My Life as a Multi-Hyphenate

Perhaps my aspirations were not lofty enough. I was told throughout my life that I could do anything “if I put my mind to it.” I guess the latter part was my demise. I didn’t put my mind to much…as in the 900% effort needed to achieve success as an actress, a media maven, a stand-up comic, a yogini or even possibly a painter.  Even though I was quite a good therapist and psychologist, I didn’t love it enough to stay in the field too long.  Once I defended my dissertation, I hung up my doctor-hat and became a mother. I want to point out that I am not even talking about my short-lived career as a real estate salesperson because that was one area I never cared to achieve success….just enough pocket change to make life easier. I also note the irony in the fact that I married a real estate developer, but that is a story for another time.

But all of this is changing. It started with putting forth the 900% effort required to be a great mother. Motherhood, beginning in my 40th year was the golden ring that I snatched quickly and confidently. Once I found out I was pregnant, I embraced it full heartedly. I packed up my tiny apartment in La Jolla, California and moved back east to be with my husband full time (we had a bicoastal marriage for a short time when I was in graduate school in San Diego). I try hard not to make the connection that I might have been late to mature since I did spend much of my twenties not thinking about success as I survived as a single, white woman living in New York City in the 1980s.

I moved my little life and all my books and music back to eastern Pennsylvania. Even the New York Times ranked Bucks County as the most beautiful county in the country (not Marin!). Leaving the beautiful southern California weather, my porch with plants and birds and the never over-stated town of La Jolla wasn’t easy however leaving the cultural nihilism and tattoo parlors of Pacific Beach was a snap. Occasionally, though, I yearn to move back to the Coast with the glorious sunshine and ocean yet diabolically wince when I think of the perfectly highlighted housewives in their precious pink sweat suits—FULL MAKEUP—while getting an early morning latte, exchanging horror stories about who ate the most carbs the day before (these women are not the transplants from New York).  I recognize this as simply a case of wanting what I don’t have, at the moment.

But today I have a treasure that I never held when living  in New York, Boston, London or California. I have a beautiful child—a son—now 14—still sweet, wonderful and as perfect as he was when a newborn. God graced me with the greatest gift; He did have a plan after all!  And to think I almost missed it. All the hyphenations aside, I am a mother, my greatest title—the main act—and a pretty good painter, too. Perhaps it takes a lot of hits and misses until one’s life is flushed out to near-perfection.

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