Celebrating Independence

On this beautiful day, July 4th 2017, I am taking a few minutes to reflect on the steps I have recently taken towards independence of a different sort…


About 2 months ago, my co-workers and I were laid off due to losing our grant funding. It was not completely unexpected, but it still left each of us scrambling to deal with things in different ways. These ways were generally determined by where each of us was in our decades of life. We were all female, but we ranged in ages from our mid 20s to early 50s. Some of us were married or divorced, others were single; some of us had children, but they were between 5 and 20 years old.

One of the youngest of my colleagues, still in her 20s, had the greatest mobility. With nothing holding her down, she packed up and moved to another city before she even had a job lined up. She was fortunate enough that her parents were able to provide some transitional support.
The members in their 30s and 40s were at different stages described above- which determined how quickly they were willing to find new employment. These decisions were largely driven by the need to afford child care and health insurance for their families.
I was one of the oldest employees and was in a unique situation. My husband had retired a few years previously and my kids were almost full-blown adults. While it was convenient that my job had provided health insurance for all of us, it was not a deal breaker to finding my own path.
I did look at a few job possibilities, but I have long had the idea in the back of my mind of forming my own business. Well- what better reason than to give it try- here and now- than due to this upset to my career path? Thus, within a few weeks I filed paperwork for my own company, attended networking events and developed a business plan. In the next few weeks I hope to start contacting clients and setting up programs for this fall.
It may not go as smoothly as it sounds, but I am prepared for the challenges. Besides, knowing that this is completely self-driven and that I have the independence to make my own decisions, is both exciting and liberating!
I may not have had the confidence nor the time and means to do this when I was in my 30s. Now, however, I am ready to take the risks without knowing what the rewards will be. In my mind, it would be more regrettable to have never tried than to have failed. My new-found independence will not be an uphill battle; it will be an adventure!

To borrow from Brainy Quotes “Quote of the Day”

Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be.
Daniel J. Boorstin



Fall is in the Air

Ahh! The crisp feeling on a bright blue morning, I breathe in the dew-filled air. The canopy of trees is starting to show off some bold shades of color: orange,yellow and hints of red. The once full green boughs now gallantly wave their brilliant banners at the cooler, shorter days- perhaps showing that the challenge of survival has only brought out the best in them. I have worked hard in my garden all summer, but now things are winding down. I still have tall, spiny brussels sprouts, massive oblong pumpkins and dazzling shades of swiss chard. Only a few tomatoes remain, as well as the lingering red raspberries- most of which have already been turned into jam.  This is the time of year to sit back and enjoy all that has been accomplished. I also try to reflect on what mistakes I made (planting flowers in the wrong place because I thought they would be shorter) and what I can improve on for next season (adding more late-blooming varieties).

Do you notice how similar the cycle of the plants and trees is to real life? We must all go through times where we look at ourselves and assess what we have accomplished, what we regret or set new goals. Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday for soul-searching, repentance and starting anew. My family does not observe this strictly, but we often spend the day hiking to the top of a mountain. The challenge of climbing over rocks and fallen sticks, ascending and descending only to have another ridge ahead, gives us time to clear our minds. By the time we reach the summit, we are exhausted. Our reward is the breath-taking views of the colorful valley below. This intense connection with nature helps us to find humility and a fresh perspective on life.

 Like the changing trees, we can adapt to whatever challenges life brings us. We can find a way to bring out the best in ourselves. We can forgive whatever wrongs have been done to us or turn a bad situation into a better one. And we can push ourselves to take just one more step towards our goal, even when it seems impossible. Sure, the trees eventually lose their leaves and go into a dormant stage; but even in the depths of winter, they have buds on their branches, just waiting to be kissed by the warmth of spring. We could learn to be patient and nurture our goals or principles if we took our cues from the trees.