Who am I? I am a middle-aged woman with lots of energy. If I were a dog, I’d be a Yorkshire terrier. Although I’ve been told I can be a pit bull when the occasion arises, and at home with my family I’m definitely a lap dog, possibly a Labrador retriever or something more cuddly. But, I digress. I am also a wife, mother, teacher, friend, singer, genealogist, among many other things.
In my working life, my motto is give it your all, but work to live, not live to work. Not that I haven’t been ambitious and goal oriented, I have. There was a time when it was very important for me to break out of my glass ceiling (man, I hate those), lose the stigma of my then executive secretarial job and move into technology. I did that. It was a hard won victory for which I am very proud. My next goal was to work toward a managerial position and get as high a title as I could go. Did that – check. After many years of paying my dues, sleepless nights, managing workflow and people, business travel, merger-related presentations, etc., I finally made Vice President. I was so proud, and I think my family was, too. I remember calling my uncle to give him the news – him being my surrogate news buddy since my Dad had passed when I was still a teenager. Of course, once I’d obtained those work goals I wanted to move on and take up new challenges, and along the way moved from live-to-work to work-to-live. Actually, my eyes were pretty much opened when someone said to me “No one wants to be remembered as a great worker, but everyone wants to be missed.” It was then I decided I’d rather be missed more by my family and friends, and remembered as someone who was loved.
And then there’s family. Families can be weird. There’s always an odd one or two in every family, right? Of course, in my family, no one is certain it isn’t them. However, I’ve always been considered, by turns, the rock of the family, or the angel of the family. My family always had this misguided conception that I could do no wrong and always made the right decisions, possibly even the “smart” one. Man, what were they thinking? Being the youngest of many children only made me smart in that I had the opportunity to learn from my siblings’ mistakes and work toward not being a burden to my parents as much as possible. One year, when we went camping and forgot the stakes for our tent, I not only made it my responsibility to make sure we had them for future camping trips, but additionally carried all manner of tools around in my purse – a veritable arsenal if you will. I was 13 at the time. An uncle who was a handwriting expert did an evaluation of mine that year and said I was 13 going on 30. So hey, who’s to say I wasn’t the odd one that year?
My kids are the best part of me. I remember years of hearing people brag about their children and either think, yeah, sure, or else wonder if my future children would do half as well as theirs. I needn’t have worried. Did they have struggles? Of course. Are they still struggling at times now? Absolutely. But I am so very proud of what they’ve accomplished, what they are accomplishing, what they are planning to accomplish, and what they’ve overcome to get there. They would have all my love just being who they are, yet they just continue to amaze me, and I am in awe of them.
My husband is my soul mate. To paraphrase Jerry McGuire, he completes me. Corny but true. Does he agree with me 100% of the time? Not a chance. Does shower me with gifts? Get real. Does he at times aggravate me? Duh. Does he support me in everything I do? Absolutely. Do I love him more and more each day, and feel loved in return? You betcha. Does he still knock my socks off? Yowsa. He’s my big gruff bear of a husband, with a soft teddy bear heart.
So, who am I today? I am a person searching for a job. Through no fault of my own, I was part of a layoff, which included many of my teammates, as well as my manager. Should I reinvent myself? Or, just look for what I’m already comfortable with? Should I reach higher? Or just go with the flow? Not a fun time, for sure. There’s not just one fork in the road, but many. There are lots of ways to go, and I’m praying I make the right choices.
So what crossroads are you facing today?