Tonight I joined my fellow bloggers from the Silicon Valley Moms Blog to hear Maria Shriver talk about her new book Just Who Will You Be? First of all, she’s gorgeous. No seriously, I spent half the time wondering how she gets her hair to be all wavy and curly and full of omph. I spend a lot of time, effort, and money on terrible hair products trying to get my hair to look just like hers. But whatever, that is so besides the point.
She was more than just gorgeous, she was also incredibly inspiring. She radiates self assurance and poise. She was funny and articulate. She was quoting poetry and talking about the books she’s written and she made me want to read more and write more and help her save the world. Luckily right now that just means buying and eating ice cream. Right up my alley. (Heck, you should come hang out with me in the alley, that was some good ice cream.)
So there we all were, in a cozy new bookshop, eating insanely yummy ice cream (Oh, shush, it was a really long day and I hadn’t had any dinner.) listening to Maria tell us about how she found herself trying to figure out what she was going to do now that her husband’s new career had pretty much blown her own career out of the water. As she put it her “little jewel” of a book was born out of pain. She thought that she was writing a book geared towards high schoolers trying to figure out their life path and then she discovered that people from all walks of life were coming out of the woodwork to tell her that her book had helped them figure out what they were doing with their lives. And I keep nodding and nodding, because I’m in that very spot myself. And even though I’m truly not a believer, I couldn’t help but marvel at the perfect timing of this book reading. (Maybe, just maybe I’d be more of a believer if I didn’t work in a synagogue. As backwards as that might sound, sometimes too much of something just turns you off. I bet the people who work at Hersey don’t eat a heck of a lot of chocolate.) Sometimes you just get to be in the right place at the exact right time and you hear exactly what you needed to hear.
At the end of her talk Maria quoted two poems by Mary Oliver: The Journey and The Summer Day. Both poems, each in their own way, are about being true to yourself and doing what you need to do to live the life you are meant to live. What she said resonated even more with me than anything else she’d said before: “Putting my one wild and precious life at the end of the line is no longer acceptable.” It’s all fine to want to do what’s best for our spouses and our families. It’s great that we want to care for others, but it’s not OK to do it at all costs. One doesn’t need to exist at the expense of the other.
M and I have been talking for weeks now about what’s next for me. Five years ago I accepted a job as an administrative assistant because I truly couldn’t find anything in advertising; my chosen field. It was supposed to be a temporary stop gap measure that would keep us afloat until we found our dream jobs or at least until the economy picked up. I never left. M went to law school and became the stellar lawyer that he is today. We had two kids. And still I’m there, doing what I was doing five years ago. Until this year that was just fine, but now I want more; I want to write, I want to be there for my kids when they need me, I want to take care of my home, I want to take care of my family.
I’m done spending my days waiting for the clock to strike 5. I’m done wasting my time doing things I don’t really believe in any more. From 9:30-5 I don’t live, I exist, and it’s time for that to stop. Shh, don’t tell anyone yet, but this week I’m giving notice at work. In a month I’m turning pro; I’ll officially be
unemployed a freelance writer. By an incredible stroke of good fortune I’ve managed to stumble into my first real writing gig. It’s nothing huge, but it’s enough to make me feel like I’m not completely insane. And with luck more work will come along sooner rather than later. But even if nothing does pan out and in six months I need to pack up my computer and go find a “real” job, it doesn’t matter, I will have tried to do this one thing that is so very important to me. I’ll still be truly living my “one wild and precious life.”
So “tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”