What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.
(By Philip Larkin)
I got a call from a recruiter this week – a C-level HR position in another global law firm. We may speak tomorrow. Whether or not we do is irrelevant. What matters is why I even entertained the prospect at all. And I realized it’s because I spent so long making a very comfortable living, I really didn’t know diddly about making my life (sorry for the cliché). Thoughts about working represent the comfort zone and figuring how to find my best life is a far scarier proposition. And I don’t do fear – I prefer to think of myself as naively intrepid. And other than the first shock of the day when I see myself in the mirror, I try to avoid any other activities throughout the day which may inspire my flight or fight response.
And the bottom line is – running away from life by running to work isn’t an answer. Too many people do it, and I used to gently suggest to them that their effectiveness was impacted when work became their refuge, instead of an end in and of itself. Guilty as charged.
So what am I doing to inform this new narrative?
I started writing this blog with no idea as to its direction or purpose. And though I’m still not sure of either, I am sure that it has brought me into the lives of some incredibly generous, talented, gorgeous people around the world. I have found that there is so much that unites us, I’m continually amazed that there are so many divisions. I delight in laughing out loud at phenomenal humor from people who are deft at taking themselves lightly, or shaking my head with wonder almost every morning at my pal David’s prolific (and occasionally neurotic) wisdom. I wait for a word from Simon which always fills my heart, celebrate Rhonda’s life-out-loud voice and hold Lori’s words as close as one would a second skin. Bonnie and I may live in different time zones but we’re on the same page (though hers is a younger, cooler page without question). Maureen writes her messages with a gentle hand, and Christine and Tuck’s mama share the unbridled joys of parenting (with the occasional frustration thrown in to comfort those of us with wonderful, albeit imperfect progeny). Some people grapple with physical challenges – some of which I personally share – and are not hesitating to dance through life. Russ and Ivon and John and Shimon make me wish I was smarter. Susan makes me pine to be able to write poetry – all my Dr. Seuss riffs notwithstanding. Keith inspires me to want to walk with a lighter footprint upon the earth. I could go on and on and on and I mean no offense in omitting any names – I hope you know how incredible I think you are. You are all a part of this life I’m building.
I’m in better shape than I’ve been in a while, and knock out 110 sit-ups at the gym (with a back support), do pull-ups, weight-lift and bike five miles in seventeen minutes. May not sound like much to you, but I’m enjoying learning what my body can do. I’ve taught myself how to knit (badly – but hey, I’m great at scarves), began teaching myself the piano and am reading as many books as I can that don’t have to do with leadership and management. I stay in touch with those who fill my soul and have learned to let go of those who have no need of me and for whom I arguably have no need. I still hate the phone. I learned how to download videos from youtube. I consult, though not as often as I might like (but then again, I am lousy at self-promotion and don’t imagine that changing).
I sing again – although when no one is home.
I’m still learning how to be the best mom to adults, how to be an in-law who’s never an out-law. How to love so hard and not squeeze the life out of that love. I’m learning how to sit outside and not feel that I have to get up and do something. I dance like a madwoman in the kitchen – and I’m not half bad. I sat in Starbucks this morning and listened to an elderly woman talk at length about a friend in the hospital. I have no idea what her name is, but we hugged each other good bye. I’m learning how to breathe. And as I write this, I realize that I am learning that this is how one goes about making a life.
And I feel pretty damned intrepid.