Working Hard But Not Yet Playing Hard…


A few weeks ago, I for the first time had a chance to engage in reflective practice – aka had the extra brain space to really think about what I was actively doing – and found myself feeling surprised I was driving such far distances in my social worker visits with my members/cases/clients/people.

And I like driving but Milwaukee-driving is straight out of a hyper-violent video game so I also realized I was really risking my life driving so far to get to the areas I need to reach.

Last Tuesday

I also realized I was surprised to find really rather scary neighborhoods I didn’t even know about.

Most cities have one really bad part of town that never seems to improve and the people who live there deal with a very different reality than the people who live elsewhere in the city.

For instance, the North Side of Milwaukee is infamous. It’s what happens when a city informally annexes a neighborhood and permits disparity to grow horns and fester into extreme violence and anarchy.

And I thought the first episode of a show titled Dark States had focused on the north side of Milwaukee.

After watching that episode, a friend in Scotland saw it and immediately messaged us “What the fuck are you doing living in Milwaukee”.

And we were both all “We don’t live on the north side.”

But – reading the info about the episode posted above – I just realized Louis Theroux was apparently in District Five and that isn’t the North Side of Milwaukee.

It’s where my husband and I live now.

And, if you’re one of the three people who has been reading this blog for any period of time, you’ll know that we recently moved here to District Five from a really rather bad neighborhood and so this is an upgrade.

Which kind of proves my point… Milwaukee is predominately one big giant abyss of disparity. I don’t feel it’s like this anywhere else in the States.

Even Detroit is improving.

Yet, in regards to this job, it doesn’t matter. We go where our members live. So when a young member who lives in Brown Deer told me that last week there were murdered bodies outside on his corner, I realized fully that extreme violence is not limited to certain neighborhoods.

As such, I don’t pay much “geographical” attention when I’m going on visits.

Yet, after two visits with one member, I noticed that her neighborhood really felt especially *off*. During our first chat, she had told me that a person had been thrown through her window last month.

She had said that like, “I got a really cool pair of shoes last week! I couldn’t believe they were on sale!”

So I later looked up her address and where it was located on a Milwaukee map and – oh!- it’s smack dab in the middle of Metcalfe Park.

And that is one of the most notably dangerous neighborhoods in Milwaukee.

Ohhhhhhhhh…well, of course bodies are being thrown through windows then…

Driving all over Milwaukee is also how I get to see the most crazy car accidents all the time and how I usually yell out “I saw that car today!” when watching local news on YouTube with some Wanted Person in Car feature.

In any case, it helps to keep perspective on my life when we work with these amazing people who are just living their own lives and also surviving in relatively crazy neighborhoods.

Like it’s no big thing.

Because this helps me to downplay my own things.

So that brings me back to where I started. One thing that really appealed to me about this job was shared when my Lead Supervisor stated in my second interview: “We work hard and play hard.”

When I heard that, I pictured Wall Street idiots.

And how partying hard usually led to criminal behavior.

And I questioned why any part of this appealed to me.

And then I tried to picture social workers doing the same things.

I couldn’t really see it.

But then I recalled how crazy fitness friends had referred to rock climbing and extreme sports as “playing hard” so I could try to go down that route instead but I’m old.

Maybe I could try… axe throwing.

At the same time, I’d probably throw an axe so hard and so wildly I wouldn’t be able to control it and then I’d probably accidentally kill someone.

Like… on Throw One during my First Time Axe Throwing.

And then I’d be in prison trying to figure how how that new world’s rules and procedures worked.

So I’ll just stay on the hunt for something that fits the “playing hard” bill because seeing the worst and best of humanity while operating in Grand Theft Auto mode and still attempting to recover from All That’s Happened is providing me with a need for a more extreme – yet healthy and sustainable – outlet.

I guess it’s all about achieving some kind of balance between the body and mind while the world burns.

And, in the meantime, there’s coffee.

Hope you’re all staying safe out there and successfully and safely managing all/most of your own tragedies and crises.


8 thoughts on “Working Hard But Not Yet Playing Hard…

  1. I have no words. Milwaukee is the only place I’ve ever been with good block/shit block/good block/shit block/terror block in such a stark, obvious way. I remember when I moved there and we had a mattress in the back of the truck and my friend said if that mattress falls off here, we’re just leaving it. And I laughed but when I looked around I was like holy fuck, yup.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right??? Woosh. I feel relatively prepped for the apocalypse if it’s more of the extended version and we all linger for a time because… yeah. YOU DROP THAT MATTRESS IT IS GONE. THERE IS NO STOPPING. 😬😂

      A man was shot in the face last week because he rolled down his window to ask a car to “slow down, all my kids are in the car”. 😔 Whoever it was just shot him in the face in front of all his kids. I mean… it’s MENTAL out there. But also… you don’t roll down your window while on the city roads in Milwaukee.


  2. This rings so true for me. When I worked full time as a teacher I was always exhausted at the end of the day. I would come home, have a nap, then vegetate to a stupid video game for an hour, make dinner, watch tv, and repeat. The only day I went to the gym was Saturday. I don’t understand this “play hard” thing either. When you have a home and pets or kids to look after, there is no time left. I can only say that in retirement now, I have found a better balance. Stay safe out there. It sounds like a gong show!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh honey. Yes. That’s exactly the issue. We would need to be on illegal substances to play hard I think because it’s just not possible. All we can do is sustain for as long as we can.

      I’m so glad you’ve found some balance in retirement. You certainly earned it. 😘


  3. I don’t know why, but whenever I hear the work “hard/play hard” thing, I always assume they mean the work is grueling, and the unit goes out together on the regular to drink heavily.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw. She is doing good. We have been actively searching for dog #2 as that had always been the plan. BUT it seems she has become quite comfy with How It Was. For instance, her food and water have been in the living room in front of our couch which she idolizes.

      If we have another dog, that can’t continue. So we’ve moved her food to the hallway, next to ANOTHER one of her beds and she can SEE the bowls. But she’s on a hunger strike at present.

      SPOILED PUPPY. 😂 But… the times are a’changing, June.

      Thanks for asking, Lisa! Hope you’re doing well! 😘


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