Thursday, December 29, 2011

The dots

image via cknara

It's possible that the person who had the greatest influence on my life in 2011 is Steve Jobs, and it has nothing to do with how much I love my iPad or my iPhone (though I love those very, very much). It's because I had paid utterly no attention to him until he died, and then he did, and his words were everywhere, and I kept reading them, and now they rattle in my head like prophecy, like admonition, like a soothsayer reading the stars:


Those all, together. Those. Those carry a lot of responsibility. (And they make me think I should just go buy his biography, already.) Those make me wonder at my life, and how I've always daydreamed along and mostly, that has always worked well.

So you (I) think about those words, and you (I) mull them over, and you (I) wonder if daydreaming along is the best plan, really, or if you (I) should be more prescriptive about this one chance to live. And then Steve said this in a thousand soundbytes from a thousand Stanford commencement reruns:

I've felt something shift this year. Maybe it's because the career I'm in is one I fell into by accident. Maybe it's because it came easily to me, and when things come easily to me I have trouble distinguishing "ease" from "pleasure." Maybe it's because with E leaving our daycare-housed-in-my-work for a kindergarten away from us, my sense of working-mom two-in-one identity faced a geographic schism. And in this past month, when there has been an uproar in nomenclature in our profession, it took me by surprise, leading me to realize that I've never internalized our profession as part of my identity.

That's a strange thing to learn, nine years in.

Or, maybe the core-me was always more separate from the working-me than I'd ever acknowledged.

This is not to say I'm necessarily making any changes; this is just to say that in the past six months I've stopped thinking of my life reflexively in automatic definitions. It's a big shift in mindset. I don't know where the dots are leading me or if now that I see them, they'll take me anywhere different than when I was floating along daydreamingly. But I know that for the first time ever, I'm noticing every dot. I'm wondering where they plan to connect, and how.

2011 will close as the year of dot awareness. And 2012? I don't know. But I'm walking in with eyes wide open.

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