There’s a saying that goes “When God closes a door he opens a window.” It’s one of those adages we find ourselves uttering to friends when we hear they’ve been laid off from a job, or that a meaningful relationship is coming to an end. Once in a while, we find ourselves in that moment of in-between: when we are conscious and can actually pinpoint the closing of one chapter and the opening of another. Mine was last night.
For 25 years I was a founder and the managing partner in a graphic design and advertising firm based in Des Moines, Iowa. At the risk of sounding unhumble, we were quite prominent in our little corner of the advertising universe. Last September, however, we closed. http://www.howdesign.com/article/saylesgraphicdesign/ It was a mutual, amicable parting of the ways, due to the need for both my partner and I to “do something else.” My something else is Fork in the Road, http://www.fork-road.com/ a holistic health and nutrition counseling practice. It is the perfect crescendo of all that I have done in my life so far: from the master’s degree in counseling I received at the age of 23 to the raw vegan chef certification I received in 2007. It feels right and I am very excited about the impact I am already making in peoples’ lives.
So there I was—focused on my new and growing practice—when a few weeks ago I got a call from one of the officers of our local chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF). Kathleen was calling to say that I had been named as a candidate for the Silver Medal award – a prestigious honor given to a member of the marketing/advertising community for lifetime achievement. I was stunned and a little embarrassed, as I muttered “Kathleen, I’m not in the business anymore.” Kathleen assured me that the members of the nominating committee were aware of that, and wanted to consider me for the honor anyway. I was happy to accept the nomination, but didn’t think much more about it until the week before the AAF ceremony, when I realized that I was going to be out of town the night of the event.
Last spring I had registered for classes at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition http://www.integrativenutrition.com/. This wonderful professional training program includes eight weekend class sessions in New York City. The class series commenced on Saturday, February 20, the same date as the AAF awards presentation in Des Moines. Out of courtesy, I called Kathleen to tell her I would not be in the audience at the affair. I didn’t think it would matter all that much, as I was certain the award would be presented to another of the contender; surely my name was there as a nice gesture of thanks for my past service. “Um, that’s a problem,” Kathleen told me when I called. I about fell off my chair when she confided to me that I had been selected to receive the award. With only days before the ceremony we hit upon an idea: I would do a video of my acceptance and they would play the brief clip at the event. And that is exactly what happened.
My acceptance is a mere 65 seconds out of my 53 years, but it’s a moment that holds great significance because at the precise instant my former colleagues were honoring me in Des Moines for the 25 years of my life I had devoted to one field, I was in my home state—the one I had left 30 years prior in order to move to Des Moines—embarking on my new career calling.
As a way of benchmarking this moment in my life, I am launching this blog.
I am pretty sure that my future posts won’t be quite so serious (or lengthy). I have some thoughts about topics I intend to cover, but I’d love to hear from some of you about your own forks in the road … have you had a journey like mine? Or would you like to take the first step? Please leave me comments or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.