If you could describe yourself in a single word, what would it be?
As I look back on my life, I see bravery from when I was a child through my teenage and adult years.
As a child, I was absolutely tormented by kids who had a different religion than me. Instead of pretending that I was someone I was not, I stood up to them, knowing the hatred that would come my way. “You’re going to hell” or “I’m not allowed to play with you!”
At school, I got up when knocked to the asphalt by bullies, my teeth grey and the dentist convinced I would have to have false teeth at the tender age of 8.
In my 20s I loved science and was told that “girls don’t become geologists.” So, I did it anyway and was greatful that Affirmative Action was in full swing then.
In my 30’s I was offered opportunities to become a manager at a huge corporation but the fit felt wrong:full days of meetings and disciplining adults was not at all enjoyable. I would have to become someone I was not. I said “no” knowing full well that I would begin to be treated not so well.
In my 40’s I refused to be abused in a bad marriage anymore and left it, my city, and job of 13 years, flinging myself into the unknown abyss of another company, drilling a deep sea well, and working in a very hostile work environment.
In that environment, I stood up to the bullies, defended the young professionals coming behind me, and fought for their rights, knowing full well that I would be seen as a troublemaker. Combined with chronic illness, I think it cost me my job.
During my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s I continued to save and invest, taking care of my future self.
I’m not professionally trained in finance or nutrition, yet I write about both, learning as I go.
I’m not yet fluent in French or Mandarin yet, but I will allow myself to look silly, inflicting it on anyone patient enough to listen.
This week, I fulfilled a dream of cooking a meal in Provence. It seemed easy to plan a roast, potatoes and creamed zucchini and I was thrilled to buy the ingredients from the market. It was only when I saw the French cookbooks of the other chef (gourmand) in our little French-American group that I became a bit nervous. “What if this is terrible? What if everyone just has a little bite to be polite?”
I beat Doubt down with my spatula.
The meal turned out great and the other chef asked for the recipes. The kids had double helpings and I beamed.
Don’t doubt who you are.
If you feel frozen about money, use your strength to get started.
Photo of my wee kitchen in Provence