Normal Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Castel in tropics
Just an intermission?
Marque re. CoVid
Photo by Nick Bolton

When impact of the present pandemic hit home, the “new normal” became the big new buzz phrase.  Way back in February, many anticipated a couple of weeks of “shelter at home” and then back to “normal.” But here it is summer. And normal still eludes us.

If we are honest, we admit that even when social distancing loosens up and most businesses are no longer shuttered, our day-to-day reality will be significantly altered.  “Normal” will evade definition. We began 2020 in a place to which we can never return. Hence – the “New Normal.”

unsettling times

The cataclysmic sweep of CoVid-19 across our entire world has caused the idea of normal to appear to be an illusion of sorts. It may be that this is the year in which the word “normal” disappears from our vocabulary.

This is my second go round with a norm-shattering communal hurricane. It comes almost exactly fifty years after the first one, the year 1969.

My personal life altered overnight when, without medical rhyme or reason, five years of infertility ended. I conceived a child and gave birth to a baby girl. But my return to a traditional trajectory of womanhood played out against a backdrop of political and cultural turmoil that packed into a single year enough counter-cultural phenomena to fill a century.

Photo by Jay Wennington

The world in which my daughter celebrated her first birthday was not the world into which she had been born. The earthquake that was 1969 produced a “new normal” that meant she and I grew up in the same geographic location, but in alien lands.

Because of my youth, I welcomed the changes with open arms. The brave new world excited me. Throwing off the shackles of centuries of prejudice liberated my soul. I rejoiced for my children. At the same time, I celebrated at a distance. Being the mother of an infant daughter meant my immediate struggles were of a more mundane nature.

every kind of revolution

While David Reuben’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask shocked many, it became an instant best seller, which made it possible for the next generation to have a healthier and more realistic attitude toward sexual intimacy. For Jay and I, it provided a guide to a subject forbidden to Catholics – birth control. It took family planning out of the murky shadows into the clear light of reason. We could not know at the time that in making “more rational” decisions about when to have our children, we had also paved the way to interior religious freedom, a more profound transformation.

This clash of conservative and liberal ideologies resounded in multiple assemblies in 1969. Jay and I, mired in domesticity, became armchair activists. The summer before Jay had joined the protesters as they marched from Lincoln Park to the Democratic Convention. Two years before I had walked the street as a striker, demanding better more equitable pay for country employees. In 1969, we watched as others took up the pickets. Live television coverage of the tumultuous events of that year brought war, protest, and riot into our living room.

out in space

We witnessed inspiring moments such as when we jammed into a

Amstrong on the moon
Photo by History HD

neighbor’s tiny apartment living room with about twenty young parents and almost as many babies, all eyes glued to the fourteen-inch screen as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of moon. There was absolute silence in the room.  Even the little ones hushed their voices as he recited, “One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.”  And we believed it too. We grew up listening to space adventures on the radio and following space heroes in the comic books.  In some ways it’s hard to believe that “Star Wars” is still a fantasy.

playing to the herds and the nerds

With less pride, but no less excitement, we tuned into Woodstock, that glorious fiasco that ripped the curtain off any hope that the old order

crowds at Woodstock
Photo by Markus Spiske

could stand. We tuned in to hear the music, but stayed glued to the tube by scenes of “debauchery.” It would take months before the full story of what happened when 300,000 music fanatics showed up instead of the expected 50,000.  But one of the inevitable results was the same as one being anticipated in our present predicament – more babies.

The cultural shift did not limit itself to the “hippies” milling around on a dairy farm in upstate New York. Right in the heart of New York City itself earlier that summer, Oh, Calcutta had opened on Broadway. Since

Live Nude Marque
Photo by Alex Haney

full-frontal nudity was central to this production, it did not appear on our television screens, but we read about it in the Chicago Tribune, and discussed it with friends over beers on the common patio of our apartment complex.  In those days of “never trust anyone over thirty,” the general consensus among us was that censoring the play was an abuse of power. On the other hand, none of us was quite ready to shell out for the tickets when it came to Chicago.

waging peace

Of all the grand events that took place that year, the one that moved me the most was the Moratorium against the Vietnam War that swelled up in the Autumn. Sitting home while the protestors marched in cities around the world tore at our souls. Two million Americans of all ages and backgrounds took to the streets and assembled in churches, schools and meeting halls. Dr. Spock broke out of his persona as the optimistic childcare expert to address the rally in Washington. That more than anything made me realize that all those people were marching, protesting, demonstrating to protest the sweet baby in my arms. But I couldn’t bring myself to take her into the streets.

I couldn’t convince Jay to go. He held that as an Assistant State’s Attorney he was an official representative of law and order. That status forbade his participation. So, even at the domestic level skirmishes between the old order and the new played out. I feel certain ours was not the only household to witness such a divide. Love for us triumphed over political difference. We refocused even more intently on building a good life for our daughter.

Rob Kilpatrick’s enlightening and entertaining book, 1969:The Year Everything Changed, http://( cover the immense scope of the  sweeping changes that zipped through every aspect of human life that year. Then as now committed, however, loving relationships thrived, families grew and prospered, hearts broke, elders passed on, and in a thousand other ways everyday life moved steadfast as the rising and setting of the sun.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

Whatever is has already been,
    and what will be has been before;

Flowers at sunrise
Photo by Olga Filonenko

There are many important events from that year that I haven’t room to include.  What do you remember about 1969?  How did it influence your life? Or was there another year that changed “everything” for you?


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Careful What You Wish For

Slightly pregnant belly
Great expectations
Man in darkly lit office
Photo by Armeer Basheer

“That shakes things up a bit, doesn’t it?” Antoine Vilar, editor of Building Design & Construction magazine and my boss, smoothed his striped silk tie with nervous fingers. I had just told him I was expecting a baby in six months in May, 1969.

Earlier that month, when I shared the news of my pregnancy with family and friends, it had been received with unalloyed delight. After four years of trying to conceive without success, Jay and I had pretty much given up hope of becoming parents. So, of course, the people who loved us best were joyful to hear we crashed through that barrier.

Loving my job

Ironically just six months before, I drove the fear of infertility into a dark corner of my psyche, and channeled my energies and dreams into work. For the first time, I had a job I loved. True, only an associate editor, I wrote mostly small, short one-page articles, mostly about new products. Nonetheless, I envisaged writing longer, more important stories once I showed what I could do. In the meantime, I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the overall process of producing the journal, the gathering hundreds of different bits and pieces together and creating a beautiful, coherent whole.

Antoine’s words could have been mine. As pleased and relieved as I was to be pregnant at last, I didn’t want to leave the magazine. But I didn’t see any way out of it. Every single woman I knew had left the workplace following the birth of her first child.

The Feminine Ironique

Betty Friedan had published The Feminine Mystique, five years before,

1970 Suffragette march
Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images)

claiming that the societal assumption that women could find fulfillment through housework and child rearing alone had given rise to a pervasive dissatisfaction among women in mainstream American society. book sparked the second wave of feminism, but the twenty-something women I knew had one-by-one abandoned outside employment in favor of staying at home with their new babies. Nannies were the prerogative of the very rich. Daycare centers didn’t exist. Our mothers would have been horrified if asked to care for their grandchildren. I didn’t process any of these facts as rational at the time. I simply knew I would be staying at home with my baby and that would mean leaving the magazine. The second wave of feminism washed ashore on distant beaches, but I didn’t feel its surge.

The allure of suburbia
Suburban landscape
Photo by Kruse Collins

Swept up in the allure of another mystique, Jay and I began to search for a place to live in the suburbs. We never considered remaining in the city to raise our family. On a sunny April Sunday, in far flung Palos Heights a forty-five minute drive from Chicago Loop, we found what seemed the perfect place. Thorton Meadows, set in a landscape of woods and rolling hills, offered two-bedroom units at a very reasonable price. Although somewhat dark and featureless, the apartments were twice the size of our place in the city. Best of all, the lawns behind the complex teemed with young parents, toddlers, and babies in bassinets. We signed a lease for May first.

On Monday, I took extra time with my hair and make-up and wore my chicest maternity dress to work.  By noon I’d completed several pieces and took them to the assistant editor to review.  I didn’t need to hand carry them to him, but I did have to talk with him. “Bill, Jay and I are moving to Palos Heights at the end of the month. I’ve decided it would work best if I resigned on the fifteenth.”

The unexpected opportunity

He spun in his chair. “Sit down.” It wasn’t a request. I sat.

“Tony and I have been talking about this.” He spoke slowly as though working things out while he spoke. “It looks bad for the magazine to have added new staff less than a year ago only to drop the name now. Not only that, you’re turning in good solid work. We hate to see you go.”

I tried smiling but ended up sighing. “I don’t want to leave, but having a baby doesn’t give me a choice. There’s really no one else to take care of it.  And even if there was, I can’t imagine not taking care of my own child.”

Mom working at home
Photo by Charles Deluvio

He nodded. “I get it, but what if you could do both?”

Visions of installing a baby bed next to my desk filled my imagination and I giggled. “I don’t think a baby exactly fits in here at the office.”

He got the picture and laughed. “No.  But you could do this work at home.  You have a typewriter, right?”

“Yes, but …I’ll be taking care of the baby. I won’t be able to write.”

“Trust me,” Bill said. “I’ve got two kids. When they are little, they sleep a lot and even when they aren’t asleep, you don’t necessarily have to be doing stuff with them. You’re going to have time on your hands you don’t know what to do with.”

He expressed concepts I’d already considered, but I’d always understood the motherhood role to be an all or nothing proposition. That I could be a mother and something else at the same time didn’t compute for me. But now that my colleague had put the proposition in front of me, mixing childcare and some other work didn’t sound so preposterous. There were sixteen hours in a day.  Surely caring for my baby couldn’t consume that much time.

“How would it work?” I asked.

“Good girl.” He was elated. “Let’s go tell Tony.” The plan they laid out for me was decades ahead of its time, but none of us thought of it that way. It was simply the answer to a thorny problem for them and a way for me to continue doing work I loved. On a regular basis, Bill would mail me all the new product information that the manufacturers sent to the magazine. At home I would hone this myriad of information into short, informative articles, which I would mail back by the monthly deadline. Rather than the set wage I had been receiving, I would be paid by the hour. I’d be my own time keeper.

murphy’s law in the nursery

What could go wrong? We had come up with a dream solution.

By mid-May, Jay and I were settled in our suburb apartment. We had met several couples in the building, many of whom would remain friends long after we moved away from Thorton Meadows. My agreement with Building Design and Construction was not nearly so long term. That was because we failed to take into account the needs and desires of the third party to our agreement, my newborn little daughter, Kristin Margaret.

Breastfeeding mom
Photo by Ksenia Makagonenova

Breastfeeding had all but disappeared from the American infant care, but resurged in the 1960s as a part of the counterculture. Although a fairly mainstream sort of person, I decided to nurse my baby, having no idea what that entailed. No other mothers I knew breastfed their babies. Neither Jay’s mother nor mine had breastfed. I made my choice in knowledge void that took two children to overcome.  Kristy was the experiment.  Her sister Carrie born nineteen months later benefited greatly from what Kristy taught me.

Thus, I tried two innovative endeavors at the same moment in time – all on my own. I chose to breastfeed my baby and work from home.

The standard advice at that time had been developed for bottle-fed babies. It held that infants should be fed every four hours. No one could warn me that breastfed babies on the other hand nursed every two to three hours and fed on the average twelve times a day.

I learned that all by myself. Learned it as over and over again I left thought half-finished on the page. Learned it with deadlines looming over my head when I couldn’t bear to let my baby “cry it out,” another standard of the time.

murky answers

I found myself rewriting articles over and over because I got so little sleep that coherent thinking evaded my consciousness. Jay came home expecting a peacefully sleeping baby, a smiling wife and a hot meal.  He got chaos. He would take the baby from my arms and walk the floor with her while I fixed dinner, a meal I ate as I fed Kristy. By the time the dinner dishes were cleared up, my brain was too frozen for creative thinking.

By the end of the summer, even though Kristy was feeding less often, she slept less and sought attention in other ways.  She was so charming, a smiley baby with big blue eyes who responded with ward delight to being picked up and sang to, who loved to be outdoors and who was entranced by other children. Putting her in her bed to stare at a wind-up mobile while I sat at a typewriter began to feel like criminal neglect. I dreaded the arrival of the thick envelope from the magazine. I had too often been up past midnight to meet my deadlines.

Jay’s income covered our expenses. We had almost saved the $2500 we would need as a down payment on a house. If I continued to write, I would be doing it for my own fulfillment, but it had become a stress not a joy.  I convinced myself I’d become a lousy writer, that the magazine deserved better. If I kept up in that way, Kristy would miss out on key parental attention she required for healthy development. I was nothing but an imposter – neither real journalist nor true mother. Something had to go and it couldn’t be the baby! I made the dreaded call to Antoine and Bill. I pulled off the career track just in time to avoid a wreck.  The relief was immense.

Office desk
Photo by Aashish A

My choice may have been a terrible mistake. My opportunity to work from home came way ahead of the curve. The workplace mores I knew would shortly be nullified. Had I continued to work part-time from home, I might have been able to parlay that into a full-time job in journalism at some future point.

Instead, I devoted the next fifteen years to being the best mother that I could be. Did I simply cave to the feminine mystique? Perhaps. But maybe I simply chose an alternative freedom.

Girls marching "Future is Female"


A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.                                

Bill Watterson

Despite the fact that it’s been over fifty years since The Feminine Mystique became a sensation, we’re still asking, “Should mothers stay home with their children?”  Why do you think the question won’t go away?


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Graduating, Again and Again

Grad caps in air
no singing no dancing no toasts

“What do you miss the most?” a friend recently asked. Living through the CoVid-19 pandemic robs us of so much normalcy that it can be hard to pinpoint just what our hearts yearn for most. Yet, it took me only a few moments to answer, “Celebration.”

Weddings, baptisms, bar and bah mitzvahs, and even funerals have been thrust aside as impossible under present conditions. It’s heartrending to witness people we care about either put off a major transition in their life for which they had long prepared. Equally discouraging is to become married, to confirm one’s place in a community of faith, or to say final good-byes to a friend or family member, but do so alone or with as few others as possible quietly and efficiently before moving back into the rhythm of quarantine living. No singing. No dancing. No toasts.

june, 2020, slips away before it even comes

This particular spring the missed celebration that is hitting our family the hardest is that my grandson Bryce will not “officially” graduate from high school.  He’ll simply move on. Hopefully, he’ll begin college next year. No one Bryce's Middle School Graduationcan know for sure this week what September will bring.  But he will do so without the celebratory hoopla that usually accompanies graduations – the caps and gowns, the marches, the parties, the gifts, the hi gh spirits. He’s not alone. You can read about the other 3.6 million here:


Bryce himself is fairly complacent, but the elders of his family really wanted to celebrate this major transition with him. Perhaps, we yearned for festivity as way to relive the memories of our own graduations and the changes they brought.

I’ve graduated more than the usual amount of times, piling up diplomas and degrees like a stack of tarot cards I used to try to tell my future.

just six years old & a whole new world
Kindergarten table
Photo by Gautam Arora

The idea of graduating kindergarten brings on a sense of the ridiculous, but for me the change was profound, making as it did, a life path that would forever follow twists and turns rather than the straight, narrow way. When I left kindergarten, I transitioned from the public to the Catholic school system in Detroit, Michigan, an abrupt change of direction and not a little disorientating for one so young. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Moody had been pretty, sweet and young – much like a favorite aunt. The nun who ruled my first-grade classroom believed that no learning could happen without strict discipline.

I buckled under. Any natural free spirit squelched. All my energies directed into being a “good student,” a designation that never left me. I clung to that as a core sense of identity, my one quality that remained true and firm even when other endeavors failed. The problem with this identification is I couldn’t be a student forever.  Graduations were inevitable.

middle school mystic

After attending grade school for eight solid years, I graduated from both eighth grade in 1956 and ninth grade in 1957, because a family move once again propelled out of one school system into another. My father took a big leap into a management level position with another company in another state the week after my eighth-grade graduation. In our new home town, Muncie, Indiana, elementary school concluded with sixth grade. The next three years students attended junior high and then graduated at the end of ninth grade. In September, 1956, instead of enrolling in my first year of high school as I would have in Detroit, I entered a final year of junior high.

New student in class
Photo by Javier Trueba

Once again a member of a “graduating” class, this time of St. Lawrence Catholic School, I thoroughly enjoyed all its attendant perks plus one important status I had not had at St. Brigid’s.  Because the thirty ninth-grade students had been together since kindergarten, the arrival of a “new girl” triggered a wave of excited interest. Luckily it played out well for me. By graduation, I celebrated as joyously as if I had actually journeyed with these same kids for the last decade.

the road less traveled
1960 High School Yearbook
Our high school yearbook

Just three years later, we were all graduating once again.  This time with a diploma from Muncie Central High School. For most of my classmates, it would be their last graduation. Only ten percent of my high school graduating class went to college.  For the others it was time to take on the adult responsibility of a full-time job. Many celebrated their weddings shortly after graduation and were parents within a year. Among the lucky few who had the opportunity to continue my education, I moved to the campus of St. Mary’s College in South Bend at the end of the summer. Over the summer, my family moved as well. Back to Detroit and shortly thereafter to St. Paul, Minnesota.

I expected to spend four years earning a bachelor’s degree. It took seven. I accumulated course credits not only at St. Mary’s but also at De Paul, Roosevelt, and Loyola Universities as well as at the University of Minnesota. Yet, I did finally receive a degree from St. Mary’s in the rather nebulous field of English Writing, the rather vague designation under which my hodgepodge of course work was gathered. I had long since moved away from St. Mary’s, but, because then as now I loved celebrations of any kind, even ones that acknowledged somewhat dubious achievements, I returned to campus for graduation in August, 1967. I partied with my family after certain that I had finally finished graduating.

deja vu, all over again
Martin Marty
Martin Marty, teacher extraordinaire

Thirteen years later, however, the irrepressible student at my core, found a space for herself in my consciousness once again. By that time in 1980, the world and I had both experienced cataclysmic changes. The woman on the cusp of middle age barely resembled the girl of twenty-two. I had compressed a lifetime into those thirteen years. As I became a student once more, that experience informed all that I heard in the classroom, read in the library, and wrote at my computer.  One thing, however, had not changed. I took my time achieving my goal. Twelve years passed and I had two master’s degrees before I accepted my Ph.D. in Theology from my mentor Martin Marty at the University of Chicago.  Now, beyond a doubt I had finished graduating. But, I did so much more aware than I had ever been that I had hardly begun to learn.

graduates in a sunset
Photo by Baim Hanif

“The real ceremony begins where the formal one ends, when we take up a new way, our minds and hearts filled with the vision of earth that holds us within it, in compassionate relationship to and with our world.”
Linda Hogan


As a child, I wasn’t happy with my transfer from public school to Catholic school, but there’s some fairly decent argues as to why that can still be a good decision for parents to make. ttps://

Catholic schools – good or bad?  What do you think?



Can Too Many Dreams Come True?

beginning at the end

Spring is meant to be the season of rebirth. Yet, Spring, 1968 found me unemployed — again – just as I had been the spring before.

Teacher's desk
Photo by Element5 Digital

A week after I turned in my resignation as the sixth-grade teacher at St. Henry’s grade school, the principal received an application from a perfect candidate. The prospect had recently left the convent after a decade of teaching middle school grades. She wished to continue teaching but not as a celibate religious.  In different times, she would have been considered totally ineligible to teach in a Catholic school. But in the tumultuous end of the twentieth century the school staff welcomed her with open arms.

While leaving the classroom ended my struggle to attain “good teacher” status, it intensified my search for secure employment. I could not conceive of a life without work. Even though Jay’s earnings covered our needs and occasional luxuries, I had no wish to remain jobless.  We knew that were I to become pregnant I would probably stay at home with our child. Yet, at that point in time, we had no assurance we would ever welcome a child into our family. I remained unable to conceive. Adoption agencies continued to reject us as “too young.”

brick walls

For four years, I had run into a brick wall every time I applied for a position in

Woman with camera
Photo by Vanilla Bear Fillms

journalism. In their study of women in journalism, Seeking Equity for Women in Journalism and Mass Communication, Ramona R. Rush, Carol E. Oukrop, and Pamela J. Creedon note that the percentage of women in journalism rose from roughly six percent to eight percent from 1965 to 1970. I knew from age eleven when I first set my heart on becoming a journalist that there were fewer women than men in the profession, but even in 1968 I didn’t appreciate how great the disparity was. If I had majored in journalism, I convinced myself, I could have landed a place on a newspaper or magazine staff. But that degree had been unavailable at St. Mary’s, the college for which I received a scholarship.

Right out of school, I had “settled” for a position as a county caseworker. I loved that job but left the agency in the hopes that less stress in my life would allow me to become pregnant. Then, I tried teaching grade school, another of the “acceptable” jobs for women.  Last week’s blog recorded that disaster.  I wasn’t trained to be a nurse.  After eight years as a waitress all through high school and college, I definitely wasn’t going back.

might as well try

boss and secretary in silhouetteThere still remained one “suitable” woman’s job I might consider. I could be a secretary. I had learned to type and take shorthand in high school. In a quirky turn of fate, one of my other untried skills, speaking French, landed me the first secretarial job for which I applied. The editor of Building Construction, a trade journal for architects, engineers and contractors, had moved to Chicago from Paris. It appealed to him to hire a secretary to whom he could dictate in French if he so chose.

In late April I began my fourth new job since leaving college four years before. And I loved it. The office space vibrated with excitement. Everyone on the editorial staff had a passion for the world of building especially my French boss. Because it was my job to see that most of the articles actually made it to pre-print form, I often joined in the editorial discussions. My father and grandfather were draftsmen. So, I knew a great deal more about the world of architecture and building construction than most English Literature graduates.

Within six weeks, the assistant editor, an engineer as well as a journalist, called

White high rises
Photo by Digby Cheung

me into his office. He offered me a position as an associate editor on the magazine. I never saw it coming. The irony hit me right away. Here like a gilded message on a silver platter was an offer of the very kind of work, I had practically begged for in the past. Yet, the offer no longer held the same allure. The intensity of my desire to conceive a child had swept aside all other ambition.

“I need time to think about this.” I told him.

He lifted his chin and squinted at me, “I thought you’d jump at this chance.  We need an answer pretty soon.  We’re going to hire someone before we chart the next edition.”

I sighed. Was I crazy to hesitate? “I am excited, but I want to tell my husband before I commit.”

“Okay, I get that. Think you can let us know tomorrow?”

Could I? Yes, dragging out the decision wouldn’t make it any easier. “Of course.”

no final answers
Wabash Ave under L tracks
Photo by Sorensen

At five o’clock, without bothering to clear my desk for the next day, I grabbed my purse, ran down three flights of stairs and out onto Wabash Ave. Skipping the “L” train, I strode north, my thoughts too jumbled to make sense of them. I halted in the middle of the bridge that crossed the Chicago River, leaned against the broad steel railing, and stared at the water flowing backwards away from Lake Michigan, a reversal of nature created by a massive engineering effort at the turn of the century. At that moment it felt like my life also flowed backwards. This moment in time, the day on which I could walk into our front door and announce to my husband that I had an honest-to-goodness journalism job offer, came three years too late. Or did it?

For the last eight blocks of the walk to our apartment, I let myself daydream, envisioning building a solid resume at Building Construction and then moving on to one of the many other journals published by Cahners, maybe even Variety with all the excitement of  being the front lines of the theater world.

Jay surprised me by being home when I got there. “Where have you been. I’ve been worried.”

The big cat-faced clock above our tiny kitchen archway read seven o’clock. “Geesh, Honey,” I said, “I thought I was rushing home. Time got away from me. We need to talk.”

Jay’s take on the dilemma lacked the ambiguity of mine. “Of course, you’ll take the job,” he insisted. “This is your dream. Go for it.”

“But what about a baby?” Journalism didn’t mix well with motherhood.

“Yulsey, you can’t keep drifting around waiting to get pregnant. It may never happen.  But this job offering is real and right now.”

My gut twisted when he voiced, “It may never happen.” But I couldn’t deny his logic.

That night we celebrated at the Jewish deli just a block from our place.

The next morning, I accepted the position. No regrets, I told myself. I can do this.

Four months later, I became pregnant. Once again, quandary ruled my life.

Northern Lights
Photo by Greg Rakozy

“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.” —Thomas Carlyle

Did finding your “life work” present you with a quandary?  I’d love to hear how others experienced these times in their life.