My Internal GPS Thought I was going to be Famous
This past week, I attended the Mass Conference for Women in Boston. Promised to be one of the largest networking events for women, 11,000 women deep to be exact, it’s an inspiring estrogen filled forum. Not a fan of driving into Boston, I left at 5:15 for a 7:00 a.m. arrival to beat traffic and allot time for getting lost.
I do that a lot. Get lost, that is. If my GPS was personalized, it would be shouting at me on a daily basis – I said turn, how did you miss that? Turn here, now, now, Jodi – turn now! Instead I get the “rerouting, rerouting” and end up on side streets I had no idea existed in my own city. Thanks to my GPS, I usually don’t have to think about where I’m going. I just go.
At the conference, I felt another sense of loss. The speakers usually discuss their personal stories and how they arrived at their definition of success. There’s a takeaway message about perseverance and sacrifice, along with a suggestion to let go of that which is not useful in one’s life. And there was my rub; what could I let go of? I can (and often do) break out the mini violins and say I can’t fit it all in – I’m out of my house for 10 hours a day, I have a husband and 3 kids, I have chores to do and friends to see and the gym to get to…but I feel grateful to be overwhelmed by such things. Anxious and bitchy some days for sure, but mostly fortunate.
My job doesn’t feel like a chore. I work with people who make my workday fun, which is a good thing, because I’m there for most of my waking day. What has taken a hit since I’ve started working in the corporate world is my writing. I mourn the creative part of myself that got lost on a computer screen for hours, absorbed in an encapsulated world that gave the INFJ in me an adrenaline rush. Today that part, once sparked with light and energy, feels dull and colorless. And I can’t seem to find my way back to center. I have to admit that I wasn’t keen on listening to women who made it when I feel like I tanked.
At one of the breakout sessions, the speaker asked us to turn to the person next to us and disclose something that needed nurturing. I disclosed to my coworker, Stephanie, that I felt like jammed paper in a copy machine when it came to the written word. Which is why I’m writing this blog rather than baking cookies for Christmas. Stephanie dared me to. Challenge accepted.
When I first starting writing, my intention was to be a well-known author, almost famous. Not J.K. Rowling or Stephen King famous, or even Jodi Picoult famous. But renowned enough that my name was recognized and people wanted to read what I wrote, would state that my writing stayed with them, changed them, made a difference. Perhaps that would be true if I actually wrote consistently.
I’m not sure what I’m going to let go of, or if I’m willing to let go of anything. I thought I wanted a job for a paycheck, but turns out I would like a career, and careers take time and energy. I thought I couldn’t write properly if I couldn’t be a full time writer, but I know that’s a flat out lie. What I do know, after being reminded at the Mass Conference for Women, is that I can always reroute when lost. I can make a conscious choice to change my thoughts, shift my focus, and get out of my own way. Unlike my GPS, I may not always know where I’m going, but I can go anyway and trust in the process.
We were asked to choose a daily mantra at the end of the session. Immediately I thought of a quote by Epictetus – “If you wish to be a writer, write.”