Sunday, December 29, 2013

Leaning in

I haven't read Sheryl Sandberg's book and have no plans to do so, but I followed its associated kerfuffle with interest this year. As a woman who never planned not to work, I don't identify with most of the implied ubiquitous feminine struggle along the path to career establishment. I don't often identify with movements, though; as I usually prefer to figure things out on my own. Often that means I make my life unnecessarily complicated, as I could have instead just gleaned a knowledge already otherwise collectively learned, but "to thine own self be true," and I trust myself better than anyone (aside from the lovely husband, but we do not do similar work at all).

Sometimes I think my brain typifies a canvas of outsider art. I haven't hit all the known landmarks of common knowledge. So I reach my own conclusions. Sometimes it means I have a quirky point of view and sometimes it means I think exactly the same thing as you, but I got there along a different path. I read everything, collect stories, pull points from far apart together on the head of a pin. I've always known my brain was a little different. I'm not often quick to form an opinion but I'll wake up a day later with one fully formed and ready for presentation. I know it's why I'm good at storytelling. I connect the dots in a way that's not like yours. (I've long loved and reread this first paragraph in description.)

So I turned 37 years old earlier this week. It was lovely, thank you. I'm excited about 37. I've been thinking about Leaning In, not necessarily in whatever way Sheryl means, but that I can see this year might bring broad new opportunities, and they might be wild and not apparently a perfect fit, but I will draw on my continuing self-assurance at dot-connecting. Even if I don't look like the mold you might expect to get the thing done, one thing I've learned in owning my adulthood is I can do things. You might not know I can do them, but I can. I have talents that don't have easy label names. They might live best in intuition and reception and slow burning big picture shaping. They are solid and sturdy.

I don't have bullet points. But I have confidence without hubris; a son who's out of pull-ups and almost out of naps; girls who have found their way in school; a lovely, lovely husband champion; and the dawning of a new calendar year in which anything can happen.

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