Sue Astroth, artist
(Sue made this scrapbook quilt for me when I just started photography.)

I renewed again my licensed clinical social work (LCSW) “inactive” status from the State of California. For eighteen years, I held, at various points, a state license and/or state certification and numerous professional organizational and national certifications along with my Master’s in Social Work. I haven’t practiced psychotherapy since 1996. I loved being a therapist; I started in alcohol & drug programs and at the end of my therapy life with the health care manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson in Southern California. But, life moved on and I was laid-off; technically, I was laid off twice within one week: the company-wide Employee Assistance Program (EAP) was outsourced and the company I was housed at, was sold.

The State of California for a modest fee allows those who obtained a state license to renew it on-going; it was a difficult license to obtain and required training and taking both an oral and written test. If my memory serves correctly, about 30% passed the written test the first time–I was one of those fortunate 30%.

If I would want to renew my state license today, I would have to take a some classes to get up to date, be a member in good standing, etc., and I could then practice therapy within the State of California again.

That got me thinking about other parts of one’s life. Wouldn’t it be great to revisit old relationships that one or both of you were too immature at the time to appreciate the specialness and kindness of the other and put that relationship on an inactive status so that at some point that relationship could be renewed again after some valuable training/and improved self-knowledge?

Or perhaps that job that you loved that went away, not by your choice. You could put that on inactive status until the economy improved, that old or new boss or co-worker left the company or stayed with you, your benefit/insurance package improved instead of shrank, or a thousand other reasons. Once the conditions were right, you could start again.

Sue Astroth, artist
(I played a lot of the board game, Monopoly as a child and adult.)

Or you could revisit that day in your childhood when everything in the world seemed right, when your life was full of unlimited possibilities that were yours for the taking. When your parents were the smartest people you knew and when every day seemed to last lazily forever.

With all that in mind, I thank you, State of California, for giving me the possibility to start anew again with at least one part of my life. It’s not often that you get a second chance in life, to pick up where you left. But for now, I’ll keep photographing…