Here, Take My Superpower. I Don’t Need It Anymore.

The journey continues

The journey continues

There is no other way to describe my current phase of life other than to say it is a journey and a transformation.  It’s been less than two months since I left work and yet the distance I have travelled as a person belies that short time span.

In some ways, I feel like a stranger to myself.  I don’t miss work at all.  I mean, not even a little bit.  And it’s not because there weren’t great elements to it- in fact, the role that I had was absolutely the best role I can imagine- exactly what I love to do.  Now, the bloom was off the rose in terms of corporate culture and some crazy dysfunction, but I enjoyed my colleagues and friends.  Further, I have always, not only loved work- but needed it.  It has been a huge part of my identity for YEARS- probably from the time I was 15, I have defined myself as a working woman, a contributor, an earner.  This identity was incredibly important to me and made me feel valued and valuable.

To some degree, these labels meant as much to me as becoming and being a parent.  When our girls were born, I didn’t consider- no, couldn’t consider not working.  I wasn’t  going to be come some “breeder” pumping out kids and coasting on the back of my husband.  I was going to be a mom, a partner, AND a valuable employee- and I was going to make it look easy.  And I think, to a great degree, I “succeeded”.  It was my superpower- doing it all.

Wonder Woman does Rock!

Wonder Woman does Rock!

This is all to say how amazing it is, especially to me, how I’ve shed the desire to maintain this superpower.  Here, have my golden lasso and my indestructible bracelets.  Take my corporate ambition, my need to be recognized for my contribution, my rapid advancement.  I’m just not that into them right now.  I have discovered something wonderful- Slowing Down.  My kids.  Our girls are five years old and on the precipice of entering the next, transformative phase of their lives- the school years, beginning with kindergarten this fall.  And I want to enjoy them before that starts.  I feel like I am love struck anew for these little humans.  I look at our girls and see them growing, truly bursting with energy and promise- throwing off these crazy sparks of humor, intelligence, fearlessness, discovery, joy, and happiness, that are precious in their unfiltered glory.  I simply can’t say how much I am enjoying spending more time with them.

Arm in arm with this discovery, I am growing and improving as a parent.  This time, the last seven weeks spent on more leisurely mornings and afternoon pickups from school, spent at a less hectic pace, have been like an intense workshop- showing me how much opportunity there is for me to grow as a parent.  I am not down on myself- I have been a very good parent and this journey I am on has not made me regret working or being a super hero for the last five years.  Being a super hero is pretty sweet- just ask Wonder Woman or Super Man.  The uniform, the accolades, the big saves and the victories.  But, the plain truth is that it’s exhausting and time is finite.

The sands of time

The sands of time

Time. Is. Finite.  The grains of sand are inexorably slipping down that slender throat and creating a pile of spent seconds, minutes, and days that can’t be retrieved or reused.  That’s been my greatest realization.  I don’t know if it’s the age of our kids, the health crisis that my family weathered in the last few years, approaching 40 (yes, I am still south side of 40!), the death of my mother, books I have been reading, or just having  time when my brain is not completely filled with emails, meetings, work politics, and the hundreds of things I would juggle and balance each day.  I have heard people say, “Buy real estate- it’s the only thing we can’t make more of.”  Well, I say, “Spend your time wisely- what’s gone by can’t be re-spent.”

Now, with a little bit of mental space and time, my fears and preconceived notions about “not working” have evaporated.  Turns out I AM working- on being an awesome parent (not there yet, but I believe!), an awesome spouse, a blogger, a writer, a runner,  a better human being who is more present in my own life.  What a concept- being present enough to connect more deeply with the world around me.  That’s not to say I wasn’t trying before- but remember what HD TV felt like the first time you saw it?  That’s what life feels like- I didn’t know what I was missing before.  And yes, I owe an apology to all the stay-at-home-moms that I have mentally sniffed at for not wanting “it all”.  Guess the laugh was on me.  Though don’t mistake my thoughts to mean that I think “working and mom-ing” aren’t compatible and good together- they are!  It’s much more about the personal journey and listening to what your heart is telling you and not being fearful of where it leads.

Sure- this all seems great and lucky me that I can just skip off into the sunset on our cushion of cash and my new enlightenment.  Not so fast, Skippy.  We are running at a “deficit” as a household and this golden interlude is just that.  I will go back to  “work-work” in the fall (barring finishing my book and its publication) but it will be with a different mindset and a different set of priorities.  I will remain ambitious and driven- that’s who I am, but what will count as “success” has been revised, broadened- some might say “lowered” but I think it’s more accurate to say “shifted.”  I will also go back to work with a heart full of gratitude for this irreplaceable time and for the things that work will give me- challenge, opportunity, and a little change in my pocket.

Zoom zoom!

Zoom zoom!

Once you know how to use a lasso and fly an invisible plane, you don’t forget.

About jenlocati

JENNIE LOCATI started her blog, WYS Words as a way to share her experiences as a professional woman, wife, mother, and irrepressible “do-gooder”. Her diverse life experiences have taken her to Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer, the trading floors of Wall Street, to PATH, and most recently back to Microsoft, where she works in Executive Communications. Jennie shares her many misadventures, occasional insights, and unique perspectives in a voice that is self-deprecating, honest, and authentic. Read more at www.wyswords.com

Posted on May 21, 2013, in Big Ideas. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. kellyunveiled

    jennie i am enjoying reading your blog :). my heart really lit up for you as i read the words “i am love struck anew.” i seriously rejoice for you and the benefits that are coming from all this time for you in this season of SLOWING your pace. your mind. your heart. your schedule. your words. and allowing yourself to grow. really awesome jennie. and i concur that you are a great writer, as i love writing. – kelly cowan

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  2. Jennie – I love this! Treasuring the time we have with our much desired children is oh so important in whatever form it may come.

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  3. Wonderful post!! I always feel that I was very fortunate to have been able to be a stay at home mom with my three children, but my now grown girls that work and have families frown when I say the word “fortunate” They love working, but I would not have traded “staying home” for anythingl Our children are grown and gone so quickly. Enjoy every minute of it while you can.

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  4. Teri Blackmore (from Nairobi!)

    Oh Jennie, how I resonate with this post! (And have I told you are an excellent writer. . .) I too feel I am still Superwoman, but I’m not even close to having it all. Currently I’m a stay-at-home mom who is homeschooling her two kids. When Kai was born I was absolutely, positively certain that I’d never stay home for my children. What a loser that would make me! Gradually, slowly, over years my priorities did a complete 180. Now I’m committed to spending as much time as possible with my kids before they’re gone. Or before I am. Last year I was diagnosed and treated for Stage 3 breast cancer. After throwing everything at it. . .masectomy, chemo, radiation, the kitchen sink I’m in remission. A word, that in my case, means I have a better than average chance of having this pop up somewhere else within a few years. So the words TIME. IS. FINITE. hovers before me in a very real way. And time is finite with your kids no matter what, anyway. You blink and their childhood is gone. I’m grateful that I’ve been doing what I wanted with my life, and I found that getting cancer didn’t change how I want to spend my time. It just confirmed it.

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  5. Leslie LIppi

    awesome

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