Finding Meaning in Our Everyday Struggles

Published Dec 12, 2011
By: Adina Tabor
I’m a half hour late for our weekly AVODAH program, racing home. The walk from the subway to our house tonight seems interminably long. I call my mom as I walk as fast as I can. She is trying to calm me down, “just explain to your housemates that you found yourself needing to stay at work to complete a task.” She is sure they will understand. My stomach is churning as I feel I’m letting my housemates down, yet I knew I had to finish my work at the office.

It is now right after Thanksgiving and the expected questions were asked of me during our Thanksgiving get-together with family and friends. So what are you doing in NYC exactly?

Oh, working for the Medicare Rights Center full time?

Medicare is so complex! Such important work! Wait, and you live with 17 other people and have weekly programs from 6-9pm, house meetings, and try to be politically active, take care of yourself mentally and physically, stay in touch with your family, explore a new city and on top of that have a social life?

How do you have time for all of this?

I remembered that difficult night when I was late to my AVODAH program. Issues of priorities and balance swirled around in my head. Sometimes we know exactly what they are and sometimes we are in the midst of figuring them out.

Since I started AVODAH, two struggles have become my challenge. One is the challenge of balancing AVODAH weekly programs and being a part of solidifying our AVODAH community with my work at the Medicare Rights Center. The other challenge is figuring out how to prioritize among too many choices of what to do with my free time.

My fast-paced job as a Client Services Associate is demanding and challenging every minute of the day. Even though the complexity of Medicare can be frustrating, I am inspired by my coworkers, volunteers and clients to strive to be knowledgeable in my field and complete my daily tasks, while keeping up an energetic and positive attitude. At the same time, I need to make sure to fully participate in AVODAH evening programs and contribute to the growth of our AVODAH community. These programs so far have been moving, intellectually stimulating and fun! Sometimes I find it difficult to juggle both obligations. There are just not enough hours in a day to finish every task.

Upon reflection, however, the positive part of these challenges is that both are wonderful struggles to have. I love that I feel committed to both.

It has been about three months since we started the AVODAH program and our individual jobs. I look back on the initial challenges and efforts and realize that we are gradually growing into our individual jobs, turning into an AVODAH community and are having some time to explore this exciting city and make new friends. We are learning about each other’s work and having fun cooking for and with each other. We fully appreciate the effort the AVODAH staff puts into developing amazing programs and bringing fascinating speakers to us. And, we are learning creative ways to celebrate holidays.

We’ve only just begun this exciting journey. Only three months into our year, I have already gained confidence that I can confront the challenges that come my way, with the support and encouragement of my AVODAH community and from my colleagues.

Adina Tabor is from Takoma Park, MD and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She is a Client Services Associate at Medicare Rights Center, which is the leading national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare receive equitable access to healthcare.

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