Tag Archives: career

intuition, interrupted

About 18 months ago…

Let’s get back to the fun stuff!

As spring turned to summer, I had another opportunity to work with Max, my out-of-state office crush. We emailed and occasionally spoke on the phone to communicate. One day after I emailed off a request, I got this reply from Max:

“You should know by now I will do whatever you ask.”

I excitedly waved a co-worker into my cubicle and said, “look at this! I think this cute guy might be flirting with me!” She agreed that he was most definitely flirting. (Perhaps you’ll find it sad that I needed confirmation from another, but this was not the sort of thing that is always self-evident to someone whose primary relationship is spiraling toward Hades.)

And so things got interesting. A fairly attractive man (who was also a newly wed) was offering a little bit more positive attention than was strictly required by his job. Which was nice.

But there was something deeper and more profound going on:  I had gotten a vibe around Max, something that made me think he might have some special potential in my life (at least until I heard he was getting married). And now I was getting some feedback suggesting that energy was mutual. My feminine intuition seemed to be functioning properly! After years of being told I was “crazy” every time I verbalized something I was feeling intuitively, I was now getting affirmation of what my sixth sense was telling me. My mojo — I guess they call it jojo for women — was coming back!

And I had an upcoming work trip to Max’s region, so I would see him soon!

on failure

I’ve had some interesting reactions from friends and followers as it relates to the title of this blog, failed at forty. Most — those who know me well — issue forth a quick guffaw and exclaim “awesome!” or “hilarious!” or some such. They know my quirky, cheeky sense of humor and ability to poke fun at myself.

Others sincerely tell me I shouldn’t think of or call myself a failure. It’s as though they believe failure is a bad thing.

For a time in my life, I had frequent occasion to downhill ski. I recall letting some of my friends know that I felt good, was getting in my groove, hadn’t wiped out in a long time. And then one of them piped up:  “If you haven’t wiped out, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.”

Let’s pause for a moment to look at the silver lining inherent in failure:

  • To fail means we’ve taken a risk, acted boldly, pushed forward out of our safety zone.
  • We’ve gained some clarity about what doesn’t work, and can now adjust course to create a more positive outcome.
  • We’re afforded a new beginning, an opportunity to confess that we didn’t really know it all anyway, made mistakes and are ready to move on.
  • We’re older, wiser and can choose to endeavor forth with much already gained.

As for me, I can point to some rather spectacular results of the past decade of my life:

  • I have two amazing, beautiful, loving children.
  • I have a home in a lovely neighborhood.
  • I’ve increased my income by more than 60% over this time.
  • I’ve met amazing new friends and colleagues, as well as continuing to nurture old friendships.
  • I’ve had some tremendous, remarkable, memorable experiences.
  • I’ve healed, matured and grown in more ways that I can recount.

Do I really think of myself as a failure? No. But I’ve had some pretty spectacular moments. You could say failure and I are on a first-name basis. So let’s raise a glass to failure. Failure, you haven’t beat me — I’ll always persevere. And I’m grateful for the lessons!

failed at forty

I suppose it’s time I addressed the title of my blog. The truth is, it wasn’t my first choice. I had a lot of ideas…until I Googled those working titles and some explicitly naughty things came up (…seems the XXX folks can find a way to associate nearly any topic with their content). I went through an entire list, hopes dashed. I awoke the next morning with “Failed at Forty” in my head, Googled it, and then began right away. I’m calling it inspired.

A few months ago, I turned forty. At the time, I faced this milestone with more than a modicum of dread. These “big” birthdays often inspire a deeper level of self-reflection than the one-through-fours or six-through-nines, and all I could think about was how far from what I wanted my life had become.

I think that I expected, at forty, to be happily married. If pressed to elaborate, I might have come up with something like this:  My husband would be handsome and successful, a lawyer or architect or something; he’d love spending time with me and our children; he would surprise me with gifts of Marc Jacobs handbags, David Yurman jewelry, books and other things I love. I would be happy and successful in my career. My husband and I would take turns shuttling our children from school to piano lessons to soccer and skiing. We would have a spacious home, support the arts, entertain often and take Caribbean and ski vacations. I was sure I’d be celebrating my fortieth with a spectacular trip to the Amalfi Coast, Paris or Thailand with my loving husband.

In fact, I spent my birthday at home in middle America, paying off my ex’s debt and setting a court date. I had contemplated a trip somewhere by myself, perhaps to visit a friend, but some unhappy financial surprises would have made such an extravagance imprudent. Sure I went out with girlfriends, but my heart was not engaged in any sort of celebration. I felt like a failure. So much of what I wanted seemed further from my grasp than ever. To be honest, I was pretty depressed about my situation.

The brilliant thing about failure is that, with time, it brings about great clarity. It is because of the experiences I’ve had — my failed relationship, my attainment of a mediocre position in my career — that I now know more clearly than ever what is truly and deeply important to me. I have a fairly well-developed grasp of my own strengths and weaknesses, and have discovered what makes me feel whole, fulfilled and alive. I am grateful for these lessons learned.

Thus, it is because I am failed at forty that I am more poised than ever to set about creating the life I truly want. And that, my friends, feels like a pretty darned blessed place to be!