Do you feel the time passing as you’re having fun?

In his poem, Fog, Carl Sandburg wrote,

The fog comes in on little cat feet.

The association’s immediate because most cats are sneaky. They appear on your bed or your lap or your kitchen counter like magic, seemingly out of thin air. It’s sort of like that moment not long ago when I realized I’d crossed some invisible life threshold. I’m now the potential mentor, adviser, and resource that I’ve sought out, throughout my career.

When asked, I do my best to respond, payback for the help I’ve received along the way: A successful life is essentially a collaborative project.

My transformation to trusted resource arrived on cat’s paws. I didn’t see it coming; maybe I wasn’t looking. I was working, going to school, volunteering, being a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sibling, and a friend, juggling the 1001 roles we all play, concurrently and sequentially. In retrospect the time passed quickly. Now I have discussions about retirement investments with my financial guy. Those tiny lines in my face are getting much easier to see. My orthopedic surgeon is recommending the benefits of joint replacement, “while I’m still young enough to enjoy it,” but I know what he really means. Now I’m someone who gets emails and calls from new college graduates, graduate students, and even mid-career professionals, seeking resume critiques, job hunting and interview tips, and career advice. I admit it’s flattering as well as scary. Ironically, I now work as a senior consultant: Apt, but a little disconcerting.

I enjoy working, the strategy, the challenge, the opportunity to contribute. I have no interest at the moment in retiring, early or otherwise. But I’ve seen that cat across the room. I know it’s coming, so it won’t take me by surprise. If I’m lucky, that next phase will be just as fun, with new rewards and challenges.

I always say, it costs no more to be an optimist.

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