It has been ten years since I have worn a suit every day, made a commute, sat in an office, and proclaimed I only worked for "so and so company."
The weather here in this part of St. Louis has been a bit precarious and asthma has decided to win the battle today. That meant I had more time on my hands to breathe and think and it struck me that today is May 8th.
It is significant because it is my aunt's birthday, two days after my birthday, and exactly ten years after I picked up my purse and walked out of my corporate job and into my destiny.
In these ten years I have helped open a high end retail store and work with great designers, I've been writing and performing my poetry, I taught students at two universities, led a team in helping kids walk over the summer bridge instead of succumbing to the academic slide, I've watched my daughter journey from quarterly surgeries to remission, helped guide my son to his educational destiny, been a military mom of a son who served a tour of duty, was promoted to Petty Officer, and is back in the states. I've moved from one city to another, I've traveled, met great people, sat on boards of directors, ran for public office. I was invited to an invitation only PhD conference and have outlined my doctoral research topic. My brand is registered, my business was started and I worked on some interesting projects. I'm renewing my love of learning through Coursera and have had the opportunity to journey with a young woman to the publication of her first book. I've lost also in these years, someone dear to me, but I've also gained the birth of my daughter and celebrated weddings and the birth of three phenomenal women into my family clan. I've attended plays, recitals, and listened to more squeaky violin strings and pluky guitar chords. I campaigned for history changing, been interviewed, performed a spoken narrative, and gave a great speech at The Ethical Society. I've seen the Gulf of Mexico and sipped some wonderful lattes.
In these ten years, I've lived a full life that may not have been possible had I not had the courage to say that I am worth more than what was coming to me. My life has more meaning than something put on the shelf that honestly, when I take my last breath, no one will remember. It has allowed me to redefine success and to know what is important to me. I've taken on projects and risks I wouldn't never done before had I remained in that midwestern company.
Ten years can change a lifetime. It certainly did for me and when I stop to look back at it all, I wouldn't change a thing about that day I walked out. I felt an enormous burden of shackles lifted off my shoulders and while I sometimes miss the guaranteed fat paycheck, what I have gained in the interim is priceless.