What if I change course to pursue a lifestyle of fun, learning and writing?
Since moving to Baltimore last fall, I spent time just being, what I always craved when I had communications jobs where I had prestige yet no time to simply be. I’d be lying if I said these have been carefree months of lollygagging and leisure. The hamster wheel of “what am I going to do to earn my keep” spins relentlessly…
Perhaps it is the lifetime of necessity looking for the ‘next big thing’ to conquer that keeps my wheel spinning, pushing myself professionally beyond my comfort zone. In this new city, where I have no network of professionals who know my accomplishments, I am measured by credentials. Sure, my resume and portfolio are packed to the brim with impressive jobs, accomplishments and community service. Yet my associate degree automatically boots me out from most jobs—I never get the chance to compete because the technology screens against bachelor’s academic criteria. I seriously pondered going back to college, plunking down $25,000+ to earn the right to apply through technology.
And then one day, after watching a great pie-making tutorial on Curious.com from Joyce Maynard, author of “Labor Day,” I had an epiphany. She declared rules absent when crafting pie and I felt myself get happy. I too learned pie making from my mom Joyce when she was dying from cancer. I picked the apples off our tree in the backyard, worm-holed and black-spotted, and watched Mom curl the skin with a paring knife with decades of practiced skill. We sat in our warm, sunny kitchen talking about how much water to include and the secret ingredient vinegar to make the flaky crust. Mom taught me not to over think, to trust my hands on how much to handle the crust. How to roll it out, to lift the bottom crust into the plate by folding it in half then quarters. Cover the crust rim with tinfoil to prevent overbrowning, bake on high for 15 minutes, then, turn down the oven for 30 or so minutes. The two Joyce’s agree that rather than the timer, trust your nose. You’ll know by the smell that it’s done.
Anyone who has ever made a pie, especially in a precious moment like that, knows it’s a metaphor for how to live life. No need to make a perfect crust, in fact, the wrinkles and rips make it better somehow. Sometimes your crust will be soggy—sometimes perfect. It can burn if you run your oven too hot (candles at both ends?) and be undercooked if you don’t give it the time it needs. Above all, you don’t need to measure every ingredient to exacting detail—just come close. A pie made with joy is delicious when it’s baked with love.
So, I decided I don’t need to go back to school, a route still measuring myself against someone else’s standards. Making my way into the world of marcom here feels like picking up a tiresome yoke. Moving to Baltimore is a second chance. It’s time to let go of the perfection seeking mentality that served me well in business, but not necessarily in life. To reinvent using my talent and skills in a way that pleases me. I’m going for a fun, flexible job in the short-term that lights me up that uses my expertise AND contributes to my community.
Time to love this life where we are happy together, exploring and connecting with our new burg, discovering the trails my wiser self whispers to follow…as I write funny and poignant words people may want to read because it connects them to their own joy.
And, of course, to keep making pie.