No Roadmap

Yesterday, I woke at 5:00 am to put time into my company Ocean SF. Being an entrepreneur is a never ending job. There are no set hours, and no simple formula to follow, it simply takes time and perseverance to create something out of nothing. The road I have chosen has not been easy and it has had many twists and unexpected turns along the way.

As I was leaving for my 10:00 a.m. tutoring appointment I found a bracelet in my drive way with the words “keep going” engraved inside. I’m sure it belongs to one of my daughters or one of their friends, but nevertheless, I took it as a sign.

After tutoring I went shopping to buy a suit for my daughter who is interning this summer in San Francisco. As I search through the racks for the perfect suit I am thinking about her future. I wanted to gift her with a classic basic that she could wear for a very long time. In 2020 she will have earned her degree and will likely be working in San Francisco, or a similar urban setting.

In the end, I choose a beautiful grey and lavender summer weight jacket and skirt with silver buttons. I can picture her wearing it walking down Market Street in the early misty morning light on her way to work.

She has a predictable road map, and now the perfect suit to go with it, but for myself I have no such thing. My friends are doing wildly different things; retiring, traveling, working, or going back to school. Many of them are selling their homes and moving to new cities or downsizing. There is no predictable trajectory. The past where everyone followed a similar roadmap is now gone. For many of us our goals collectively were similar; graduate from college, get a job, get married, buy a house and start a family. For this next chapter there is no roadmap to follow, or stray from. It’s a wide open road.

As someone who loves mentors I modeled myself after the strong career women around me when I was young. I wore coordinating Ellen Tracy suits and kept my Joan and David pumps in their original boxes on my closet shelves like my boss Lorraine. I tempered my friendliness with professionalism like our department Executive Vice President.

Later, I modeled my home and family around my Aunt. She lived in a beautiful home in Vancouver B.C. with her adoring husband and two children. She could throw a dinner party without you even noticing she was cooking. Her home was always, without exception, as clean as a whistle and no one was more fun to spend the day with. I was determined to be just like her. And, for the most part I was, but these similarities ended abruptly when I lost my husband, and she retired to Victoria to happily golf and host her grandchildren.

As I search for new role models I discover Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her first book, Little House on the Prairie, at the age of 64 and her last at 76. Coco Chanel made a comeback returning to Paris in 1954 at the age of 67, to design her famous little black dress, think Breakfast at Tiffany, and the next year the quilted leather bag with the revolutionary strap in 1955. More recently, the adorable Diane Keaton at the age of 74 has become an Instagram style icon. Need I search further?

Love and blessings to all.

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