I was surprised the last time I found I hadn't posted here in a year. Now it has happened again.
I think part of the reason I turned away from the site is that I turned away from myself, a little. Not consciously, but perhaps I was trying to turn towards whatever the counseling profession was or is, or what I thought it was. It's four years later, and I still haven't finished. I put off the practicum last Fall, and though I took it this Spring, I received a "Does not meet expectations" result, which means I have to retake it in order to move forward. After I retake the practicum, I would have to find and complete an internship somewhere. To the extent that I need a defense, more than half of the semester was spent under a stay-at-home order, and so involved both distance learning and distance counseling. But it's also true that I never managed to relax into just being in session with someone. What remains unclear is whether I will be able to, in the future.
I am definitely considering dropping out. I'm obviously resisting the program; whether from personal anxiety or from some nobler dislike for jumping through hoops, I don't know. On the other hand, there's a sizable amount in student loans and four years of my life that would have little to show for it. Still, finances might be better if I went back to computers.
Speaking of finances, though, my "day job" of working for a local big-box grocery-and-everything-else store has unexpectedly made me essential in some way that no one would have said I was, before. So, I go to work, full time, with a two-dollar-an-hour raise and a mask on my face, and get thanked by people for doing it. Still, I worry more about people who can't go to work, or who will have to decide between risking their lives and earning a living, soon. Amusingly, we're finding that not everyone can work from home, and even better, that the ones who can't may well be more important in keeping our society running. And don't get me started on how vulnerable this makes us, being dependent on internet connectivity for everything, now.
I find myself increasingly discouraged by the evidence that our political system, and for that matter, our reasons for being as a society, are breaking down. Suspicion is not only normal; it's openly expressed at every level of society against every other level. People seem to have stopped admitting even the possibility that other people might have good intentions. A famous dead man said that a house divided against itself cannot stand; he presided over the last civil war.
So, back to me, and figuring out which way to turn. Strangely, as I tried to focus on learning how to counsel people, I felt less and less able to keep contact with people I was already involved with. It felt like I needed those resources to work on myself, during a process that undoubtedly induces changes in anyone who goes through it. But I can see now that I lost by doing that; that as I pulled back from the rest of my life, ostensibly to improve it, I made it colder and darker, for myself and for those I abandoned.
I thought I had to turn inward (even more than I naturally am), but the truth is that the reasons for living aren't in there. They're in the people out there, who need help. So, I may have to get through some more hoops, but if I do try to, I won't be focused on the hoops as much, any more.