I was born in a small town in upstate New York into a perfectly normal family. I went to school, played outside with my friends, read a lot, played sports. At age ten, I decided I was going to be a lawyer. Seriously. Age ten. I had read a lot of books by age ten, and imagined a lot of things and places, and decided I wanted to do and see everything – and realized that everything was not located in a small town in upstate New York. So I figured I would have to get educated and leave. So I did.
I went to The George Washington University, studied philosophy, and worked my way through school as a mail room manager at a small health care trade association representing managed care companies. After graduation, I moved out of the mail-room and into a job as a research analyst doing policy work – work I continued at that and a subsequent organization for about five years. And then one day I realized that this was not what I wanted to do forever, and that it was time to realize my ten-year old self’s dream and go to law school.
I picked up and left Washington for Chicago and Northwestern University School of Law. I managed to survive law school, despite the fact that on move-in-day I had to leave half of my belongings in an alley next to my new apartment because it was roughly the size of a broom closet AND despite the fact that I was pickpocketed on the El on my first day in Chicago and lost my wallet and identification. So blah blah blah law school, bar exams (yes, plural – two states, shudder) and a job at a law firm in Philadelphia.
As a lowly Associate in a law firm you do grunt work in the most absolute sense of the term. Even if you have years of experience in the field in which you are now working. And you learn very early on that it barely matters how you work, only how much. And by how much I of course mean how much is billable. Needless to say this was not the world for me, and after just over a year, I started looking for a new job. Enter Pharmaceuticals (cue angelic choir music here).
At first it seemed like a dream come true – a job in health policy in suburban Philadelphia that promised high pay, regular hours, travel, and a foray into Corporate America with all its attendant perks. Hooray, she said. So I took the job and became a Director in a Very Large Company. At first it was great – I loved the position, the responsibility, the office, the pay, the prestige, the travel, everything. Then my boss (an amazing woman) retired. Then her boss (another amazing woman) retired. Then I learned exactly how much interference those two women had run for me and exactly how much I did not fit into the mold of a Corporate American. So blah, blah, blah bored and frustrated more than I ever dreamed possible, I found myself at a crossroads and took a sabbatical for a month. And that time off started me thinking…
When I returned to work, I knew that I could not stay there much longer. I realized that I did not really enjoy very much of what I was doing anymore. While I was thinking, a momentous event occurred – the company announced that it was being acquired. Hooray indeed, she said! After some brief, back-of-the-envelope math, I realized this was a golden opportunity to decide what I wanted to do next based not only on money, but on what I actually wanted to do next. And so The Plan formed – I would try my hand at being a Writer. And blah blah blah many months of meetings and agonizingly slow corporate movement and I was able to put The Plan into motion – I moved back to the town of my birth.
I was surprisingly stressed out after my corporate years. So when I moved back “home”, it took me a longer time than I had anticipated to turn back into a normal human being. In that time I got to be a real daughter, aunt and best friend for the first time in nearly twenty years – and I loved it. I loved it so much, in fact, that a year passed with nary a written word crossing the page.
Eek, she said.
So after realizing that it had in fact been a full year without anything productive, and being startled at how shockingly quickly entropy had set in, I started to get the teensiest bit nervous. I was getting tired of people politely asking how the book was coming along, and having to equally politely respond that it was not. I was also getting tired of doing nothing productive. So blah blah blah, where to go and what to do?
Well, fortunately for me, out-of-the-blue change hit me like a mack truck. I fell in love (stereotype much, but I do not care) with someone amazing who is probably the most diligent and focused person I have ever known. And suddenly things looked different – in the best possible way. When I said “maybe I will write today,” he would say “great, then we can develop a blog so other people can see what you do.” When I said “I don’t feel like writing today, wahhhh,” he would remind me that this was my Plan and my Idea all along and that maybe if I started, I would be surprised at how much I would want to finish. And he was right.
So here we are scant months later – I have a blog, a website, several stories in the works, and even more ideas than ever before. I write at least three blog posts a week and work on the stories, and while nothing is done yet, that is still miles ahead of where I was six months ago. I don’t know where exactly the writing thing will go, but it sure is taking me on one hell of a ride…