News, Or, Saturday Morning At 11:01am

I’m going back to work. On October 17th, for the first time in two years, I’ll be back in offices. I am very pleased.

As we all know, in news wholly unrelated except by timing, Steve Jobs died this week.  I am very sorry for his family’s loss.

I imagine the rest of us are sad for the imagined trajectory, for events he had yet to bring about, ideas he had yet to put forth. He probably wasn’t done yet, despite all his accomplishments.

One of Jobs’ quotations has been much mentioned.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Despite our cultural mutterings, in which we – en masse – imagine chucking our routines to become heroes like Steve,  I don’t think Mr. Jobs should be understood to mean Go Big Or Go Home. Or that we all need to drop out of college and head to Tibet. Even if that’s what he did mean, when he spoke. Reading Steve’s speeches we might suppose that happiness requires a life lived against the current, but that will depend. Exhortations to do what we cannot are just as damaging as orders to do what we love not.

Another quotation, this time by Mary Oliver, has also been seen about.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?”

The words “wild” and “precious” conflict. The terms cannot resolve, which leaves us in a state of yearning. We feel that the answer to life must be just out of reach. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.

For some of us, going to work is the point. The word “wild” bring rivers to mind, running through songs and other narrative, but rivers are often quite constrained by rock. Rock, strata, sediment. I have always loved geological terms. Igneous, porous, feldspar. Some stories are told over very long periods of time.

I will not abandon the blog. Far too much fun, far too satisfying. I envision two posts during the week, and one on Saturdays. It’s quite possible that the India series will move to Saturdays, and therefore occasionally replace the usual morning analysis. Dressing Well Without Chanel will continue, along with Polyvores, and the occasional gee whiz I like this piece of clothing I saw.

And to be accountable, that book proposal draft will be finished tomorrow. As I promised myself. I advocate acceptance, not giving up.

It’s wonderful to be 55 and going back to work. Planning my return has spun up semi-dormant parts of my brain. It turns out that when you do something over and over, what’s learned is not forgotten. And when you return to old problems, you can approach them more gracefully. There’s a wildness in knowing what you’re doing. Think of rapids, and you’re not far off.

We can ask ourselves just as well, what do we plan to do with our limited lives, as they stretch across the universe? We don’t need wild, or precious, because any oxymoron can remind us to yearn.

I was surprised to hear, in the recording of Mary Oliver’s poem, that she also says,

“I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down/into the grass”

If I could only, ever, give one piece of advice, it would be to pay attention. Time is short, but it’s very vivid. Here’s to Tibet, and getting back on the bicycle.

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  • Going back to work sounds fun and exciting, imagine all the new friends you shall make and new things to learn. I agree with the gist of your post, it appears everyone feels that something grand is meant to happen to them if they just try hard enough and I fear that sometimes people don’t know that the “grand” can be the day-to-day, a job that pays the bills, raising children, having a meaningful relationship with friends or partner, and being healthy enough to enjoy any and all of it. Good luch on the new job and I look forward to hearing about your adventures that will certainly apply to your job. XO

  • Oh Lisa I am so happy for you! Congratulations on getting back to work! Here’s to new beginnings.

  • Congratulations on your new job! I hope it is doing something you love, with people you will enjoy spending your days with.
    My return to work in my fifties brought renewed credibility and self confidence. Starting a business has opened the world to me from my home, and wonderful new relationships around the country.
    May you find joy and happiness in your new beginnings, Lisa!
    XO Candy

    9:33 pm
    Lisa said...

    Software and the Internet. My favorites.

  • How funny to see that you noted and quoted my two favorite lines from Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day:

    “I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
    into the grass”

    Those lines have always moved me more than the beautiful question that ends the poem. I recognize myself in those lines: I am good at attention, and willing to fall. It’s funny to see the words here, both because I’ve been thinking about them a lot recently, and because usually they are the drab relation to the shinier parts of the poem

    Congratulations on your new job. I am delighted for you. I hope your work is wonderful. I wish you many satisfactions and much good company.

    Someone told me once that happiness is made up of affiliation and mastery. Translated: relationships and accomplishments. Work can help add to the rich store of both those things. I hope it does just that for you.

  • Congratulations! That is wonderful and I know it will continue to make your life feel incredibly fulfilling!

  • Glad to hear it, Lisa! I’m sure you will have chosen something both exciting and challenging, and that you will approach it with the idealism of Steve Jobs, tempered with your own admirable pragmatism. I’ve long admired Mary Oliver’s triumphalism in Poppies, bringing to mind ee cumming’s ‘buffalo bills defunct’, and how she applies it with such rising force.

  • Best of luck to you, Lisa! I am glad you will still be blogging, as you are a wonderful role model in so many ways.

  • How wonderful! Have a fantastic new chapter…

  • This is all very exciting Lisa…so happy that you have a new adventure before you, and that you will continue to still be a part of the one you’re currently on…meaning your fabulous blog of course!
    Congratulations…and I can’t wait to hear more about it all!
    xo J~

  • Well look at that, you “misplaced it” and now you found it again!

    Whoever they are, they are da*n smart and just that lucky to have signed YOU on board. I’m overjoyed! And am so looking forward to Henry James class next week.

  • That’s wonderful, Lisa. Will you be cutting your hair and finding a new hairstyle now?

    9:34 pm
    Lisa said...

    I interviewed with hair like this. I’m going to assume it is OK as is. Besides, it’s so incredibly convenient.

  • These news are just as exciting as the announcment of Faux Fuchsias pregnancy last year. I am happy to follow your next steps on your blog, as long as you keep the job 100% private.

    Reading the news I have quite a few questions on my mind – maybe some of them are not too intimate and you like to share some details?
    How long will the ride to work take you?
    Will it be a full time job?
    Are you going to work as part of a team or solo?
    What is the dress code at work?
    Do you know anyone there ore is it all totally new?

    Have a nice weekend!

    3:08 pm
    Paula said...

    in all the excitement I got some words wrong: should say “I am happy to follow your next steps on your blog, as long as you don’t want to keep the job 100% private.”
    plus: “or” instead of “ore”

    9:35 pm
    Lisa said...

    Full time, managing a small team, business casual, and working for someone I knew before. So many things lined up.

  • Dear Lisa, I had over a year from work and was as happy as a clam but then when I went back to work, I realised that there was an important part of me, ie me at work, that I had missed. Go and kill them! I am sure that you will be fabulous. love Lindaxxx

  • That’s very exciting – I hope it’s fun and fulfilling.

  • Best wishes on the new job! And I hope you do keep blogging, even though it will be more difficult for you.

  • YEAH! Having recently been out of work and on the market you have my fullest respect. Looking for a job is hard.

    I guess since they hired you gray you can stay gray.

  • Wonderful! Congratulations Lisa, it sounds like you’re ready for this step and I’m glad it’s happening.

  • Congratulations Lisa!! Exciting and a great coup in these uncertain times!! So glad to hear you’ll be continuing the blog – in whatever form!! And I totally agree with Sande’s comment – a wise woman!

  • This is great news because it makes you happy and excited. So–it makes your readers happy and excited for you. I look forward to more of your perspectives from a slightly different perspective.

  • Congratulations and best of luck to you!!

  • 恭喜恭喜 on your good news. You are admirable because in the interim you have not only maintained your standards, you have refined them.

    Of course they hired you at 55. Your vitality and energy are plain in every one of your postings and endeavors. Good luck to you.–RtoP

  • Congratulations Lisa!

    It should be fun re-entering the work force and I have no doubt that you will go above and beyond in your duties and will be suitably attired :)

    I am ever so grateful that you will not abandon your blog and good luck with the book proposal.

  • Lisa, very exciting, congratulations!!

    You have a lot still to offer and accomplish in this life!

    Art by Karena

  • All the best to you in your new endeavor! Your new employer made a great and brilliant choice in hiring you.

  • Echoing the many congratulations extended. How wonderful! May you have as many years in the workplace as you wish. Work can be highly fulfilling in myriad ways. Remuneration just adds icing to the cake.

    In re the idea of wild and precious expressed by Mary Oliver: it has always been a favorite of mine, too, but the idea of the two has never seemed incongruent at all. The precious in my mind has always been the idea of something rare and wondrous dear, as each of our lives truly is in its own way. At least, I imagine, to ourselves and those who love us. And the wild, I’ve felt, is her way of saying, “Live your life, your very own, don’t quash it, and don’t let anyone else quash it,” quite in a similar vein to that of Jobs’ statement.

    We are all so pleased for you, Lisa, and your new adventure. Any employer will be fortunate to have you on board. Do keep us posted.

    9:36 pm
    Lisa said...

    Interesting, how words feel so differently to all of us.

  • Congratulations Lisa. Smart move by the company that hired you. Selfishly, I will miss the more frequent blogs, but I’ll adjust to the new schedule :) You are a very talented writer, and hope that your book proposal works out, and am pleased you’ll still be blogging.

  • Lisa, the best of luck to you on your wonderful new adventure. It’s funny how our thoughts have been similar in this way. Your new employers are very lucky to have you. When do you start?

  • There is so much overlooked beauty in the ordinary and mundane.

    Best of luck with your new venture.

  • So happy for you – about the new job as well as the proposal. You go girl! As for your blog… I really love your Saturday morning posts. Perhaps You could blog Saturday and Sunday??!!!
    Best of luck! xoxo

  • Soooo excited for you Lisa – well done! I hope to join you in the office cooler trenches soon.

    All best and will look forward to more of your post-office musings…

    Delia Lloyd

    9:36 pm
    Lisa said...

    Good luck in your hunt!

  • Wow, great news for you and your´s! Congratulations!
    Hope your working place is near your home, as the starting of it is so near too!

  • Congratulations and wishing you well in your future career.Ida

  • Here’s to a new chapter, Lisa… and all its adventures.

  • How exciting! Like Paula, I would like to know more.
    I will lurk, as always, on Google Reader watching for your posts. Let me say that I just knew something was going on a few weeks ago when your blogging presence became slightly erratic. I envisioned a passionate, romantic relationship but now I realize you must have been job hunting and interviewing.
    Here is to your new chapter! Wishing you passion in your new job. Good luck and keep posting.

    9:37 pm
    Lisa said...

    Or both? :)

  • Lisa, I enjoy your posts so much, and especially this one. Congrats on the new position, I’m certain it must be an amazing one. I’ve discovered that no matter our ages we continue to learn & grow; there’s
    just so much out there to be discovered, and discovering ourselves seems to be the most difficult one of all. Sending love….

  • Good on you for the new job! I hope it is everything you wish it to be.

  • Congratulations! I hope it all works out well and you enjoy this new chapter and experiencing new developments and challenges as they unfold.

  • Lisa

    I am so glad that you are going back anew to something you love. And very selfishly, I am even more glad that you are not abandoning your blog. The freshness and poignancy of your voice never fails to move and elevate me. And yes, I agree that the best of life is in the seemingly most mundane bits. I call that ‘finding music in the mundane’.

    Good luck on your new adventures, even if not in wild territories!


  • Wow! Talk about some news on a Saturday morning, this is definitely in that category. (Even though I am reading it Sunday night!) Good for you, and for whomever is fortunate enough to have your considerable talents and skills available, that is one huge, heaping pile of fabulosity in one human.

    Congratulations and many hugs to you,

  • Lisa,

    Congratulations. It is an inspiration for me.

    I will be returning to the U. S. in July after 11 years of being abroad and not working in a conventional job for eight of those…and I will be 50.

    I was actually going to send you a query as to what I should expect in the job market and interview process.

    Again, congratulations.

    Best –


  • I must say that I do not find wild and precious to be in conflict or oxymoronic at all…quite the contrary, the wildness is often what’s lost in our busy lives.

    Congrats on the gig!

  • Congratulations…and I am glad that you will keep the blog going. I’ve had to track down this post, having gathered from Twitter that this had happened. I absolutely love the poem you chose to describe this move…in fact, it is a poem I use every semester in my Creative Writing class. there is a package from me headed your way.

  • Just back from the land of the yurts, so I’m a little late to the party! Congratulations!

  • Oh Lisa. Once again, you inspire. Best wishes to you in your new endeavor!They are lucky to have you aboard. I look forward to what new stories you’ll share. Onward.

  • A new beginning, congratulations. Smart company recognizing the talented LPC. I look forward to your

  • Glad to hear of your excitement. Glad you nailed the draft. Delighted you won’t stop writing. I look forward to reading about your adventures–from pulling on your ten-league boots to hitting your stride. Onward!

  • What a wonderful post, it’s given me so much to think about, working and blogging has been quite hard going for me recently.
    This is very special, I have saved it to my quote folder.

    “Rock, strata, sediment. I have always loved geological terms. Igneous, porous, feldspar. Some stories are told over very long periods of time.”

    9:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    Sorry for the rough patch. Here’s to good digging.

  • Wow! I hope that you will tell us something of your work, as I’m interested to see what you will be doing. I get a great deal of fulfillment from my work, and I hope you will as well. Whatever you do, we all know you will be appropriately, and beautifully, dressed. Thank you for the lines from Mary Oliver – “wild and precious” indeed.

  • Lisa, I just saw this – I’m so thrilled for you!

    The words wild and precious can be resolved, I think – they describe my daughter perfectly. :^) Although she’s not nearly as wild as she used to be.

  • I just thought of a hair related work question. (Note–I have hair like yours–turning white–letting it do that–also long.) Does the fact you are returning to a career affect your decision about your hair?

    9:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    No, no it doesn’t.

  • Congratulations! I hope it is everything you imagine.

  • Congratulations, Lisa, on the new job! Also very good to learn you will continue to indulge us with posting regularly on your blog.


  • Congratulations on your big news! I am so happy for you and hope this position brings you much joy. :)

  • Congratulations on the new job! I hope you’ll keep posting, maybe with some solutions for the business casual/devil problem. :)

    9:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    Yes. Exactly my thinking.

  • I am so happy for you and so insanely envious! I would so love to have someone value me enough to pay me for what I can do.

    9:38 pm
    Lisa said...

    Maybe someone from your past will come looking.

  • Thank you all SO MUCH for the well wishes. Much appreciated. I am trying out a different approach for comment replies, i.e. replying singularly where there are questions, and making sure to visit the blogs of bloggers who comment. It’s an experiment given the new time constraints. Please feel free to weigh in.

    4:18 am
    Paula said...

    Lisa, I love it how you reply to comments. I even posted on this subject (how uncomfortable I feel when bloggers do write a posting but stay away from the comment sectiom below their posting).
    I can imagine it being hard to react to every single comment, having as many followers as you do. But still you managed to do so in the past. Maybe because you are a polite person? You are my rolemodel when it comes to dealing with comments. xo Paula

    10:21 am
    Flo said...

    “Please feel free to weigh in.”

    Lisa, the warmth and sincerity behind your individualized, personalized responses to each commenter was a marvel to behold, an incredible Gift of Time. And I loved reading each one of them. So, WHATEVER you need to do to juggle full time work + your blog gets my vote. Honestly, it’s just so great to hear how happy you are about this new chapter!

  • I can feel the current in your post!

  • exciting news! enjoy your new adventures :)

  • I am thrilled for you specifically, and also thrilled generally that a 55yo woman (even one with connections) can be hired in what seems a very youth-focused industry. Very best wishes.

  • Wonderful! I’m so happy you’re happy to be returning to work. Looking forward to hearing more about it.

  • Lisa, I am so happy to hear you’re going back to work, it always seemed as if you had a passion for it. Does this mean you will be dressing for work too? Exciting!

    xo Mary Jo

  • This is very exciting! Fall is a good time for beginings. Get some new back-to-work shoes and a new binder!

  • Congratulations, Lisa!

  • Glad you’re keeping your hair long, Lisa. The long ponytail looks so elegant in this picture. Jackie O had long hair into her 60’s didn’t she? And have you seen Ali MacGraw and Sherry Lansing?


  • Congratulations!!

  • I have just gone back to work this fortnight too! I enjoyed your shoe post after experiencing the same deliemma. have to note how much you are totally rocking those wedges!!