April 30, 2010 § Leave a comment
Last night, I did a presentation for my mom and her friends in the League of Women Voters. The topic they asked me to speak about was Japan and my experiences studying there two years ago. I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to talking in front of a group but considering the topic (Japan = prolific-ness) and the audience (my mom and second grade teacher to name a few) I happily agreed to stop by.
I felt good about what I was going to say. I tried to consider the audience, make it relevant and keep it light. I showed pictures, told nice stories and even fielded a few questions at the end. Successful, I’d say if I was being objective.
But “objective” is the key word here and after my presentation to the very nice ladies and gentlemen of the league, I’d be lying if I said that was a quality I possessed. Rather, I was obsessed. Rehashing every word and remembering points I wished I had made. Thinking over phrases and rewording them like it mattered. It was ugly, my friends. So ugly in fact, that I had to call my mom when I got home and ask her to give my ego a few loving strokes before I went to bed.
What is going on here? Why do I give such a hoot? I’ve always been proud of my ability to distance myself from the work I do. Business, of course, is business. Unless your business is you. Oh man. TGIF.
April 29, 2010 § 1 Comment
Any mom who has ever dropped her baby off at daycare for the first time knows just how big a lump a human is capable of forming in her throat. It’s the kind of lump that comes from sadness, yes, but also guilt, fear, anguish and a special kind of panic that only happens when you’re the one who is responsible for being brave.
As I was walking back to my car after dropping Hiram off at daycare for the first time last fall, my head said this to me:
“If you’re going to trust this amazing little soul to someone besides yourself, you better be doing it for a good reason.”
At the time, it was easy to say, “Of course, my full-time job is a great reason to leave my kid at daycare.” It was also easy to blame my boss or some horrific project when I didn’t feel up to leaving him behind.
Today when I dropped him off, Hiram screamed like I was handing him over to a flock of chomping alligators. The lump came back in a really big way. But I still left him there and came back here to do what I want to do. Now, there’s no one to blame but me.
April 28, 2010 § Leave a comment
So, yesterday afternoon, I found this little treat in my inbox:
I heard that you recently struck out on your own. Congratulations!
Any chance you’d like to meet for coffee? I may have some writing projects coming up that would be a good fit for you.
OMG! What? Me? A good fit? I was completely surprised – flabbergasted even – to get an out-of-the-blue e-mail from an old friend who thought I might have something to offer.
I know what you are thinking. I know that if you are reading this, I have probably looked you in the eye at some point and told you that this is what I was planning to do. I probably said something like, “I’ve got some work lined up and I’m in good shape.”
But, um, based on my utterly dropped jaw reaction to even the hint of actual momentum, I’d have to say that all that talk was really just talk. So from now on, I need to do better. I need to believe in myself more and not be such a freak. And, of course, meet this person for coffee!
April 27, 2010 § Leave a comment
I thought my husband was kidding the first time he told me that our internet was slow because of leaves in our trees. It’s exactly the kind of interesting tidbit that makes me feel old.
“Hiram,” I’ll say to my son in a granny voice, “When I started my business, I had to hang by my knees out of the second story of my house and raise my laptop to the sky in order to send my friend an e-mail!”
“Ah mom,” he’ll say, “You’re so old.”
But apparently, that is exactly the case. My delusional idea of what would happen on the first day at Hadley Barrows Inc. included making business cards, contacting everyone I know and creating a glorified to-do-list a.k.a. “master plan.” In actuality, it included eating too fast and driving around like a crazy lady while holding my laptop out the window and looking for a renegade internet signal that 1) didn’t require a password and 2) was faster than, well, nothing.
It also included a stop at the Tea Garden (love that place + internet) and going for a run before cooking my family a delicious dinner. And having the energy to water my new raspberry bushes. All in all, a pretty great first day.
April 26, 2010 § Leave a comment
Despite my initial sheepishness about bringing a rolling suitcase to work on Friday, I was really glad I did. That suitcase, which I naively thought “should do it” only put a small dent in the pile of personal stuff I had accumulated in my cubicle. In all, I ended up with about 47* bags that were stuffed to the gills.
This process of packing up and walking out of the place where I had been employed for the past five years made my chest tight. Goodbye cubicle. Goodbye row. Goodbye floor. Goodbye elevator. Goodbye piano. Goodbye friendly security guy who could never seem to wait to wish me a good evening with an eager little wave.
I drove home in a bit of a panic. I wanted to cry. I wanted to call my boss and renege, beg and bawl until I convinced Target to take me back. “Oh my God!” I thought. “I don’t belong anywhere!”
Luckily, I processed all this by myself in my trusty 1997 Honda Civic named Herkie who carried me along with the same “go-get-it-ness” I can always count on from him. He played me songs he hoped would cheer me up and brought me safely home where I saw this flyer hanging on my door. The flyer– I think is important to note– was four times bigger than my head.**
** not an exaggeration
April 22, 2010 § 1 Comment
365 days. One birthday. One Flag Day. One first day of winter and one last day of spring. I have one of every single day in a year to prove there is a way to have it all.
Tomorrow is the last day before the first day.
Part of me wants tomorrow to last forever. I will know what to do and what to expect. I’ll see all of my friends and know where I stand. I’ll remember my password and know where I’m going. And all of that will be really, really nice.
Of course, another part of me can’t wait to dig in. To try all these things I think might work to see if they do. And see my new life begin to take shape. You gotta admit, that doesn’t sound half bad either.
April 20, 2010 § Leave a comment
Today, right now, I have cold feet. I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to do this. That the idea of working for myself is terrible. That I’ll be lonely and poor and not living up to my potential. That really, I’m not brave, I’m just lazy. That if I work for myself too long, I’ll become frustrated, indifferent and bored. That I’ll accidentally watch daytime TV all day and eat frozen pizza.
Don’t get too worried. This happens quite a bit. It seems like the only remedy for cold feet is to tuck them into bed and hope they warm up over night. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. In either case, I’ve got three days left until I’m officially on my own. If you see me wearing my slippers, don’t ask.