colleen! Although I read all the heartfelt messages that come in, I do it in..."

@migizii, What a lovely reason for choosing the Ojibwe eagle name as your username. A big salute to you for the many years you devoted to also providing "compassion, knowledge and laughter" as you worked with the many children whose lives you've touched in the Alternative Learning Center.

People working in the mental health fields have personal attributes that many of us do not possess. You and they can only be admired for their abilities to work in fields of unique and highly stressful challenges. I hope realizing that will bring you deep satisfaction and pride.

There is an understandable loss and grief when we retire and separate from a profession that is more an avocation than mere career choice. However, all those whose lives you've enriched and improved will long appreciate your impact on their lives. Remember that no one can take away our memories of that which was most important to us.

For those of us fortunate enough to have spent our professional lives working in areas that we loved, retiring initially can bring a feeling that we've lost a large part of our identity. However, I have every confidence that you will find new additional ways to bring meaning to your life and those of others, much as you bring to these forums.

I remember giving a shout out too when I became eligible for Medicare in retirement! What a relief to benefit from that additional health care coverage! As often as I complain about the numerous shortcomings of our nation's medical providers, I am so grateful to be living in a country in which it took less than a year for scientists to produce the life changing Covid-19 vaccines.

Wishing you the best as you embark on this new lovely phase of your life called: retirement!

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