When I was a little girl I was often asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I told everyone who inquired that I wanted to be an astronomer, an archaeologist and a music teacher – all at the same time. From my seven-year-old perspective, I looked forward to the day when I could peer through a telescope at the distant stars, then through a microscope at an ancient fossil, all while playing my violin and piano. Growing up was going to be so much fun! I was absolutely sure of it! I would do all the things I enjoyed most in the world.
Well, now that I’m in my mid-50s, I do gaze at the stars every night, but I didn’t become an astronomer. I’m still fascinated by dinosaurs and fossils, although I never became an archeologist. And I actually play my electric keyboard regularly, even though I didn’t become a music teacher. So why was everyone fussing at me to “become” something when I grew up? So many expectations at such an early age.
I now realize that much of my early life was spent preparing for a future that was ever-moving and ever-changing. The careers we study for when we are 15 may not be relevant when we’re 30. The ideals we hold onto when we are young may change when we grow older. We may simply change our minds about things as we gain more experience – especially about careers.
And, when it comes to careers, I’ve had a few. (Actually, more than a few.)
I modeled, sold Christmas cards door to door, delivered newspapers, babysat, gave violin, organ and piano lessons. And that was all before I was 15. Then I earned money in college by waitressing, typing term papers and doing calligraphy. Once I graduated I held many different office jobs, worked retail, sold crafts, officiated at weddings, became an investment advisor and life insurance salesperson, worked in the auto industry and as an executive at a NY bank. After leaving the corporate world behind, I became a motivational speaker, blogger, and full-time author. I’m sure I left out a few careers, but you get the gist. I’ve done a little (or a lot) of many different things. I invented and reinvented myself umpteen times. Each career was perfect for the time I had it and I’m rather proud of the great variety of tasks I’ve learned through the process.
But now I’ve come to a crossroads. I’ve arrived at that wonderful place that has left me wondering. Do I reinvent myself one more time? Do I look for the next awesome career path, learn the next great marketing strategy, prepare for another degree or title? Or… or… or… do I simply uninvent myself this time? Instead of searching OUT THERE in the world, what if I reach IN HERE and uninvent this identity I’ve created? What if I let go of that long list of accomplishments and just. get. quiet?
(This is where I put a look of ponder on my face, tap my chin with a pen, eyes gaze up at the ceiling with a slight grin on my lips. Think of the possibility. What if I just. get. quiet? Hmmmmm…)
One of the careers I envisioned for myself when I was young was becoming a writer. I didn’t announce that as often when asked about my aspirations because my Dad said I probably wouldn’t make any money doing it. But, writing has woven a continual thread throughout my life. From journals, to poems, to articles, to books, I crave writing. Regardless of all the moves, relationships, career changes, curves in the road, bumps and bruises, I always found comfort in a simple pen and scrap of paper. I am certain these will be the tools I use as I uninvent myself. I can go more deeply inside with my writing than with any other “career” I’ve ever had.
Since this is all new to me, I’m not sure exactly sure how to go about this uninvention process. But, I know I’ll start with letting go of several of the things that have become habits in my everyday life. I will minimize my social media time, deactivate my FaceBook account, curtail exposure to news events and spend far less time on the computer. Then I will recommit myself to the things dearest to me. I’ll spend more time with family, friends, pets and nature. I will go back to my music, crochet more afghans, compose silly songs, write, cook and take long walks. I’ll read more books, sew a new pocketbook and create a new scrumptious vegan recipe as I look to the stars and analyze a fossil. In short, I will disassemble the long and complicated history I’ve created and rebuild on my earliest foundations with the simplest materials. And I’ll infuse it all with love, kindness, compassion and child-like wonder.
As the mood moves me, I will write about this journey. I’ll blog about my ongoing uninvention and simplification process. You are most welcome to follow along on my website KatrinaMayer.com. Or you can simply trust that we will all reconnect joyfully in the perfect place at the perfect time.
Just writing about this makes me feel like a little kid again. I have a wee bit of apprehension, but overall I feel super excited and plain ole happy. It’s like I’ve had a giggle stuck deep inside my belly and it’s getting ready to bust out and explode with laughter into the world.
So, what do I want to be when I grow up? I simply want to be me.
May 2017 bring you simple joy and unbridled happiness!