My excuse for this years-long break in my career chain is coming to an end. The boy who is chasing dreams on the ski hill will soon be chasing different dreams at college. He doesn’t need me for moral and nutritional support the way he once did (although the financial requirements continue unabated). It is time for me to reclaim my life. I march back to Denver, where I think I might find it.
A former professional, hard-driving (that’s a nice way to say it) attorney, I jump back into the fray of what I used to do. I put myself out there, my resume listing all the great things I have done for past employers in embarrassingly measurable detail. I shore up my self-confidence and submit myself to an interview for essentially the same job I once had. I am in a video-conference site (because that’s what the cool recruiters have you do these days) and look at the image on the screen of the woman who would be my boss and I just don’t. I don’t want it. I don’t care about why she should want me. I see the few-years-ago me in her and I am sad. I do my best to feign interest and enthusiasm, but we both know my heart isn’t in it.
The last half-decade of my life living in the Colorado mountain air has changed me. My heart is different. I am softer, more of a mother, less of a shark. I have volunteered in classrooms, hiked with friends to talk about tough life stuff, given more hugs, been more present. I have ridden my bike over mountain passes and back, breathing in both oxygen-depleted air and God’s beautiful creation. I’ve listened to a lot of country music, along with the boy’s hip hop and (truly awful) gangsta rap. I have been surrounded by people who made choices to be happy with less, live in the moment, enjoy the sunshine and be grateful for fresh snow. I have sat, tears flowing, in a gym where young hearts mourned the loss of a 15 year old boy who had personified life. I have loved more than I have ever loved before. The long-term growth objectives of a corporate non-entity just don’t carry the same level of importance that they once did.
I head to a local organization that works to prepare public high school kids for college. My spirit is bouyed by the hope, fears and futures reflected in their eyes. I answer their questions about what it takes to be an attorney, while secretly praying that they won’t lose themselves in the process. I remind myself that they are not me. Their paths will be unique.
I recognize that I must shift gears to match my new self. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know how to change course in the middle of life like this. Is it doing what I did before but in a different way? Putting this new skin of mine to good use as a more effective me? Is it a new direction altogether? Do I become the book store-lurking, public radio-working person Randy Newman sang about. (If only I could write lyrics like Randy…)
Apparently I just can’t pretend to be the person I once was. Time to put on my big-girl panties and figure it out, because getting back in the same old saddle just doesn’t feel right.