Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing

There is something inside of most children that asks itself, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" Somehow, little kids know that they will not always be as they are now-- and yet the closest that most young minds ever get to comprehending their grown-up selves is to stand in front of the mirror wearing Mommy's heels & lipstick, or a Fireman costume.

This week, we had a short training conference downtown, and I had to play the part of a real, professional grown-up . Considering the fact that I do most of my work either in a coffee house, a college lounge, or in my PJ's at home, looking grown-up and professional isn't usually a top priority in my day. In fact, if there was a goal in my appearance, it would probably be to look like a college freshman in the dorms, rather than a 30 year old married woman with a dog & a subscription to Martha Stewart Living.

It was quite a stretch for me to blend in with the power suits & ties on Market St, and as I balanced my way to BART on my high(ish) heels, I felt a little bit like a six year old, trying to walk in my mom's shoes. Thankfully, no one stopped and asked for my ID, or gave me a pop-quiz on the meaning of the words "Dow Jones Industrial Average".

Getting dressed up in my skirts & uncomfortable nylons (okay, fine, they were tights-- but there were no hearts or ruffles on them anywhere. Trust me, they were very grown-up tights) was a physical manifestation of the way I've been feeling inside lately.

I say this with a smile on my face, but in all seriousness: I think this is my year to "grow up".

Yes, I have been
paying my own rent for almost a decade now, have managed to keep the same plant alive for approximately 6 years, have a dog & a brand-new car that was purchased without the presence of parents, and my very own business cards with the word "Director" on them... but on most days, I still feel far from being grown up.

Our goal in the giant, international non-profit we call Work has always been to fly under the radar. Becoming a Director was at the bottom of the list of career options, and seemed synonymous with sitting at a desk, raising funds and planning meetings all day. I enjoyed my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants college ministry, running life through intuitive sense, and the adventure & hard work of squeaking by on a wing & a prayer. That's not to say that everything I did was haphazard & chaotic... but I admit that advance planning, details & organization (i.e. living like a responsible adult) have never been my strongest points.

But I can feel a shift happening-- something new that is taking form and gaining energy & life, and I can see that my place in it is different than anything I have done before.

In short, this big experiment we set out to do in San Francisco is... well... it's working. There is growth that we can't keep up with, opportunities that I couldn't have imagined, and very real plans for the future that... scare me to death. When I stand back and take it all in, it feels too big for me. I can see very clearly that the person I am today-- the way that I think & plan & live my day to day life-- needs to grow in order to meet & fit into this new creation.

Thinking forward into the next several weeks, months and years, I can see what is expected of me (something coming from our director-- not just my over-active imagination!), and picturing myself there seems much like the little kid playing dress-up in front of the mirror.

I believe with my whole heart that this new creation is something that I am meant to be a part of-- despite the fact that see myself as being a child in a grown-up world. My fear of failure is very real, but I am walking forward knowing that even though these things are far bigger than I am, it is (or will be) a perfect fit.

It is amazing to feel as though I am in the right place, doing the right thing at the right time-- to see a reflection of the things I have been hoping and praying for lived out right in front of me. I suppose the frightening thing about dreaming big is being a part of those dreams once they're realized. And life does have a bit of a dream-like quality to it-- rushing ahead of me faster than my mind can keep up with, moving in rhythms I don't understand, and yet somehow familiar and a part of me.

It's messy, full and a little chaotic, but very, very good: too big, yet somehow a perfect fit.


Anonymous said...

Reading your blog is like sampling all the flavors at Bi Rite. I think that wearing tights with ruffels and hearts can work in SF. At least I'm sure you can pull it off if anybody can!
With all the experiences you have had over these years, I can't emagine anyone more qualified to lead.
The nice thing about life is that it is ever changing with its prioraties and challenges. Embrace it. That's what makes life interesting.
Have I ever told you that I'm sooo very proud of you!

hanagrace said...

I don't even remember how I found your blog but there's so much that you write about that I can identify with (I still wear tights myself), like not feeling grown up, although I'm 25. :-) I loved reading this.

Anonymous said...

Did you take a picture of your cute self in tights & business attire? I'm sure you at least looked the part & that's the secret - clothes make the man.