Roots. Some roots are watered and nurtured and grow deep in the ground, providing stability and strength. Other roots may not receive as much nourishment and may be shallow; they more easily slip away from one surface and may land and take hold somewhere else. Sometimes, I’m not sure we realize that our roots may be what is holding us upright. Other times, it might feel like our roots are keeping us stuck.
During one of my recent journaling sessions, I used a prompt asking me to list five careers I would do if I could start over and if time, money, talent were not considered. One of the first things that popped into my head was “building houses.” Whoa! I certainly didn’t expect that. But I wrote it down. And then I let that sit for a while to observe my response to that thought.
Why was building houses never a consideration before? My dad is a builder, and I was on job sites from about the time I could walk. As soon as I was old enough, my summer jobs consisted of painting and staining doors and trim, site clean up and lugging around tools to wherever they were needed. At the time, I don’t think I would say I liked the work. But as an early teenager, I got paid pretty well and I loved that! And I enjoyed joking around with the guys who also worked for my dad. It was always ME who would know where someone was or where a tool or supply was because that was my job! To this day, I still love walking into a house under construction and the smell of fresh paint and stain brings back so many memories! I love seeing my completed remodel and knowing that my hands created that work of art.
I don’t recall ever considering construction, building homes, or contracting work as a viable option for my career. Was it too hard, the days too long, the work not consistently available so it wasn’t as stable? Or was it not a career fit for a female? It’s interesting to think about what I considered as options in my teens and twenties back in the 1980’s, compared with the possibilities if I were a teen today. Certainly, there are roots that felt restrictive and confining. I might even say that growing up in the 70’s and 80’s contributed to that.
However, while there are past experiences that may appear to have kept me stuck, I can see that they have also helped shape my character. I don’t regret any of my former career/job choices: summer camps director, full time parent, career counselor, software project manager and some part time and volunteer work in between. I love how they have molded me into who I am today. I love recognizing all that I’ve learned and all that I’ve been able to accomplish and create throughout the years. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t been there first. Through my roots, I have talents and skills like carpentry, home repair and gardening. I learned to be resourceful and was encouraged to try new things! I developed honesty and integrity, perseverance and determination. I appreciate my roots and the opportunities they provided, even if I wasn’t always conscious of them. I love that NOW I see new possibilities that weren’t in my awareness thirty years ago.
We can focus on who we wish we would have been. Or, instead we can focus on who we ARE.
Examine your roots. Identify what you perceive as good AND bad. Appreciate how they have shaped you into the person you are today. Name and celebrate your strengths.