Trying to Make Sense of it All JoAnne Robinett, MSA, SNS   See! Hear! Smell! Taste! Touch! Oh, the joys of sensory perception!  I’m appreciative and grateful for all five senses, but especially thankful these days for the gift of experiencing sounds.  (I know nerve deafness is in my genes, and the possibility that voices will no longer register as sound haunts me, and makes me listen attentively. Strange, isn’t it, how it seems we value and understand things more when we consider the possibility of loss.) But, WAIT, there’s more! In addition to the aforementioned methods of perceiving stimuli, some people possess what is called the “sixth sense” – intuition. I have to admit, mine is faulty – more often wrong than right.  Yet, it gives me confidence in decisions that otherwise might stagnate as “maybes”, and “nevers”, prompting indecision to become action. I would give my sense of adventure an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10. I definitely have a healthy one, but the last point and a half on that scale falls within my sense of caution! My sense of duty and sense of responsibility run deep. I often feel I ought to; I could’ve; I should’ve… and I will try to do better next time! (Be still, you voices inside my head!) My sense of accomplishment keeps me sane, and I guess it has been with me for my entire life’s journey. I say this because I found a note to my parents written by my Kindergarten teacher that says, “JoAnne is doing well in class. She seems a bit too pleased with her accomplishments, however; it is something I am sure she will outgrow.” (LOL) My sense of urgency keeps me on task; albeit usually right before deadline… My sense of justice bolsters my resolve to speak up when things aren’t fair. I have learned that common sense is a misnomer. It really is not all that common… Let’s not talk about my sense of style. I often struggle with my sense of timing. (Was this the right time in the article to bring this subject up?) My sense of wonder seems boundless.  Curiosity and fascination are constant companions of mine. Every day is such a wonderful feast for my senses! I have a sense of awe that appreciates what a spectacular world I live in, and a sense of gratitude about how blessed I am to have this particular life. I have loved spending it in the school kitchen. While people might assume that my sense of self-worth would suffer as a server and a dishwasher  – that is where mine blossomed. I realized I had a lot to contribute to this job of being a lunch lady (which was a lot harder than it looked) and as I learned more about school nutrition, I developed a sense of purpose! What an important role we play in the lives of our students! I have a sense of place. Meaning… I have the sense that where I am right now is where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing.  I hear this is common after you pass the half century mark in your life. Either you are where you are supposed to be, or you adjust your narrative to make it all seem as though you are in the right place. Whatever, it works out.   At times my sense of balance has been “off-balance”. Sometimes life demands more work and less rest, more hard times that bring fewer regrets later.  As Albert Einstein said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” I agree! Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I have a sense of humor. It helps me see mistakes as future memories to be recalled with delight.  I occasionally worry it has defined me.  I love being funny and entertaining; I hope to be so much more. That said, I love it when you manage to see the bright side of trying days, and you amuse me, making me smile and laugh. Keep it up! It is hard to say what my most robust sense is – they all affect the way I experience and enjoy the world. I think it might be my sense of optimism. This is the sense that tells me the best things in my life haven’t happened yet; that being a lunchlady made a difference to children; being a director improved things for my staff; volunteering as a leader in the Association inspires others; and sharing my views helps other people clarify theirs. In a sense, life is nothing more than how we perceive and process it all that surrounds us. May your senses be filled with good things; and your memories make them seem even better!   I hope this all made sense to you. Submitted by JoAnne Robinett, SNS, of America’s Meal Conference Keynotes and In-Service Trainings Visit me online at AMERICASMEAL.COM enthusiasm

Making Sense of it All