“You’re a ….. July 06 2015

“You’re a …..

Workaholic.”   This statement rolled off my dear friend Lucy’s tongue, describing me and my NYC work ethic, as we were catching up over wine last night at The Blind Monk.  In a millisecond, I scanned my life over the 10 years we’ve known each other and with a smile on my face accepted the moniker.  Yes, my head bobbed, I am a workaholic.  And then with the finesse of an artist, she painted my life as she saw it, with broad, colorful brush strokes, ogling over my ability to put in a 50-hour week at the office, raise two babies to teenagers, love my husband and still show up for an after-work commitment looking freshly showered.  I filled in some gaps along the way reminding her that it’s not the work so much as it is the purpose behind it.

Workaholic is such a 90s term.  This is what people of Generation X know.  We are products of the last Baby Boomers, like my parents, who signed-on for decades with an employer, aspiring to fat retirement plans at the age of 65; only to cross the finish line and realize there’s a whole lotta living left to do and purpose to fulfill.   The term workaholic is not one I am subscribing to, but one I am redefining.  Recently, I Tweeted… “The intersection of Passion and Purpose is hard to miss.”    

All my life I’ve been driven to achieve.  Caveat here, I am not the scholarly one.  Grades were EARNED.  Nothing came easy.  But in my opinion, learning is cumulative, if you allow it in.  Early on, I realized that comparisons are always drawn and my best effort would always be needed, if I wanted to be the best version of me.   In everything.  In my 20s, I took this to a new level, what more can I do, what more can I handle?  I ran for fun.  I trained for sprints, triathlons and marathons.  Each time bettering myself.  When I worked in Manhattan, it wasn’t enough to be an executive at Ogilvy & Mather.  I occupied my after hours and weekends with waitressing at the fabled Rainbow Room at Rock Center, while training for long distances.  The more activities the better and the more people I met. In fact, I dated someone who thought I could use a little self improvement, too.  How dare he?  He highly suggested, ahem, that I get SCUBA certified, take a wine course and add in a cooking class while I was at it.  Challenge accepted, DONE.   He’s out of the picture, but my skill level was raised to new heights and my interest was peaked in what I could handle.   For that, I am grateful.

This sort of way has been my way for as long as I can remember.  When the girls were young, I’d lay in bed at night exhausted from crunching numbers all day at the office, yet had just enough energy to look at picture books, my version.  There was no way my brain could process the latest novel, but it could manage colors, prints, design and even some recipe suggestions.  My side of the bed had a mountain of mags with the latest in interior home design and menus.  For years, soothing paint colors, room designs and planning for dinners with friends became my lullaby.  I can whip up a small feast for a dinner party on late notice and even claim to know a thing or two about wine selection.  Same goes for interiors and paint colors, I know what I like and what works well together.  It’s my passion.   I do it because it’s fun, and it keeps me relevant.    

Today, even as a dedicated employee with 18 years at the #5 media company in the US, I fiercely continue to pursue what is my purpose with a passion……