Let’s Figure It Out

As we go spinning around the sun, we tend to mark anniversaries. I have one coming up tomorrow. It’s been 11 years since I cleaned out my desk at Iowa State University Extension in Polk County and started my work here at Next Step. I was there til 8 pm on my last day! Who does that?

Someone who is way too invested in work? One who has trouble letting go? Or maybe a person who has bitten off more than she can chew?

Probably all of the above, and more. Just this spring I threw out a box of slides I brought home from work eleven years ago. I was cleaning up my studio and came across several unfinished projects that brought a lump to my throat. I really wanted to make that apron, string those beads and create that lamp.

One thing I appreciated when I started Next Step was time to plan without feeling pressured by multiple deadlines. As my business has grown, and we’ve gotten busier, I sometimes feel hurried again. But the pressure has never gotten as great as it was when I was doing youth development work, writing grants, managing staff and all that went with it.

Owning my own business provides a lot of freedom, but it can be pretty demanding too. The roller coaster of work and no work can be scary. It’s much harder to know if you’re really good at what you do, kind of like looking into fun house mirrors. And of course the variety of people can put you off balance.

Balance is always a challenge. It helps to know your priorities. For a while I had this order–children and other living things, work and me. That’s changed significantly since the kids are grown. Some say if you don’t take care of yourself you don’t have anything to give others, but that’s still a tough sell for me.

I think these secrets to life, love, happiness are ever emerging. After a few careers and nearly 67 trips around the sun, I’m still learning. That’s what makes an adventure!

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