Life’s Crossroads – Then and Now

momelaineofftocollegeIt’s a sweltering August day in Washington, DC in 1981, and my mom and I are standing in front of the Holiday Inn on Wisconsin Ave. We are about to venture over to the new student reception at Georgetown University, and I will catch my first glimpse of my home for the next four years.

We look surprisingly calm, don’t we? But, then again, perhaps it’s hard to tell with all that hair. (Note my attempt at feathered locks.)

The above photo captures me at a true crossroads in life. At that exact moment, I had absolutely no idea how my life would unfold. But, I was ready! Despite the twisting in my stomach and sweaty palms (not evident to the camera), I was oh-so-ready to begin that next leg of the journey. In a matter of hours, I would start making decisions – big and small – that would shape my college experience and beyond.

These days, crossroads are not nearly as clear-cut and defined. Major decision points in later life look more like this …

street-signLife’s crossroads are on my mind of late because I recently gave notice at my job. In a few months, I will leave my place of employment, despite my doing satisfying work with people I respect and enjoy. You see, it’s a full-time job, one that cannot (or will not) be made into a part-time or job-share position. And, having more flexibility at work has leap-frogged back to the top of my priority list. So, it’s time to make a change.

The who/what/when/where of this change is TBD. Unlike 1981, I no longer have a clean slate upon which to script this life transition. And, this time, the change process will be full of stops and starts, incremental discernment, hopefulness, ambivalence, and inevitable disappointment.

Hmmm … maybe what’s needed is a new hairstyle to kick-off this process.


  • Sonja Says:
    1-19-2010 09:51:08

    I swear you are my hero – good luck to you.

  • Sharon Says:
    1-19-2010 10:00:06

    I remember when you started this job. Part of me is sorry to hear things haven’t gone as you hoped, while part of me is applauding your decision to honor what you need and want. You are so right about the mixed emotions that will be part of the process. Wishing you calm and clarity in the days ahead.

    The crossroads do look different this time, but you are just as ready for this leg of the journey. And who’s to say a new hairstyle isn’t a good idea?

  • Barb Says:
    1-19-2010 10:02:09

    Wow, that photo brings back memories! I’m sure I have a copy of it somewhere in my albums. Good luck with your latest crossroads. You may not have such a clean slate as in 1981, but you have a lot more exprience and knowledge. And just because it’s topical in 2009, remember Julia Child didn’t publish until she was 50. It’s never too late for reinvention.

  • Maura Says:
    1-19-2010 15:50:47

    Kudos for not only making a difficult decision, but also for knowing and honoring your prorities. I experienced some of those same emotions when I left the corporate world 10 years ago. Try to embrace the unknown, as it is part of the journey. I am confident that this move will open a big, shiny, new door for you, my friend.

  • Sue Says:
    1-19-2010 19:57:09

    You have always amazed and inspired me with each adventure you’ve undertaken. I have no doubt that this next phase in your life will bring wonderful, new challenges. Can’t wait to hear the details. Good luck!

  • Anne Says:
    1-19-2010 21:02:59

    I agree with Sue. The important thing is to recognize what’s important, and take action. As one door closes, it’s exciting to think about all the new doors we can open. And knowing you, I’m sure you won’t have a hard time settling in to the the next phase that benefits you and those around you.

  • shane Says:
    1-20-2010 10:08:45

    I believe in you! Take some time to enjoy your life and your family. And enjoy some time for you too!!! You certainly deserve it.

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