Thank you for all your responses to my survey. I got treats for being supportive.
Peggy and my human are excited to launch their new blog CATNIP
I’m getting excited too cuz I’m being supportive and will get treats for my contest.
I keep asking them Why on earth name the new blog CATNIP and not FREDDIE?
According to humans, catnip makes you mellow. (What they don’t know is it drives cats wild with desire.) Peggy & Judy want to help you find your mellow but if it drives you wild with desire for more CATNIP they’ll be pleased.
Peggy and my human each worked for over 210 dog years as Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists. That’s a lot of years. They decided to share what they’ve learned and the tools they’ve taught rather than have all their stuff blindly dumped into a shredder after they’re gone.
So . . . continuing to be supportive . . . I’m sponsoring a contest to help them be successful bloggers, like me.
PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to CATNIP so Peggy and my human don’t think I’ve sabotaged them (as retired psychotherapists they are sometimes a bit paranoid).
It’s easy – just enter your e-mail address in the subscribe box at the top right hand corner of the CATNIPBLOG site.
Freddie Parker Westerfield, Certified Canine Therapist, RET
P.S. I made them promise to have fun doing CATNIP. I know them . . . if it isn’t fun they won’t do it. So if you pay attention you’ll see some of their original drawings, stories, poems sneak on cat feet into the CATNIPblog.
P.P.S.S. Neither Peggy nor my human are very smart when it comes to technical stuff. Ronna Skinner, graphic designer extraordinaire (not to mention Peggy’s cousin-in-law) helped get the cats Peggy drew, safely perched onto the letters where they can play with “CATNIP” to their hearts content (and not bother me)
Things were sooooo much easier before I knew identity was a crisis: so much easier when I was a child and the word identity was something I had to look up in the dictionary; so much easier when I was a young adult and knew everything there was to know; so much easier when I was in mid-life and knew everything I needed to know.
I’d better find my identity before it becomes a full-blown crisis.
Seeing Myself from a Different Perspective
Maybe life is about stumbling, figuring things out . . . redoing, undoing and redoing again. Maybe who we are is meant to be the ultimate mystery and our curiosity is simply to keep us from stagnating while experiencing life, one crisis at time. Maybe?
I’ve been 70 for 4 days and I still feel like I’m 69 . . . maybe I’ll feel my age in a few more days.
My long-time “Fibro-friend” came to celebrate my birthday with me. She wasn’t invited but she came anyway. She said that’s what friends are for. But I showed her and didn’t have a celebration. Here’s my birthday pome to me (in blue) with an intro by “Mac”:
Happy Birthday from “Mac” and Me
(with apologies to Fleetwood Mac)
“If you wake up and don’t want to smile If it takes just a little while Open your eyes and look at the day You’ll see things in a different way”
“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow
Don’t stop. It’ll soon be here”
So don’t fret my dear
A new year to cheer
there’s nothing to fear
You may be old
but you’re still here!
A live performance of Fleetwood Mac’s classic hit, ‘Don’t Stop’ with help from the University of Southern California’s Trojans Marching Band
The whole world is witnessing my identity crisis. I grew up in a time where there was no internet. If you had an identity crisis, no one knew – they just presumed you “missing”. Since I’m on lots of internet and social media sites I realize I should rewrite every cyberspace bio, intro, profile out there . . .
My first rewrite:Former child star (I once was a child and being the first-born grandchild I was the star in the family)who gave up the limelight for a degree in English literature, traumatizing her to the extent that she never read another work of fiction for 30 years (skipped over high school years because they were even more traumatic).After working in the banking business (I was a data entry person when teletype machines were cutting edge) she traveled the world(not the exactly the world but I did hitch-hike in Europe) . . .
. . . too wordy since so far I’m only up to my early 20’s:
Second try:Former child star (gonna keep the star stuff – start off with a bit of dazzle to capture the reader’s attention) who quit being a psychotherapistto pursue her life’s dreamand hasn’t a clue what that might be and is a bit afraid that if she knew she couldn’t afford it. Keep reading her blog because when she knows what, who or why she is you’ll know too.
Maybe I’ll just leave all the bio’s and profiles as-isand let people think I’m the oldest psychotherapist on the planet – which might be a good bookend to being a child star . . .
Just realized I need to update my oh-so-many profiles that are swirling around in cyberspace.
Less than an academic exercise changing my profile has become a psychological dilemma in ego-identification. Since I have no specific direction I’ve decided to call myself aUsed-to-Be Therapist. Used-to-Be has a ring of experience with just a hint of being washed up. I think I’ll also add BEing-in-Progress. The combination of Used-to-Be and BEing-in Progress creates a bit of intrigue.
I’m a serial monogamist when it comes to my professional identity. I don’t like to break up with my current identity until I have another identity lined up in the wings. When I break the news “I don’t love you anymore” to any job I’ve had it’s comforting to run into the arms of my new job for solace, security and paycheck.
This time around Uncle Sam is neither giving me comfort nor solace and his paycheck, contrary to what he calls it, is not a lot of security and comes with the title DEPENDENT.
I’ve worked since I was 16. So for 60 decades, give or take a few years, I’ve prided myself in being INDEPENDENT. Ok – It’s not always pride, some of the time self-pity, much of the time martyrdom and most of the time resignation. But for 60 decades I’ve never had the title DEPENDENT.
Used-to-Be-Independent, Dependent in-Progess? You’ll have to keep checking all my cyber profiles to see what my current status is. I’ll probably decide after I receive my first social SECURITY check.
Two months agoI had 17 years and 4 months to live. I’ve used up 2 of those months. Time is slipping through my fingers. I’m thinking about a make-over to match my new retirement lifestyle.
My current “look” is PROFESSIONAL.I try to project an image of normalcy for my clients. It helps instill deep trust in my intelligence and respect for my accumulated wisdom. Now NO HOLDS BARRED. I can be meeeeeeee.
I googled fashion trends so I don’t look out of place in my new role.
1. Starting with my hair. I’m going to change the style which requires letting the sides grow longer so there is enough hair to style.
2. Once sides of hair grow out create a signature style, something symbolic of stepping out of the old and into the new.
3. Next is wardrobe. Out with the black pants, black skirts, mono-chromatic tops, structured jackets – all calculated to allow clients to use me as a blank canvas to project upon just as Freud would have advised.
Step 3: Reflect my inner artist.
4. Gotta take a nap and rest now cuz the thought of shopping is wearing me out and I hear getting enough rest helps the hair grow.
Someone asked, with concern, how I was feeling about my impending retirement. Sounded a bit like my impending demise! I am actually feeling a bit of relief and am preferring to think of it as re-treading as opposed to retire-ment!
I’ve bitten the bullet (while I still have my teeth) and am taking the leap (while I still can leap) into the next phase of my life (which is getting shorter by the day)!
My office lease is up this February 2015 and coincides with my (gulp) 70th birthday.
I have wrestled with whether to sign a new lease, rent space from another clinician, buy a van to set up a Therapist-on-the-Go practice (kidding), move to the South of France (sorta kidding) or fade into memory . . . I will close my office along with my 69th year (no kidding).
Being a psychotherapist has been one of the most gratifying things I’ve done in my life. I’ve been blessed to have had thousands (yup, count ’em thousands) of people profoundly touch my life. Therapy is a two-way street. I’ve learned and grown along with my clients. Their pain, hopes, struggles and faith have helped inform my choices, strengthen my faith and deepen my belief in human courage, resiliency and ability to learn & change.
It is almost inconceivable to me that I will be 70 years old and have been “practicing” psychotherapy for 30 years. It is hard to admit that in the last several years I have less physical energy and resiliency. But it’s true. (I like to blame my declining energy on fibromyalgia more than aging because fibromyalgia should be good for SOMETHING).
As I take the leap I will try not to lose my grip on the cord of these words that I do my darndest to tether me in my life:
“Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. (THIS is a hard one!!)
Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face.
Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge.
Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. (GOTTA WORK on this – my speech isn’t always guarded as my friends can attest)
Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men.
Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression.
Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts.
Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive.
Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring.
Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.” (A TALL ORDER for us humans – one “leap” at a time).
(The Baha’i World Faith, Baha’u’llah)
I’ll keep you “posted” (on this blog) where I land.
Say a prayer that I land on my feet and not my head . . .