Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Dear Olive,

In pursuit of this thing called work-life balance, I often hunt for older women who seem to have done it well.  Rare is the experience of stumbling upon someone in the profession with the rare gift of decisive problem-solving and constant social interaction without insecurity.

Women; in particular, are metacognitive.  We constantly self analyze, which can frequently become a veil between us and the big picture.  Sometimes, one will come across an individual with that spark of passion, governed by wisdom, fueled by charisma, and capable of dreaming big.  On occasion, I imagine that I am putting out a homing device to seek that sage colleague, who is poised to bestow her lessons onto me.

A few years ago, I curated a friendship with an amazing nurse prior to her retirement.  She was confident, knowledgable, engaging, and lovely.  She spoke of her 30 year romance as though it were a new bright flame and sought lessons and travel as though she were just getting to know the world.  She stood up for those who needed advocation, but required much of those who sought her.  I loved hearing about her new enthusiasms.  I relished that she was successful at everything she approached because of the stamina she applied to each task.

When she moved away at the end of the summer to a new adventure, I understood the rarity of her perspective: hopeful realism.  I often miss the constant exposure of the model she set for me, but this reminded me of her.

"...a young woman should enter a workplace and, upon looking around, see lots and lots and lots of established, successful females from which to collate a vision of herself: the loner, the sycophant, the ass-kicker, the honest broker, the backstabber, the flirt, the wheedler, the warm hug, the cold fish, the brainiac, the yeller, the whisperer, the diplomat, the hoop-jumper, the straight-A student, the zealot, the do-gooder. Role models don’t have to be superheroes, in other words, or even necessarily exemplary; there just have enough of them, and they have to have made it work."

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