My Speckled Notebook

My favorite place to journal when I was a teenager was my black and white speckled notebook. The smooth laminated cover, the thick white thread cutting the book in half, the dull black tape serving as a spine. It was a companion.  A private space to experience Life through words.

The world has changed dramatically since I was a teenager twenty years ago.  Private thoughts splash through LAN lines, across wireless networks, into living rooms and bedrooms, all in an instant.  We share who we are – sarcastic, introspective, sensitive, vitriolic – through words, sometimes typed carefully but often typed hurriedly, a momentary flash of emotion etched permanently in bits and bytes on server boxes that hum and click in protected solitude.  In this world, now, more than ever, words matter.  They are a record of who we are.  A record of who we become.  They provide a transcription of the journey we take as human beings, as mothers, fathers, children, and as neighbors.

As for my journey, I now stand at a nexus of my own making. I can pivot in many directions, and for the first time in a long time I feel a sense of profound choice.

For eight years I slogged it out at a consulting firm.  Most of my time was spent on PowerPoint decks, Excel spreadsheets, emails, client calls, team meetings, or some form of travel.  The frenzy of life had a cache to it; I was important, critical to the team’s success.  I stayed in five star hotels, traveled in business class, and was on call with high tech devices that I checked, by habit, seven days a week.  My mind was always at the office, always thinking about the next sale, the next project, the peers I had to out-compete.  Fifty plus hour weeks were considered light while eighty hour weeks were unspoken quarterly mandates given the ebb and flow of the work, the constraints of an understaffed team, and the expectations for yearly compensation bumps.  Go, go, go.  Don’t stop. The Job is Life.  Life is the Job.

Then I had kids.

I took on new jobs – mother, nanny, cook, laundress, healer, advocate.  New priorities surfaced. Health, schooling, community, personal growth of toddlers becoming conscious of their world and demanding explanations, insights, knowledge; every day I juggled these priorities, none more important than the other, yet all co-dependent, all critical.  I stretched in different directions, reached for new meaning in the face of observations posited by children who were awakening to a world with no Before, no Later, only Now.  My life demanded a change.

So I quit.

I wrote my first and, until now, only blog post about quitting my career in consulting a few weeks ago.  My friend Patricia, the writer behind, invited me to write about transitioning from working mom to stay at home mom.  I was surprised at how cathartic it felt.  Putting words to my feelings gave me the same sense of satisfaction that my black and white speckled notebook gave me so many years ago.  Words are gems that can sparkle off the page if we take the time and care to nurture them.  They can help us define ourselves to others.  They can help us come to terms with our own lives; who we are and who we want to be.  So now the journey continues, one word at a time.

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