Since my last vacation I have been embracing the hippy dippy earth mama side of myself (HDEM). It has allowed me to continue to vacation even though I am back on the job. I am a lot more relaxed and a little less obsessed about what must be done at the end of each day. I am embracing a more holistic view of life, with much more balance than I have had in years.
My closest friends know that I have always been a HDEM. Circumstances, mostly my job, have meant I needed to keep it in check in order to conform enough to be successful. After all we all like to eat and shelter. It is even nicer when we are successful enough in our jobs that we have enough money for a little nest egg and don’t have to worry that we are one or two paychecks from financial disaster or maybe be extravagant and take a vacation.
For years I work as a manager in the systems and information technology field for Fortune 100 companies. It was lots of old school in those days. I was younger than most of my co-workers and female in a male dominated field. I remember working across the street from an IBM office and it was there I learned about the uniform that was expected after coming from a blue-collar family in rural Illinois. White oxford shirt, dark tie, coat and no facial hair was the standard dress expected for successful men. No Exceptions! There were few women role models, but those few women did the best version of the IBM look they could muster in a skirt. Sounds sort of strange in today’s world of so much more casual, but indeed it was the way it was. At one company I was the first and only woman manager of a department of mostly men, many 20 years older than me. Talk about needing to look the part and walk the talk, I was that person. My co-workers had no idea about my secret life as HDEM, though I had a unstructured, orange sherbert blazer that I loved and wore once in awhile just to throw them a curve ball occasionally. I was following all the rules of John Malloy’s Dress for Success by day and buying my off hours clothes a Minneapolis Ragstock. I was an IBM’er by day and a Bohemian Art Fart by night. Few knew the real me.
I have been back to work now almost a month since vacation. I am once again wearing my hat as the queen of all that is technical at work. It is comfortable place to be at work. I am working with codes, numbers bits and bytes, dollars and cents, and weighing it all out pros/cons, budget and mission and putting forth ideas and methods. Once conditioned after so many years or wearing the right persona I find it near impossible to let loose during the work hours and maybe I am not supposed to. My job is different now I work from home. I no longer manage a staff. I no longer work a Fortune 100, not even a 500 company. Yet I still seek to be a good worker be and seeking to ensure that employer gets that 110% contribution from me. Before vacation it meant working long hours because I was never sure when I reached that 110%. Now the HDEM is hard at work in me. My day planner is a wild collection creativity full of quotes, pictures, doodles, ideas and thoughts, sorta of a reminder of who I AM steadily throughout the day. Reminding me of when it is time to let go of my work life. It is full of things there were no provisions made for when a Day-Timer was designed. I am letting my creative muse run wild at 4pm instead of hoping for a little time, maybe sort of, when I find some extra time when the end of the day comes at 6 or 7. I love cook and making yogurt and granola from scratch again. I am taking more solitary walks. Our TV reception disappeared and we have not fixed it, no loss there. I am doing yoga and walking instead of just walking. I am volunteering again. I am seeking out those things I want to try to see if I might enjoy something I don’t know about yet. Yep the hippy dippy earth mama is a live and well and not so sure she wants to go back to part-time.