For the past 20 years, well-meaning friends, mentors and more have recommended that I start yoga. Anyone that doesn’t know me might not know how both appropriate and unlikely that suggestion is. Yoga is all about slowing down and experiencing inner-calm. I am always on the go. Never stopping. Even in my dreams I am on the run. Literally.
I have avoided yoga and suggestions of anything “slow” for my entire adult life. Until last week. I did not realize just how burnt I was until I spent the better part of two days sleeping. I didn’t realize how badly I just needed to “be” for a while until I sat on a rock out on the beach, listening to the booming of the waves crashing on the shore. Until I watched a sunset with no purpose other than to enjoy it.
I had the opportunity last week, before vacation, to attend the senior project presentations for the University of New Hampshire’s business school. One of the presenters was a former intern of mine and I had promised him I would attend. He kept thanking me for taking the time and I kept trying to explain that it was important for me to go.
Years ago, when it was my college capstone project, I still remember my Colonel walking down the aisle of the auditorium in his uniform. I was so proud that I was the one he had come to represent and terrified that I’d let him down. I wasn’t presenting that day to anyone but him and my father, who had also come to support me. The bar couldn’t be higher – the professors couldn’t expect more from me than they would.
When it was time for me to do the same for my intern, I tried to do it right. I left work early, even though it was right before vacation, to make sure I could attend the luncheon the school had planned. I could have just shown up for his presentation, but instead, I participated in all the festivities.
I even gave him a package before we left with some books inside. One in particular made him laugh. “Dr Seuss?!?!” “Yes. It was the same book given to me when I left the Marine Corps.” “Oh” No more laughs after that. He immediately understood the significance.
Every day, I am someone’s wife, mother, warden, chauffeur, cook, friend, mentor and more.
There is a time to be just me. There must. It is not often – I frequently forget in my quest to be all things to everyone. Even “relaxing,” I am a photographer, an author, a hiker, a traveler. Always something.
This week, my husband insisted that I take time for myself. I went to a national park to photograph with friends. I have been away from photography for several months, my former passion reduced to a passing interest
I was on the fence on whether or not I should go – why spend my vacation time doing something that no longer brought me joy? With my husband’s push and the desire to spend time with friends I would likely only see on a trip focused on photography (which is how I met them to begin with), I forced my way out of the house.
Since my early days, developing and practicing the skills of my profession, I have been interested in three things – learning, doing and sharing. For the last few years, I have been focused on photography as my creative outlet. I had been working in the same area for a while and needed to challenge myself. Photography allowed me to spend time with my family – driving them nuts photographing them – and develop a new passion. I could regularly learn (new methods and techniques), do (photo workshops, gallery shows, and studio sessions), and share (teaching and blogging)
My day job recently changed, offering me an opportunity to redirect my passion to work and pull back on my outside hobbies. I spend my days learning and doing anew. Yet, I know to keep balance in my personal and professional life, I must be sharing as well. I have been writing for years – as a mother (journaling), as a photographer (blogging), author (my first book) and as a project manager (endless deliverables of varying type and purpose).
While I have continuously tried to find ways to share what I know with others, I wanted to create a consistent forum as my life and work changes over time. As a Marine Corps brat, I have embraced and celebrated change for many decades…with an underlying need for consistency where I can find or create it. As a wife and mother, with a lively 4 year old, creating consistency has been even more important in the last few years. This is a place to develop consistency in sharing. Sharing what I know with you, my readers, about life, leadership, management and motherhood…all of us doing our best to balance and keep it all together.
I encourage you to comment on posts – sharing your own stories and experience. Link back to your own sites, articles and posts. This is a place where we can learn from one another and maybe save someone else a little time scaling a learning curve or a headache that they’d otherwise experience. Hell, if nothing else, we can commiserate!
Thank you for coming along on this journey.