“What moves the needle is starting, practicing, making lots of mistakes, learning better strategies, etc. And if we see you up there wiggling around enough times, someone will eventually offer you some help.”
This fall will mark the five year anniversary of launching this blog. I’m often asked why I started Lunch With A Girlfriend. Reflecting back on where I was at this time in 2017, I remember a feeling of restlessness. It was nine years since I’d left my full time job as a Congressional aide to become a full-time stay at home mom. I never looked back on leaving work outside the home — it always felt like the right decision for me. But, for the first time I was beginning to feel a little antsy. I hadn’t yet identified the source of my restlessness but it was there — laying just beneath the surface. I was uncomfortable in my own skin but I couldn’t put my finger on why.
A few months prior my youngest started Kindergarten. My kids were finally in school all day. Oh, how I anticipated the arrival of this moment of freedom! For so long it seemed just out of reach. While I initially cherished having some real time to myself for the first time in over a decade, I couldn’t brush aside the feeling of emptiness that was growing inside of me. I chalked it up to the feeling all moms have when their little chickadees leave the nest. Yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that my family was passing me by and I was rooted in quick sand. I was feeling trapped. I knew I needed to make a plan to break free of that feeling. Rationally I knew it didn’t really make any sense, but our emotions aren’t always rational are they?
Between Christmas and New Years — during our holiday vacation, I spent a lot of time thinking about the question that was nagging me. What am I missing? Intuitively I knew I needed to find something new to put my energy into. For nine years I had put everything I had into being a full time mom. All the energy and intensity I would put into my career was directed toward raising good humans.
My kids were growing up and moving on and I needed to find another focus. Not that parenting ends when your kids go to school but I needed something that fulfilled me personally and that would keep me busy during those hours when the kids were away. The trouble was finding something that fit within the framework of the life I had been living. What did I want from this next chapter in motherhood and beyond? I thought a lot about the future that week. With every day that passed, my sense of peace was growing. I’m a believer that the signs of the zodiac are telling of personality traits. I’m a textbook Capricorn. We Capricorns like to have a plan. We need structure, organization, and for everything to be mapped out in advance. That’s me to a tee. We’re highly driven and we put a lot of emphasis on our work. All of my thinking and planning was beginning to provide it’s usual comfort.
As we boarded the plane for our return flight home I felt compelled to write down the details of the plan developing in my head. I had yet to verbalize it but I knew it was there. I grabbed a pen from my carry on and began jotting down my thoughts on an airplane cocktail napkin. I tucked the napkin into a notebook for safekeeping.
The ideas that poured out of me with ease on the airplane slipped to the back of my mind after we arrived home. My attention returned to the minutiae of daily life. Every so often my plan would pop into my mind. I wondered whether I would find the courage to take action. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that it can take me a long time to decide on a goal. Ideas come and go. The commitment is a big step for me. Once I decide on a goal and make a commitment to it — there’s no turning back. I’m all in. The fear of failure keeps me going.
“Following your dreams is a lonely, solitary, scary, dangerous pursuit. You can’t wait for somebody to think you can do it.”
The ideas I mapped out on my airline cocktail napkin ended up being my framework for Lunch With A Girlfriend. I had no idea then whether or not I would make my dream a reality. Or if I even wanted to! It was a big step for me. A new direction very different from anything I had done before. But as the months passed, my restlessness returned, and so did my resolve to make a commitment to take a leap of faith. Six months later the wheels were in motion to create and launch this website.
2017 was a big year for me — it was a significant step outside of my comfort zone. Looking ahead to 2022 I’m thinking of ways to get better, learn more, and grow this space I’ve carved for myself. What dreams will you map out on your cocktail napkin this year?
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