I was once a voice & wireless technology analyst. Why am I even mentioning this? I guess to make the point that I was once cool. (Once you have kids and start driving a minivan, you’re no longer cool, no matter your profession). No–now I remember! I’ve been working outside all day today and there’s nothing like manual labor to get your mental voice talking.
I was working for an Analyst & Consulting firm in Princeton, NJ as an editorial assistant and they needed another analyst, so they “promoted” me. It was basically baptism by fire. My boss thought nothing of sending me into New York City to give a presentation to a client when I had, oh about 5 days of experience under my belt. It was terrifying and I did make an ass of myself. Soon, however, I was writing Advisories and White Papers and helping draft SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analyses. I also gave media quotes. Sounds exciting, right?
I’m a writer, but there’s some kinds of writing that I just don’t enjoy. It’s easy if you have the technical background because then you’re following that cardinal rule of writing–writing what you know (a rule, btw, that we should and do break as writers, but it involves a lot of research to make up for lack of familiar knowledge).
I met with clients–and we had some pretty cool ones. OnStar when it was owned by General Magic and not General Motors. Ours. Telenavigation, a company who was doing turn-by-turn directions in cars before that technology hit the market. Ours. TellMe, who thought that they could create a voice Web similar to the Internet and didn’t, but now supply the dreaded yet famous voice menu we all hear when we dial any company these days (any time you hear that digital boop boop boop as the system is calculating–that’s theirs). Our client. It was fun; it was exciting. I was moderating sessions in Tier 1 cities with Tier 1 technology companies. I once asked the VP of wireless at Sprint a question that nobody else had the balls to ask him (no, I don’t even remotely remember what it was) simply because I didn’t know better. People thought I was gutsy–I was just naive.
My point, because you’ll find that I have so much to say that I sometimes stray far from it, is that I used to be in the eye of the technological storm. (Sadly, I often ask my kids to set up a movie for me now because three remote controls are two too many.) Yet, I’d gladly give up most technology in exchange for the simple things and a much quieter life.
So, as I mentioned, I spent hours outside today. It was the first day I had no pressing projects and Mother Nature provided New Jersey with a beautiful, warm and sunny Spring day, so the timing was perfect. I wanted to get my seeds in the starter kits and plan out the new garden I wanted to do in a bigger part of the backyard. I also thought I’d finally build the fire pit that I’ve meant to build for a few years now. When we had our patio redone about 6 or 7 years ago, I’d saved all of the old bricks behind the shed. There are quite a lot of them.
As I was building the pit, I thought about how happy I was just doing work outside on a beautiful day. I love creating things, and gardens and even fire pits fall into that category. I got my seeds into their little homemade “terrariums”–I’m hoping to have the largest garden yet this year. I have no doubt that I’d be happy on a farm. I’ve even considered having chickens in my backyard. There’s something to be said for growing your own food and certainly, nothing is as fresh as a vegetable just picked from a garden. When it comes down to it, isn’t growing something one of the most important things we can do?
So many of the “careers” and jobs out there are pointless and meaningless–like my job as an analyst. We weren’t creating anything lasting, and that’s what I want to do. Whether a garden, a fire pit, or a book whose words resonant with even one person years after I’m gone, I simply want to create.
Oh–and guess what the entire family did tonight? We didn’t watch TV and the kids didn’t get on their iPads. Instead, we sat around the fire, roasting marshmallows and filling in Mad-Libs. We saw the first star appear in the night sky and watched geese fly overhead. It was peaceful, it was relaxing, it was wondrous.
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