“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” – Walt Whitman
I have been working most of my adult life. We were pioneers, going out into the workforce, not because there were no men here to do the work, think WWII, but because we felt like we had something to offer. We also had dreams of having careers. We wanted to be attorneys and professors and engineers and teachers and doctors and scientists and painters and weavers and sculptors .We were a generation of women who wanted to find our work – whatever that was.
My first job was at a drug store, in 1971, I was 16 and worked as a cashier. My working career has spanned four decades and included work as a Fiscal Director, Teacher, Development Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, and Assistant to a VP. I’ve sold Tupperware and Avon and run my own transcription company too, and all of these things don’t even include my volunteer work. Yes, I’ve had a lot of jobs, but I have been working for 4 decades! I have done a lot of things, as the poet says: “I contain multitudes.”
When I contemplate what I want to do for the next ten, maybe even fifteen years, I know that I want freedom. I know that I want to make a difference. I know that I want to be creative. So I plan for my sea change – the one that will take me beyond the 9-5 and into something that will sustain me, when going out in a snow storm is something I’d rather not do. I search for something that will give me creative energy.
We live in a time of opportunity. There are so many ways to be fulfilled in our 60s and 70s and maybe even beyond that if we are willing to put in the work and search for the right thing. My inspiration is my great aunt who dressed antique dolls to help supplement her income. She lived in a lovely little house, full of dolls houses and dolls, and fabric and buttons. She knew people from all over the country, because she was one of the best doll dressers around. They sent her their precious dolls from childhood, or ones they had collected and she dressed them, put new wigs on them and made them look like new. The work kept her vibrant and engaged well into her late 80s. When she passed away, there were still dolls waiting to be dressed. It was work that she could always do – even though she was plagued by an inner ear problem that gave her terrific vertigo. This is what I want for myself – fulfilling work till the end of my life, not vertigo.
I am currently working full-time in an office, but I dream of writing, working on my little plot of land, growing and selling herbs and flowers and vegetables, creating fiber art projects, and living a more free creative life. Remember, Martin Luther King had a dream, not a plan. Dream big dreams.