I’m intrigued with the idea of reinvention about as much as I’m intrigued by the idea of constancy.
The latter has exposed itself as ultimate truth over the 4+ decades I’ve lived. No matter how things change and evolve, the same constants persist as fundamental truths: love is the only thing that really matters, living a life that lights you up is the most worthwhile way to spend one’s time on this planet, kindness is never a wrong answer, exercise & rest are as important to wellness as anything with a price tag, Spring follows winter, rain eventually evaporates just to sprinkle down again, and so many more undeniable truths.
And the former emerges as a phenom pop star – reinvention is unpredictable, exciting, tempting, and can be impossible to not stare at. Where reinvention used to happen over time – millennia for the greater portion of this earth’s existence, then sped up to centuries, then decades – significant reinvention now happens by the minute.
I attended a breakfast conversation about Women’s Leadership hosted by the Seattle Sports Commission last week, and a woman in the audience asked the panel to share a notable failure in their lives that helped form them as the successes they are today. Lisa Brummel (Seattle Storm co-owner) referenced the Storm’s shocking underperformance in 2011, immediately following their WNBA championship in 2010. They missed the need to reinvent, something no one though necessary and in fact deemed way too risky given their proven success just one season prior.
What a novel failure. Insightful. Illogical. Freaking awesome.
I listened to Lisa’s answer and turned inward… why did I find this insight so intriguing? And I realized that the Storm’s realization is exactly what fires me up and always has since I was a young girl. It doesn’t matter how much something “makes good sense.” If you aren’t constantly trying and innovating and risking and tempting, how in the world do we progress beyond the increments?
You see, I’ve always loved living life toward its edges. I’ve always loved the adrenaline rush of taking risks, pioneering in ways that totally freak me out, of leaping with the faith that beneath the thick fog lies the net that will catch me.
I was the only girl playing football with the boys at recess because it was fast and physical and beautiful. I would rally a fleet of college friends at midnight to drive to beach and stoke bonfires made of wooden pallets we “borrowed” from the grocery store. In high school, my mom’s nickname for me was “The Boy of the Month Club,” I averaged a new role every 14 months at Microsoft over 11 years, always picking the assignment others wouldn’t go near, I am usually reading four books at a time. I seem to often be asking WHAT ELSE? WHAT IF? WHY NOT?
The only reason I haven’t skydived yet is because I have three precious children who need their mama around more than I need the rush. I drive a VW wagon instead of my dream car Porsche 911 Carrera because I cart around my favorite little people and a bunch of gear all the time. We have lived in the same state for two straight decades in a house at the end of a cul-de-sac because the schools are great and I rest easy knowing my kids can safely play in the street all summer long. I am A-OK with all of this, as these are my truths, my constants, my warmth and deepest sources of joy.
Yet there are elements of “reality” that cinch things in for me, away from the risky edges, and I feel the seams begin to stretch. And now, at long last, I am walking a new path of exploration and risk. I have finally risked a major reinvention with my career, taking a wild-child move away from the fluorescent lights of security, into the disco lights of risk, by leaving a fortunate 11 year career at Microsoft to explore once again, entirely grateful for the solidity under my feet that allowed me the confidence to leap. More on this soon…
I often remind myself of a Latin phrase my mom would say to me: “virtu in media stat.” Virtue lies in the middle.
It’s in the balance that all life works. All of it. It’s a genius beyond the grasp of my human mind, but I know in my bones I am as much a part the rhythm, the ebb and flow, as anything. We all are; glowing when balanced, dimming when off kilter. Too much safety and I bore. Too much risk and I might break. But that place in the middle? It is TRUTH.
I strive to embrace the constants and the truths as much as I embrace reinvention and risk, and the dance feels good.
I won this trip to this lovely planet, and before my departure date, I want to soak in as much nectar as I can… sipping from the steady current of love, and exploring around whatever bend catches my fancy – feeling full and alive in the balance.