Report Cards

It’s 10 am. I’m sitting on my deck in the early summer sunshine, dog on my feet, laptop on my knees, and coffee in my hand. For the first time in months, I can focus on my work without worrying that at some point, my work-groove will be broken by having to rescue Puck from a bad day at school.

School is DONE. It’s summer.

My kids are still upstairs, lolling in their beds in their pyjamas. They haven’t actually been out of their pyjamas for two days. They might have brushed their teeth recently, but that’s doubtful. And given the number of granola bar wrappers on their floors, they probably should be brushing. I should probably throw a vegetable their way. It’s only four days since school ended, and they’ve essentially gone feral.

I don’t mind that they’re embracing sloth. At times, I have Pinterest-induced guilt that I should make them DO things…Clean your room! Go for a bike ride! Practice basic hygiene!…but in reality, I’m happy to let them do nothing for a while. This year has been hard on all of us, and we need to decompress. For me, at least, that might take all summer. Read More »

Taking Life Advice from a Magic 8 Ball

So here’s the thing, dear reader: grown-up decisions are hard. They are so hard that this week, I actually consulted a Magic 8 Ball for career advice. And I listened to it!  I have put my family’s financial security and my own happiness in the hands of a Magic 8 Ball.

I have a background in journalism and social work. By twists of fate and connections to wonderful mentors, I ended up working for many years in government – both as a public servant, and as a political advisor. I’ve always been lucky to have interesting work, and opportunities to do things that, I believed, would improve people’s lives.

What I never had, though, was a career. I never started out at Point A, with a view to moving to Point B, and then retiring. I started out at Point A, ran away from it, had an anxiety attack and skipped over Point B, ended up bewildered at Point C, ran away from it, fell into Points D&E, got distracted by shiny Point F, came to a dead end, and tried to reinvent myself into Point G. Which is where I am today, although it’s actually more like Point OMG. Like, “OMG, what the hell am I actually doing?”Read More »

Always something there to remind me.

My 13 year-old daughter decided to clean her bedroom last weekend. Yes, this happens so seldom that it’s worth writing about.

For a year or so, her room has reflected her own internal transformation: artifacts of little girl fantasy bumping up against young teen reality. Tinkerbell and Barbie coexisting uneasily with algebra tests and bras.

I’d been telling her for months that she needed to clean her room. I’d intended only that she straighten things up. It was her own decision to do such a radical purge. (I like to see this as a successful change management strategy: I got her to think it was her idea, and she fully embraced it). She wanted to make space for the new parts of her life, and to hide the immature remnants that embarrass her now. She wasn’t just cleaning a room. She was curating an identity; translating the changes she’s been navigating as a middle schooler into her own surroundings.

She grabbed boxes and recycling bags and got ready to purge. I sat on the edge of her bed and got ready to save.Read More »