If Not Now, When? Part Two
Before you RSVP to my pity party, please understand that this tale of woe does have a happy ending. But to get there, we have to step back a bit, to a book group discussion I attended in DC over a year and a half ago. Several of the attendees were moms whose kids attended the same prestigious high school that the author herself had graduated from. They were a driven bunch, both in and outside the carpool lane.
In typical DC fashion, they took the question ‘how do you do?’ with great seriousness. During the pre-program cocktail hour, I introduced myself to a fellow guest who in less than 30 seconds informed me about her amazing job, her flourishing clientele and her upcoming appearance on a television morning show. Truly impressive. Another woman plunged into a monologue about the company she created, the reputation she built, and the meaningful work she accomplished. She then plied me with a stack of her business cards, mistaking me for someone who could actually advance her career.
By the time we took our seats, my ears ached. Not that anyone had asked, but if at that moment I was required to provide an elevator speech, mine would have barely made it from the ground floor to the mezzanine.
I settled in to listen half-heartedly to the author, a Positive Psychology coach who touted enhancing your happiness and pursuing your goals. Full-disclosure, I purchased her book only hours earlier. Self-help guides have never been my thing, so it only received a cursory glance before being stuffed into my handbag. Sitting there, listening to the author’s advice, I wished I had read more. The suggestions were intriguing and her advice was sound.
At one point I raised my hand and sheepishly asked, ‘But how do you seek your goals if you don’t even know what they are?’ Just then a power mom with a voice louder than mine interrupted and hijacked the conversation, preferring to gossip about the author’s shared school experiences instead of focusing on finding bliss. Oh, well.
Fast forward a year later to the weeks of self-scrutiny.
I was not unhappy, I was not depressed; I was just not fulfilled. Don’t misunderstand. As a mother, wife, daughter and volunteer, I had played several rich roles in my life, some even considered Oscar worthy.
And yet, I knew I had more to give. The yearning that resurfaced all too often needed to be addressed and satisfied once and for all.
It was at that point I asked myself, if not now, when?
After many prayers and much pondering, bingo; I decided to call the life coach who for some reason, remembered me. “Weren’t you that woman who asked…” Yes. I was still seeking something, but didn’t know how to find it. The Yellow Pages were no help because nothing’s listed under ‘Now what’?
Although my life had been full, there was a piece of me that wasn’t being expressed. It was as much spiritual as it was intellectual, artistic as it was emotional.
My children were launched, my volunteer commitments were robust, but I knew I had something more to give. Was going back to school the answer? Should I apply for a job? If so, in what field? My computer skills were practically nonexsistnt (case in point: if I knew how to use spellcheck, I would have).
The coach agreed to take me on if I dedicated myself to 3 months of work. That meant 12 weeks of soul-searching and seriously committing to the dreaded A-words, assignments and accountability. With everything to gain, I eagerly signed on.
Week one, Coach C had me take a personality test that determined my top five traits were:
- Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence
That’s beautiful, bless your heart, I appreciate your kind words but couldn’t possibly be worthy of such accolades, just kidding, oh, please, allow me.
Yup, that was me in one sentence. What a gal! We moved swiftly on to exercise number 2: Describe your ideal life 5 years from now, sky’s the limit, dream big.
And that’s where life’s answer was hiding: In my perfect world, I wrote… a blog, a column, a book…. I wrote and was dubbed the next Erma Bombeck.
(Millennials, please refer to Wikipedia).
In that blissful space my writing made people smile and say things like, ‘that’s me!’ and ‘how did you know’ and ‘you’ve obviously stolen my diary’.
It should have come as no surprise. After all, for years I had shared my essays with friends, who encouraged me to start a blog. ‘Some day’, I said, I’ll get there. Then life, made up of events unexpected and excuses concocted, blocked my path.
Looking forward to what could be gave me the courage to write as much for others as for myself.
You can call it an epiphany, I’ll call it a gift from God.
Welcome to Some day. So glad you could join me.