So, What do you do?
I fielded this question over and over as I waded my way through a sea of extroverts at a networking event disguised as a gala. This shouldn’t surprise me. This wasn’t just any gala. It was the gathering of many of Austin’s greatest current and rising leaders, who were chosen from an even greater pool of leaders to participate in the Leadership Austin program. I was playing the role of wife to one of these great leaders. The hard part is not being the “wife.” I love this role. We make a point to be the founders of each other’s official fan clubs. He makes it easy for me. I’m quite proud.
The hard part is answering that question.
So, what do you do?
It is innocent. Not meant to offend or judge or rank or qualify. It is a question we lead with in just about every social setting. But here in this room, it is suffocating. The enterprising energy is palpable. These are people that are doing amazing work and being recognized for it. They feed off of one another’s ambition, motivating, cooperating, connecting. It is all very impressive. And also a little bit overwhelming for this INFJ.
Do I love what I do? You better believe I do. Am I ashamed of my work? Absolutely not. Am I aware of the value my role has on my family, on my community, on my world? This is most certainly true.
What I am ashamed of is not the work itself but my delivery to this question.
I stay home with my children.
The voice lowers with an apologetic response. I nod, bashfully. Shrug my shoulders. Start a non-profit to end homelessness? No. Open a start-up company that will design the next great app for childhood literacy? Nope. Take a stand before congress promoting energy initiatives? Not today.
What did I do today?
Well, honestly, I don’t really remember much. I’m sure I did great things. Meaningful things. And also really mundane/gross things too. There are plenty of those.
But answering this question of “what do I do” among very impressive individuals feels trivial. I would be quite judgmental myself if I argued any of them do not respect my work and my decisions. Yet still, I don’t feel comfortable with my apathetic, regretful, disenchanted reply. I left that event feeling compelled to find a better response.
Enter #weekinthelife. Designer and blogger Ali Edwards created Week In The Life™ as a way to document the story of her life through pictures and words of a single week. It so happens while perusing Instagram last night I realized that week was beginning today. Perhaps this is the challenge I need to guide my search to this question of “What do I do.” Ali Edwards describes her mission with this project.
So it is, through the lens of my camera and the written word I hope to uncover a better answer to “what do I do.” The story of my life, the life that is mine, the life I can be proud of. I’m in.
So, what do I do?
Stay tuned. I’m excited to find out.