I wouldn’t be who I am today, if it weren’t for each and every experience in my life; and I wouldn’t change a thing including what I used to consider “difficult” experiences and many still would.
In fact, I look at life as a series of experiences which give me the opportunity to learn something new for myself and/or to act as a “backdrop” for someone else to do the same, if they so choose. Since about 2014 or so, I’ve come to discover that as long as I have any response beyond a neutral, observational viewpoint, the experience in front of me is merely a roadmap for ME … laying out what I have the opportunity to internally shift.
Not everyone will agree with this viewpoint; and that’s perfectly fine with me. Those who do, are likely the ones who will be drawn to interacting with me, personally, professionally, or both. I tend to not live life from a “story” anymore; but I still share as often people find that they can relate to some experience, which puts them more at ease.
Generally I have found that I relate to people from all walks of life, as many from various walks of life find themselves drawn to me, and feel comfortable in sharing their own experiences. For decades I’ve joked that I’m the one the bartenders and cab drivers share their life stories with. Besides “relatability” being an innate characteristic I have; I’m sure this has to do with the wide range of experiences I’ve had:
- MOST IMPORTANT to me now: I know what it feels like to learn to experience the joys and lightness of life, in spite of social conditioning which tends to put a heavy focus on the negative aspects of life … Today, I allow myself to be happy in life and grateful for all life has to offer
- I know what it feels like to feel utterly, absolutely, and totally powerless .. not knowing if I’ll be alive let alone able to move beyond merely existing
- I know what it feels like to long to belong, to be needed, to know that I matter only because of something or someone external to me; to today, I have no doubts of my own “value” as I have come to recognize, know, and fully love myself
- I was in seemingly near-perfect health at the age of 29 training for the Chicago Marathon when my life changed course by being impacted by a (then and still) little-known auto-immune disease called CFS/CFIDS/ME; at that time, I couldn’t even carry a single bag of groceries without help
- I’ve spent the bulk of my life listening to others; and nowadays have a clear sense of my own inner guidance, gut feelings, “hunches”, intuition
- I spent most of the 80s working for a top ten ad agency, on two of the top five brands in the world (at the time) as well as I’ve helped small sole proprietorships get their bearings, and many size companies in-between
- I know what it is to lose someone close to you as my (younger) brother, Jerry, Jr., died at the age of 27 in an accident in San Francisco where he lived
- After college, I entered the workforce in the era in which women were just starting to come into more executive roles in the business world; I was the first woman on the Marlboro account and only the second woman on the Phillip Morris advertising account … so I heard a lot of “honey” and “sweetie” comments as well as experienced the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle discrimination of the times
- Even though I had a strong role model in my mom of her being in business (real estate and investing) my entire childhood as well as many of our (female) family friends working with mom, there was still an expectation that I would only be happy once I got married: which I eventually did when I was 35 ….. and I only found happiness by finding myself which happened when I was around 54
- I’ve lived in various geographical areas of the country from Northern California (now known as Silicon Valley) to Chicago to Key West to Northern Florida (which is really like living in southern Georgia); and I’ve been in all states except Idaho and Montana, plus visited Canada, Mexico, various Caribbean countries as well as various European countries in a number of trips
- I had an untrained, three-octave voice when I was young which I ruined from screaming as a cheerleader in 7th and 8th grades .. and it’s never stopped my love of singing, even if not all around me enjoy it
- For years, I traveled first-class, staying at The Plaza and Grand Hyatt hotels in NYC where I was known when I walked in the doors to in other situations feeling almost invisible in life ….. today, I’m pleased with who I am
- I spent so much of my life searching for “inner peace” to find that it came to me when I was least expecting it
- I kept myself so busy, and so active; likely to never have enough time and energy to really just “be” and enjoy life … nowadays, I find joy in the smallest things and enjoy long bouts of quiet
- I was known at the ad agency for my excellent executional skills; today, I have maintained those as well as developed an uncanny and intuitive strategic sense, seeing beyond what many might not even think of
- I have absolutely no problem sharing my own “flaws”, and usually I’m laughing at them
I’ve spent so much of my life being what others wanted, what society seemed to want, trying to find into some box; yet knowing that I was destined to fly … I NEVER ever ever plan to be in that position again. How? By a total and complete commitment to myself … learning how to identify my own inner guidance, inner wisdom, intuition, whatever you want to call it. More importantly is that I learned to take action on this guidance; it was a gift from my father (the staunch Catholic) the year he died.
Some people have heard that saying about listening to the “still, small voice”. Ummm … ROTFL, my voice has often been not-so-still and not-so-small, when I refused to pay attention. When that failed, usually some big thing happened to get my attention. It worked. Blessedly, nowadays, that has to happen rarely.
For me, it’s so much more enjoyable, and way more fun to listen to myself … and act on it.