Although I no longer live in New York, I still have a New York attitude. Nothing shocks me. I mind my own business. I never jump up and down with excitement. Nope. My feet are firmly planted in reality. I'm often chastised with the remark: "Tell us how you really feel, Lorie." In short, I'm a skeptic, a bit of a cynic and proud of it. I don't bother to "Visualize World Peace."
I'm 58 now and given to introspection, well aware that sometime in the not-too-distant future the grim reaper will snatch me. When I was younger, my purpose in life was to rack up accomplishments. Then it dawned on me that the true winners were not the super-achievers nor the ones with the most toys. Still, I struggled for years to corral a mere modicum of happiness, or to at least feel a smidgen of contentment.
Now, most unexpectedly, I seem to have stumbled upon them. I really have no idea how this happened. Somehow, I've inadvertently embraced two concepts I'd always derided as pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. Not only have found my "soul mate," but I've also belatedly discovered my "passion in life." Go figure.
Ironically, I'd never even entertained the concept that there might be one man out there who was a perfect fit for me. Au contraire. My attitude has always been that every prospect was a mixed bag of attributes, some of which I found desirable and others not so much. I decided to marry my first husband after making a spreadsheet with a list of pros and cons. He looked good in Excel, so we got married and I was miserable for seven years. I then settled into serial monogamy with several so-so men who I knew deep down were not for me.
But, one day while doing leg extensions at the gym, a fellow member who looked vaguely familiar approached me. After 30 minutes on the Stair Master, I knew he was my man. We rushed off and got married within six weeks of our first date. This behavior was completely out of character for me -- a 48-year-old deliberate, logical lawyer -- but I had such an undeniable feeling of certainty that I was unable to squelch it. Guess what? My gut was right! It's been 10 years and I still miss him when he leaves the room, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan.
When I worked for a non-profit, I heard frequent references to finding your "passion" in life. Until very recently, I also passed this off as hokey. I practiced law for 23 years and while it suited my don't-even-think-about-messing-with-me persona, I had no particular love for the law or for the career. Then I dabbled in several other fields -- aging, teaching, public speaking, creative writing and personal training -- but they all ultimately failed my Excel spreadsheet test.
About a year ago, while doing Internet research on the conundrum of why some people are motivated to eat right and exercise and most are not, I discovered my passion in life -- wellness coaching. Somehow guiding people through the process of changing their lifestyle habits fits me perfectly and has allowed me to turn a lifelong avocation into a business. The New Yorker in me is a little appalled at how Pollyannaish I sound when I describe what I now do for a living.
Perhaps I wasn't as jaded as I thought I was. But, I'm a little sad to have to resign from the New York cynics club. I've turned into a California wuss, but a happy one at that ;)