You always have to keep an eye on my dad in open spaces – he reminds me of what my physics professor once said “a body in motion will stay in motion until stopped.” Dad gets very excited and so, if you tell him we’re going one direction, he’ll march off (literally!) in that direction, not noticing that we all may have stopped or turned along the way, until you grab him and point him in yet another direction. It may have a small bit to do with the fact that dad has gotten a little hard of hearing over the years, but mostly that’s just his personality. My sister and I joke that he’s like the Energizer Bunny – he keeps going, and going, and going…until someone or something external stops him.
When it comes to my professional life, I will admit that I have a bit of that one-directional marching tendency – I figure out what I want to be “when I grow up” and then I’m off and running without always paying attention to the road along the way. And apparently I’m not alone. I had dinner with a couple other 30-ish professional ladies this weekend, and our conversation eventually switched from gluten-free diets and the history of slavery in the United States (because we’re nerds like that) to our careers – the careers we each had each marched our way to, only to realize we should have taken a detour some time back.
My sorority sister, Molly, has created a fantastic business for herself coaching twenty-something ladies who were in the middle of a “quarter life crisis” and trying to figure out how to get from A-Z. If I could send a message back to my 21-year old self I would have told her to find a Molly, and take the time to grow into her professional (and total) self – rather than blindly Energizer Bunny it to the first career that sounded good.
People always say “be here now.” Well yes, I am clearly here now – I can’t turn back the hands of time and find my Molly just when I needed her to remind me to pay attention to the path, not just the destination. But then I realized that here and now is just another starting place from which I can keep marching in one direction, or I can start paying attention to the potential detours.