I have a friend named Tami. She is the person on my shoulder that whispers in my ear what to do and what not to do. My conscience. She is actually a real person as well, and actually comes in my office and lets me know when I am being too hard, or soft, but rarely that I am being to soft. So, yeah….I guess I am what you would call a strong leader who needs a soft soul at her side. That is Tami. Why am I bringing this up? Because I wanted to talk about moments that define you and these are moments that you do not have your Tami next to you. When you actually make a decision, good or bad, and they define you. The decision becomes a trademark, or an indelible memory that people will never erase and it will be always etched on you, like a tattoo.
For some it is something that sends them to prison.
For some it is something that wins them a Nobel Peace Prize.
I think we have many of these, and sometimes you have defining moments that erase all of the old feelings, or ideas about you. Think of, perhaps a leader who was racist, until they did some sort of a grand gesture, switched sides, then spend decades working on equality – that person would have had a defining moment and then would always be remembered for the good they did, and perhaps the 20 years prior of hate and pain they caused is erased. Is that fair? I guess that is up to you. These are large scale items. What I am writing about are the small ones.
I am not sure if you ever know when your moment is coming, so the idea is that you live a life based on making good decisions so that you are defined as good. I wish I had that to offer. 44 years of great decisions. Popular choices. Staying on the right side of the tracks. I don’t and I will not even try to kid you about it. I am pretty damned average and have had moments of splendor and moments of weakness. Both are acceptable in my book, and frankly my book is the one I live from. The weak decisions shape me, and the splendorous moments lift others, and perhaps the opinion of others in the process, which I am told we are not supposed to care about. Confusing, right?
I have had many moments. I decided to move to Portland. I married Jason. I decided to switch jobs 4 years ago. I decided to have kids.
Yes, decided because I am infertile and I had to pay a lot of money to have my children. Yes, I am infertile. I am okay saying that. I started trying to have kids when I was 34 and after we went through all of our treatments and achieved pregnancy my Dr told me “we do not like to tell women this, but we are confident that you would never be able to have kids naturally. You made all the right choices so we did not have to address this, but I think you should know for the future.” Did this hurt? Hell no, it justified 50 thousand dollars. (no insurance would cover my treatments) So, cash money was well spent.
So, to sum it up, my moment that defined me was: Choosing to be a mother.
Not everyone’s life changes when they have kids. We get a lot of comments from people about how much time we spend with our kids. I think it is sweet, but I am always surprised, maybe embarrassed. Do we seem obsessed with them? ( yes) Are we over the top with family time? (likely) Do we both run home after work and have all sorts of plans every night for what we will do as a family? (always). But, here is the thing: I am average. But maybe, my moment that defined me was not the same as others, and that is okay.
As I wrap up the year I am humbled by the fact that I was given the opportunity to have a family and children. That my life is easily and clearly laid out in front of me now. That my priorities are all lined out and I do not have to rely on Tami to keep me in line anywhere but at work. I have the rest of my life’s greatest work of art in process. What a privilege to already know what the picture I am painting will be. Now to focus every day on my greatest work, my priority, my moments that define me.
Happy Holidays dear friends. Happy holidays indeed.