Perception is everything. If we think something is good, chances are, we’ll focus on the good in that something. If we think that our life is bad, then we’re hyper vigilant to all signs that confirm it to be so. It all boils down to the perspective you choose to embrace. The older I get, the more keenly aware I am that I am in control of my perception of my world and how I choose to react to it. Not 100% in control (thank you hormones), but to a large degree. I have control in choosing what lens I use to capture my experiences and those of the people I love. What I choose to see impacts my health and joy, so why not make the more positive choice?
My friend, Dodie, and I have been friends for over thirty years. Four years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. We met in college and were inseparable. Then, a few years later, Dodie got married and moved to Michigan. Naturally, we fell out of touch for a couple of years as we focused on our children and careers. Once my youngest went to college, however, I just had to reach out. I called her out of the blue one day and she said, “I can’t believe you’re calling me today. I just found out that I have breast cancer”. She came into town before surgery and I threw her a “Bye-bye Boobie” party. All her childhood friends were there and the stories flew around the room, with a healthy helping of laughter and tears.
My brave, wonderful Dodie had a double mastectomy with no reconstruction, and after being released from the hospital she went vegan. As a trained dietician, she is a foremost expert on using food as medicine. After going through something so life altering, so terrifying, you would think that her self-esteem would be as scarred as her chest. As women, whether we appreciate them or not, our breasts are a major physical contributor to our femininity. They make us feel like women; take them away, and many females suddenly feel masculine. It’s silly, really, because femininity is far more a state of mind than a cup size. However, I know such an extreme physical change would shake me to the core. But not my girlfriend. She saw beyond the shallow physical realm and celebrated herself and her life. Here’s the perfect example of what a badass Dodie is. We went clothes shopping the other day and with everything she tried on, she struck a pose and said, “Look at me! I’m stunning!” And she was right; she did look stunning. In everything. This was a gorgeous, strong, magnetic mother of four who, instead of focusing on what she lost or was missing, actively chose to see everything she was. I believe it was her spirit of feeling fabulous that made everything look so good. Not only to her, but to everyone who came near the energy that she exuded. Good draws in more good.
When I think of Dodie’s strength of character, unwavering confidence, and commitment to her health through this battle, I am inspired. Here is a woman whose youngest child was 6 when she was diagnosed; she endured the horror, pain, surgery dread, chemo, and recovery therapy of breast cancer, and she stands in the mirror with the supreme self-assurance that she is one hot chick. Seriously. The whole experience made me think of my private moments when I feel “less than.” I’m independent, I’m healthy and unscathed, yet I sometimes indulge in lamenting the sag here or the wrinkle there. I’m bringing myself down over the stupid superficial physical nuances of aging… ridiculous!
Growing older is the only way to a longer life. Age before beauty? Ha! If you live to age seventy without a single mark, laugh line, scar, bald spot, then I don’t think you have lived well, good sir. So why waste energy pointing out all the flaws? To direct your good energy into criticizing the physicality that actually brought you this far is just counter-intuitive. It’s like “thanks for picking me up when I was stranded, but before I go, I have to say that your car sucks, your music sucks, and something really smells in here.” Dodie showed me what a disservice I was doing to myself by my self-critical perspective. Whereas Dodie chose to focus her energies and perceptions to make herself and those around her feel as confident and beautiful as possible, I have been guilty of using that energy to bring myself down. Shame on me.
So, it all comes down to this: perception and perspective are the tools that separate a mediocre life from an exceptional one. We are all exceptional. However, only some of us believe ourselves to be exceptional, and that makes all the difference.
I’ll leave you with a treasured quote: “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” –Marianne Williamson
Perceive it, and be it, baby!
For me, the best part about Thanksgiving is not that it’s a stepping stone to Black Friday. Nor is it the football. Nor is it the comments from various sisters that your “bangs look weird.” It’s not even about eating all that butter. Thanksgiving, for me, is just about being together, with everyone contributing to the creation of a great meal. When food, love, wine, and music conspire, feast becomes fest.
It’s a shared, collaborative vision where everyone’s intention is the same: to be joyful, playful, and just plain full.
I’ve lived in the same house for 23 years. It’s the only home that Madelyn, my “baby,” has ever known. I purchased the house when I was 28, 7 months pregnant, and wrangling two other children, ages 5 and 3. Yeah, it was hectic, I couldn’t see my feet, and a decision had to be made quickly. So after waddling through various showings and writing off countless properties because of this or that, I found the home that I arrogantly called my “starter.” What I didn’t realize then was that this house was my starter home, but not in the way you would think; it housed the start of my newly completed family- me, my three girls, our cat and dog- and it has been the steadfast, if not slightly crooked, home that has fostered us ever since. It has seen 23 Thanksgivings. The memories are practically dripping off the walls.
So back to me pregnant and in a muumuu…what ultimately sold me about the house was its kitchen. It covers the entire back of the house. The house isn’t very big, so relatively speaking the kitchen takes up the largest space. And man, has this room seen a lot of action. By action, I mean dancing. Madelyn grew up dancing to her reflection in my range oven. I’d be making corn casserole or stuffing as she danced between my legs to Frank Sinatra, fascinated by her reflection in the dark glass.
Don’t let the name Murphy fool you. I’m 100% Italian. The best feeling as a child for me was coming home from school and getting a waft of what Mom was cooking up for dinner. It smelled like love every day, and it was. Because those memories and the classic Italian equation (food=love) so impacted me, I continued that tradition with my girls. They may be 50% Italian, but they sure act as if they just got offa da boat. Cooking dinner is a process, and wine and music are the sous chefs. Anyone who has children knows of their irrepressible compulsion to be joyful. Couple that with food and some tunes, and you have yourself a show!
Naturally, Thanksgiving is at my house this year. I could easily prepare the old family recipes myself ahead of time, but that would take away all the fun of it. Besides, all of my girls have grown up to be damn good cooks! I can envision my kitchen in a just a few days, when the 28th rolls in. Megan, my eldest, thoughtfully preparing vegetables and having my son-in-law taste to evaluate the seasoning. Ali, my middle, creating some kind of cheese plate while simultaneously doing ballet moves at the counter. Maddie, wearing six-inch heels, no apron, and throwing flour in a bowl for a new cake recipe “that we just haaaaaave to try.” There will be commotion, music, wine (c’mon, we’re Italian), and common vision; it will culminate in literally taking it all in and savoring all that goodness we created. What a great moment.
Then we’ll crank up the tunes for a dish-washing dance party. I have the Frank Sinatra already queued up.
Today, I found out that the Western Black rhino has been officially declared extinct. The last living few were seen in 2006. After 7 years of hopeful searching, no other Western Black rhino has been spotted, which leads zoologists and conservationists alike to assume extinction.
Think about that: an entire species has been wiped off of our planet. Gone. Forever. And it was not the rhino’s fault. It didn’t party too hard or borrow too much money from loan sharks; it simply had the misfortune of sharing its habitat with human beings. You could say that the rhinos were brought to extinction due to aggressive poaching, a lack of conservation funding, and inadequate legal systems to keep poachers at bay, and you would be right. But these reasons all really boil down to greed and not caring.
Humanity is a great creator, a brilliant architect and inventor, an ambitious and resilient force. On the converse, we are also vicious destroyers, selfish pursuers, and horrifying promoters of instant gratification. Consequences be damned! Raise cities, level populations, hell, take 8000 cans of hair spray and empty them into the sky just because you feel like it. Why not? We rule the Earth, right? Surely we know best? Tell that to the Black Western rhino.
How did we get here? How does it take the massacre and death of a whole species to make our heads tilt and our mouths issue a little sigh? Have our accomplishments and advances become so astounding that it takes an astounding loss to make us pay attention to the decay of nature?
This is not a condemnation of my peers. I’m not pretending to be a raging conservationist who has spent the last 7 years raising the alarm about Western Black rhinos and other severely endangered species. Frankly, I didn’t even know that Western Black rhinos, a rare subspecies of Black rhinos, existed until it was too late. I have no right to wag my finger and righteously declare, “shame on you.” Rather, there should be a resounding “shame on us.” As members of the human race, you or I may not have done the actual hunting, killing, and harvesting of these rhinos, but we still have committed an irreversible injustice on our planet. Moreover, we collectively continue to hurtle towards a future where the survival of all species, including the human race, is threatened. The same inner fire that has driven us to develop written language, Stonehenge, and penicillin has also manufactured the guns, toxins, and markets that slaughtered the rhinos. We can only gloat as the supreme species for so long, because the thing about fires is that they burn themselves out. Flames do not moderate their rate of destruction; they burn and burn until all of the oxygen and fuel is gone, and they eventually extinguish themselves.
We cannot resurrect the Western Black rhino, but we can cling to the power of resurrection. Reuse, recycling, and re-utilization, not just of physical materials but of our knowledge and human history, are a means (the means) to achieve a sustainable future. Nothing is permanent, but we do possess the power to prolong our lives, the lives of other species, and the life of our planet. All it takes is genuine care, and a touch of modesty on our part would also go a long way. Let’s focus our fire on renewing the Earth as opposed to consuming it. After all, it’s one world, one chance… be gentle.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the passage of time lately. More specifically, I’ve been considering certain “passages of time” and how we treat them.
I have surpassed ½ century of being me (stop snickering, it goes quickly!) Moreover, I have raised three daughters, the youngest of which is about to turn 23. They are all well into adulthood. So, in review of my own experiences and as witness to those of my daughters, I have some observations I thought I’d share.
When you are 0-2 years… as a young person, each new accomplishment is greeted with astonishment– Hey! My mom doesn’t disappear when I can’t see her! Yay!
Then you flash forward into adolescence.
When you are 15 -18 yrs… Hey! My mom doesn’t disappear when I can’t see her! Damn it!
Perception is relative and time-sensitive. Moreover, as you become relatively older you become more sensitive to time. Oh, the irony!
When we are young, every accomplishment- each milestone- is a door to be charged through. We look forward to the next hurdle to jump and we race towards it with everything we’ve got. I know how I approached the big developments: Diaper or big girl toilet? I get to be a big girl! Tricycle to two-wheeler? Teach me! Teach me! I’m a sucker for praise and I can impress the boys when I cruise. Drivers license or let Dad be my ride? The moment I’m 16, I’m at the DMV looking cute…does this gloss make me look fat? College? You don’t actually have to move me into my dorm room…just slow down to 20, Mom, I’ve got this! 21st birthday? Beginning at 12:01 I’m legal and shots for all! 12:21– Puke central.
You see my point? Let this photo of my daughter on Christmas Eve, 2009, drive it home.
Then, somewhere down the line, the velocity of enthusiasm for the next great adventure starts to slow. We go from running through the door, to walking through, to admiring the casing, to clinging white-knuckled to the casing while trying to evade the unknown on the other side of the threshold. Doors once thrown open with unfettered abandon I now only open enough to peek my head in and look around first. What was once the next big step, rung, advancement- whatever words you use to envision next- has now become a void. It’s a void because we are avoiding it. Why do we no longer welcome change? We’re all on a path. We know from observing our elders the basic flow of the path, and we know that the only thing we can count on is change. However, despite what we know, we’d like to change that whole change thing.
I think that as we age, we slowly become exhausted from pursuing all of those milestones. Physically, life takes its toll. We go from running on pavement to running in sand, and then finally we’re trying to sprint underwater. We may be moving more slowly, but we’re still going and our resistance to what’s coming next also increases. Upon reaching the summit of our lives, we get to a point where we stop feeling like we’re ascending, and we think that all we can do now is tumble down the other side.
So, what do we do in our battle against time? We flail, we get too much Botox, we wear inappropriate clothing, we drink, we buy obnoxious cars… we resist, despite knowing that resistance is futile. We’ve all seen the 70 year-old woman with her wrinkle-free skin stretched to capacity claiming “good genes” and nutrition are the source of her unnatural face. Or the 14 year-old who cops an attitude and some red lipstick and tries to buy beer. It’s just silly. Either scenario elicits the same reaction of “Oh, look at you, you sweet, dumb thing.” But there is the graceful approach to time: acceptance. From cradle to grave we move down life’s path. We can go kicking and screaming, or we can put our shoulders back, head high, and keep walking. Either way, we’re going.
As kids, we hurdle forward, pitched, and wrecked, and absurdly resolute, driven despite everything to make good on a new shore ( this is me plagiarizing & paraphrasing from my favorite Barbara Kingsolver quote). As grownups, we cling to the familiar shore, even if it is terrible. The crazy thing to remember is that we are still that person we were at age 2; we still occupy this world and we are still made up of the same stuff we came in it with. We are just weary. But there are still choices to be made and changes to come; there are more doors to open as the ones behind us close.
Who chooses a tricycle when there’s the two-wheeler? Who opts for Dad rides when the license is but a DMV visit away? Who chooses to rage and fight against time when they can instead embrace it and look toward the horizon with wiser, albeit bi-focal-bearing, eyes? There’s still a lot of life left in these old bones, and I intend to keep on walking.
And how do you think my daughters learned to dive in the first place?
One morning, I was having a conversation with my eldest daughter, Megan. I had woken up in a weird mood and I said to her, “I don’t know if I’m happy or sad today.” Her immediate response was, “Well, if you have a choice, then choose to be happy.” She said it so matter of fact, so simply, so true. This inspired me to think about how people tend to address their moods, myself included. Why is it that our “go-to” mood trend leans toward lamentation rather than celebration? When we are in a state of fluctuating emotions, why do we go more Eeyore than Pooh? Me? I’m Tigger… because I bounce.
One of my of my favorite inspirational quotes begins with, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” It begs the question: why is it easier to latch onto what is wrong than what isn’t wrong? I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I have come up with a theory. If life hands you a raw deal, or you’re wounded deeply by someone or something, then no one, not even you- actually, especially you- expects anything extraordinary from you. You get a “bye” on your life. When you’re overwhelmed or some serious shit hits the fan, you’re like a boat whose engine has sputtered and died. You’re at the mercy of the waves and you watch them coming for you over and over again. How can you get the motor started when you have no energy to pull and pull until the engine fires back up? When you submerge yourself in how life has leveled you, you give yourself permission to not act. But you can’t forget that there is another option: hope for help, but still row like hell for the shore.
When you actively choose to believe that you are powerful beyond measure, you recognize yourself as a force capable of getting out of a bad place. No more sad little boat for you. You are a cruiser, a submarine, a warship; you are not inherently above despair or strife or struggle, but when that storm finds you, you weather it. To forge ahead, you have to act, react, and take charge. Sometimes, feeling bad feels really, really good. Or at minimum, feeling bad feels familiar… familiar enough to make you slap on some sweat pants, order a pizza, and curl up on the floor. Now, sometimes indulgent self-soothing is just what the soul needs; it’s a nice occasional emotional outlet. However, when you coddle yourself enough to construct a couch out of old pizza boxes, you are doing yourself an enormous disservice. Moreover, you are still an emotional wreck.
I have always told my girls that when shit goes down, it’s OK to feel sad. In fact, I encourage them to feel it deeply. The only way out is through. Take it in, process it, and feel the ick. Take a day, take a week, take a walk and write it out. And… when you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, you pick yourself up and find a way out of this place. You bounce like Tigger and turn the page. No more Eeeyore for you.
Little did I know as a self-conscious 16 year-old- sitting in an unheated, empty house at 7 AM on a Sunday morning, somewhere in the broader Chicago suburbs, sluggishly eating donuts by cell phone light and waiting for buyers to arrive- that I was learning invaluable lessons about how the real world works, and therefore, becoming kind of a cool chick. My sisters and I were up before sunrise with our mom many Saturdays and Sundays to help run Murco auctions. We were like farmers heading out to the fields. Or, more accurately, and depending on the clientele, like soldiers heading off to battle; the 4 of us armed with clipboards, sharpie markers, and coffee, and clutching sheets of stickers that said “SOLD” with the hopes we would have to use them. You know that joke? The one parents make at dinner parties about only having kids so they can help around the house? I’m pretty sure my mom was only half-kidding when she said that joke. Actually, I’m certain she wasn’t kidding at all: Murco was a family affair through and through, and although it made for some tough weekend wake-ups, I’m so glad my sisters and I were privileged enough to witness the ins and outs of running a business and realize what an impact we, and this company, could have on our large community and our even larger Mother Earth.
Let me be clear here: Murco didn’t make me “cool” in the traditional sense of the word. This is evidenced by the fact that I’ll never be able to pull off saying “YOLO,” execute a successful high-five, or look an attractive man in my dating range in the eye without doing a nervous dance move and pivoting and running in the other direction. But working for Murco made me cool, in that, as an 11 year-old I could walk into a friend’s house and compliment their parents on their original base molding. It made me cool, because by the middle of high school I knew when I was being low-balled on a Tiffany sconce. It made me cool, because when I went to house parties in college, I was less interested in playing beer pong and more interested in finding out what the cabinets were made of. Okay. I’m hearing it now. Maybe “cool” isn’t the right word at all. But being raised in the ol’ home demolition circuit did make me knowledgeable in things that were normally reserved for boys, like how to remove quarter-sewn oak, or how to re-install a toilet (actually, most men I know don’t even know how to do these things) so that’s kind of cool, right?
My mom was always dead-set on raising strong, independent women. When I asked her in elementary school for some help with my math homework, she’d raise an eyebrow and a glass of red to her lips, and with a gleam in her eye say, “I passed 3rd grade. I already did all my homework. Now you do yours.” Then she would go back to stirring her pasta broccoli. The lady had a point. In kindergarten, I have a vivid memory of sitting on the classroom’s carpeted floor, hearing other kids try to answer the prompted question “What chores are you responsible for at home?” I sat wide-eyed and baffled when my classmates struggled to think of something to say. Some even had the nerve to list making their own bed as a chore. Oh la frickin’ la! I remember thinking. It’s your bed, who else would make it for you? When it was my turn, I just started listing things. “Mow the lawn, clean the gutters, clean the kitchen- but not just do the dishes- like, really clean the kitchen” I explained while giving dagger eyes to the lazy babies who dared call themselves kindergartners. In hindsight, it was very bold for a girl wearing high-waisted spandex shorts to be so judgmental of others, but I think my 6 year-old self was righteous in her indignance.
Helping out around the house, or with Murco, was never a question. My mom is a tough cookie, who approached raising kids with the same passionate determination she must have used to get her business off the ground in the early days. I can imagine people at those first auctions looking at her like I did when she told me I’d have to do my own math assignments… with confused disbelief. And my mom, in both situations, confidently carrying on thinking: I’m doing something really good here. You just don’t know it yet. I went on to be the multiplication champion of 4th grade and Murco is the awesome entity it is today, proof that there was -and is- method to my mother’s madness.
My sisters and I had lots of different jobs with Murco throughout the years. Before I could tie my own shoes , Megan, Maddie, and I had an assembly line on the living room floor to get the mailers out. This was in the days before internet and we had a very sophisticated system in place: one of us would fold the flier and put it in the envelope, the next would lick it shut and put the address sticker on it, and the third would be dancing around whimsically, annoying everybody. I’ll let you guess which one I was. A couple of years later we graduated to copy editing. We’d sit around the table giggling, brainstorming puns about materials we wanted to highlight. Mom would throw out an item: Door. “This would look a-door-able in your home!” Too easy, Maddie. “Don’t lie door-mant, snatch it up now.” Decent, Megan. Creates sense of urgency. “Be entrance-d by this door, it’s exit-actly what you’ve been looking for.” Stop it, Ali, go back to dancing like an idiot. Once we got old enough, we started working the auctions themselves and that’s when the real fun began. Megan normally handled the on-site accounting, Maddie marked things as sold and issued permits, and I still danced around like a fool, but used my sweet moves and loud mouth to help corral buyers into the action. In those days on site at the various Murco properties, I learned a great deal about building materials. Yep. I think it’s safe to say, that out of all the 16 year-old girls in my high school, I knew the most about used building materials. Just a wild guess. As a teenager, I remember walking into mansions that were about to get the wrecking ball, speechless… how could anybody just throw all this away? Why would anybody go buy this new when it’s all right here? The Viking ranges, the antique chandeliers, the copper and wainscoting piled high in the basement, long forgotten. It’s truly remarkable, and shocking, the things that are torn to the ground.
The concept of re-use was ingrained in my bones at a young age and has fortunately followed me into adulthood. The fact that I don’t own a house hasn’t stopped me from incorporating re-purposed building materials into my living space. My first ever Murco purchase was a giant iron fish lantern that I hung proudly from my childhood bedroom ceiling (my mom cut me a deal; I think I only shed about 5 bucks on this gem, and trust me, it is a gem). In college, I couldn’t change the ply-wood doors in my first apartment, but I did swap out the hardware for some vintage crystal pieces I got at auction. Same goes for my first apartment in Chicago out of school; I couldn’t afford a place with a newly updated kitchen, or oak floors (I graduated with a French degree, people) but I knew I could afford to fix it up. My mom, the reuse guru herself, walked into my first place, and with her hand covering her mouth, she began checking the years on my worn appliances, running her hand intrepidly on the beige Formica counter-tops, and inspecting the cheap, crooked plastic blinds. When she spotted the flickering florescent light in the bathroom, she got a look on her face that can only be described as “horrified,” like Harry Potter seeing Voldemort. Or you looking back at pictures of yourself at prom in the eighties. My mom stopped, took a deep breath, and announced after a contemplative moment, “Ok, we can work with this.” We went about turning that place into a cute, cozy, little niche in the world that I was proud to call home. We swapped out the florescent fixtures for Lighting One designs. We replaced the awful painted closet doors for some oak. We took out the flimsy white fan, and put in an Emerson. We upgraded the blinds to a nice wood version. We graced the space with charming sconces, and a really neat bookcase. It wasn’t perfect, but it was mine. This love of incorporating re-use isn’t contingent on being a broke twenty-something; it’s the best option for anybody who likes to get creative with their space and make it theirs own from the ground up. I don’t fantasize about buying a nice house, I fantasize about buying a fixer-upper and turning it into a nice house. Truly.
I work in Europe now and I can’t help but view certain things through my mom’s eyes. While cycling through the Netherlands, I imagine my mom jumping up and down with excitement over the giant-beveled glass windows that characterize Dutch front rooms. Walking passed cathedrals in France, I picture my mom measuring the thickness of the impenetrable, carved wooden doors with a smirk in her eye. I see her guffawing at the vintage shower heads in Irish country houses and pricing hydrangeas that line the walkways to Norman ruins. My mom’s enthusiasm for what she does is contagious. Although Murco has grown and changed from a grass-roots operation on our living room floor to a vital cog in the waste prevention machine, my mom’s passion for what she does is unwavering and inspiring. Getting giddy over salvaging materials may not be “cool,” but seeing the potential in things that others have forgotten, working hard for a business you believe in, and letting your daughters come along for the ride is definitely cool… and I do mean that in the traditional sense of the word.
Take this job and love it.
I have always worked for myself. In high school I did the babysitting thing and I also cleaned a neighbor’s house once a week. In college, I extended my cleaning business, where every Friday I would iron Dr. Down’s shirts for hours on end in the basement. I had an office job right after college and I got fired. I’m just not cut out for the corporate path; I need to be my own boss. This is probably best explained by my career in aerobics, before Murco was ever conceived. Let me explain to you the origin of Jazzercise Jodi.
In college, after packin’ on the freshman 15, I went to an aerobics class. Watching the hot little instructor yell and sweat and dance along with my fellow slightly tubby peers, I enviously concluded that I too would be skinny… if I were getting paid to exercise. And that was my first eureka! moment. That’s it! I went to the YMCA and offered to start an aerobics program. I had no clue what I was doing, but I did it with enthusiasm. I taught 2 classes back-to-back 3 times a week until I graduated. I made money, lost the 15 pounds, and learned that I could thrive under pressure when I was in charge. To all those girls that I tortured with crunches and sweatbands, I apologize.
I got married immediately after college and discovered I was pregs with my first daughter, Megan, two weeks following the wedding. Whoops. Not the most ideal timing, but what the heck, the universe had a different take on what constitutes “ideal.” Much like my freshman year at the University of Illinois, I found myself in new terrain with a rapidly expanding belly. But my stint at the YMCA had taught me that I could slap on some spandex, walk into a room, and figure it out. Wingin’ it was my business model. I had no idea where I was going to land at the time, but I knew it would be on my feet.
Shortly after Megan was born, so was Murco. My little family and I were living in our first home, and it needed some lovin’, big time. I had all the enthusiasm for fixing up our fixer upper but was astonished to find out how much building materials cost. When your disposable income went to disposable diapers even $100.00 was too much. I can recall the moment my youthful exuberance was dashed by economi-reality. Wait…. a new door costs $120.00 and it’s going to cost another $100.00 to hang it? With a baby on my hip, I kept thinking to myself, there has got to be another way. Then came the second eureka! One day, driving through Hinsdale,IL, I saw houses being torn down that I would gladly have given a body part to own. As I watched the various materials being unceremoniously dumped, bumped, and stumped, I thought, hey maybe my $100.00 door is in one of those houses …And she’s off!
Over time, Murco has become my avocation. It evolved from a way to help myself to a means of helping thousands of families help themselves. I’ve got to say, upon reflection, it feels pretty good.
But in the thick of things, in the day-to-day reality of raising 3 girls while working, there were some dark moments. The relentless pressure of juggling work and family started to weigh heavy. I became beleaguered, weighed down by my perception of my life. All the responsibilities of home and work were on my shoulders. It’s too much, it’s so difficult, whahhhhh! Then one day, out of the blue, my victim veil was lifted and in poured the light of a new perspective.
This caustic attitude of “I have to” was replaced with “I get to,” and that made all the difference. Suddenly, all the burden of my work became blessings. “I have to work” became “I get to work when I want.” “I have to juggle work with my girls’ afterschool activities” became “I get to juggle.” I can stop work for the day any time I want. How many mothers out there miss these activities because they can’t leave work when they want to? What is my freakin’ problem? I’ve got life by the ass, baby! And that was my third eureka! moment. Once I opened my eyes and saw privilege where I used to see only obligation, I was over the moon.
I have held various titles throughout my life: teenage cookie baker, cleaning lady, aerobics improviser, office drone (very, very briefly), etc. But my two favorites are mother and entrepreneur. It took a lot of trying and three epiphanies, but I found my way (well, stumbled really… but with panache!) to my role as creator and President of Murco. So, for any of you who, like me, just couldn’t really cut it in the typical job world, I want to remind you that there are alternate paths for us folks. Always remember: take your job and love it.