Eight years ago, I began to unfurl a new direction of my work story. In the spring of 2006, I returned to my full-time job as an editor, writer, and web content manager after my daughter, Ruby, was born. My husband—Fred—and I had a plan for me to shift to freelancing within a year. But for the next few months, I cried every day when we dropped our sweet girl off at daycare.
That year was a particularly challenging one, during which we weathered parenting a newborn, the death of my beloved dad after a long illness, and massive uncertainty in my workplace, among other stressful events. Then one day that fall, eight years ago this week, my vice president informed me that I was being laid off. The news initially made me feel sick, but as we drove home from work that evening, I said to Fred, “I am on fire with possibility!”
I won’t lie: the demands of being at home with an infant, then toddler, then older child dimmed some of that fire. When Ruby was a preschooler and still napping, however, I had weeks when I worked more hours on editing and writing projects than I had as a full-time employee. Then she started kindergarten at the public school across the street, but it turned out to be the wrong fit for her. We explored other options and decided that homeschooling would be the best option for our family.
Ruby is now in what she calls “not entirely third grade” and thriving. While I won’t be working full-time again anytime soon, my fire has returned. In some strange way, I feel like months of rest and reflection—courtesy of a series of health issues—have re-ignited my fire. I have also been fueled by observing smart people working in exciting ways to bring their best work forward.
Once again, I am on fire with possibility, particularly the possibility of story. Sharing stories is what connects us and lets our work serve the world. Tomorrow morning, I leave on a special journey—one that seemed impossible until I asked for help and family, friends, and even strangers offered it. I am traveling to Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb Camp and look forward to making connections there. I know those connections will lead me to more stories.
I look forward to sharing my stories, and helping you unfurl yours.
[My very first blog post, on November 5, 2014]