It’s Wednesday, and time for the Wickeds to have a conversation. Since tomorrow is July 4, let’s talk about independence–yours. Wickeds, when did you stop following the pack, and follow your own path?
Barb: I’m a pretty conventional person and I’ve led a pretty conventional life. I think my life branched off the main path when I spent almost my entire career working for start-ups. I loved that what I did mattered. I can’t imagine working at a place where it didn’t matter if I came into work or not. And I loved the opportunities little companies gave me as they grew. If I wasn’t always sure there would be a paycheck, it was a price I was willing to pay for the excitement of coming to work everyday and the possible upside.
Edith: Oh, man. I love what Barb says about the excitement of doing work that mattered, but that’s not what drove me. As the youngest and shortest in my class, a double Scorpio, and third child in a family of four, I’m not sure I’ve ever followed the pack. I followed my passions into auto mechanics (a girl in the early seventies), living abroad, a PhD in a largely impractical field, organic farming, childbirth education, tech writing, and finally my best, last, and favorite career: writing crime novels.
Jessie: What an interesting question. I love picturing Edith sliding out from under a car on one of those wheely boards! A couple of answers come to mind for me. The first is that I married a man from abroad and have experienced some things about life differently than other members of my family or my group of friends. The second is that I chose to have a home birth with my youngest child. It was certainly not the norm by the standards of today.
Edith: I planned home births with both my sons, Jessie. Have we ever we ever talked about yours? We should!
Sherry: Like Barb I think of myself as pretty conventional — well, maybe not during college. But even then my non-conformity was within the bounds of sorority life. I’m not much of one for doing things that are out of character for me. Wickeds, if you can think of any examples share them! I did earn my independence and learned to stand on my own two feet after a divorce when I was young. I worked for a small financial planning company and started as an administrative assistant. As the company grew so did I to Director of Marketing and Assistant Vice President. And like Jessie I married a man who had an unconventional background.
Julie: Sherry, you are the president of Sisters in Crime, and doing a lot of work to support women crime writers in addition to driving change. That feels like it defines independent to me! While I have outwardly appeared conventional for a lot of my life, I’ve developed an independent streak a mile wide. I stayed in Boston after my sophomore year of college, pursued a life in the arts, and found my path in writing and teaching. As I get older my independence morphs into stubbornness, but that’s another blog post. 🙂
Readers, how do you define independence for yourself?
My mother used to tell me that among my first words were “Me do it!” I guess I always liked figuring things out for myself, not just asking somebody else to show me how (I do remember my father showing me how to replace glass panes with putty on windows when I was about four). And I could tune our first television better than my mother. I love to learn new things!
I love that your father taught you such a useful skill at 4. I love learning g new skills too!
Hmm. Not sure I’m all that unconventional. Although I do have a stubborn streak a mile wide. I don’t like asking for help until I’m positive I can’t do it myself.
Stubborn streaks, and I have one too, show independence to me. They can also be exhausting, LOL.
I hate asking for help too. It’s a joke in my family that it’s me and not my husband who won’t stop and ask for directions.
If unconventional includes spending lots of time standing in the corner and not being able to sit due to the stinging feeling in my tush.. Then yes, I was unconventional. LOL
Not the happiest of memories. But knowing your own mind has likely helped in life?
I think of myself as a pretty conventional person. Then I think about my Christmas ornament collection, my love of Disney, my blog, my love of cozies, the fact that I never married, and I begin to realize just how independent I really am.
Independent in spirit. It makes life fun.
Well, if independent could be defined as “different” then I’ve always been very independent. Any of us who were bookworms as kids … especially those of us who were science fiction or mystery geeks … were regarded as very “other” by our peers. And even though we found ways to gravitate to other reading mavens, we were still outside the mainstream and regarded as weird by the majority of kids our age.
Once you’ve gotten that outsider reputation, you internalize it and I think it sticks with you for the rest of your life.
Looking back over what I’ve just written, I’m making it sound like I spent my life wearing a scarlet “R” (for reader). By outsider, I’m absolutely not implying outcast, just that I was going my own war irrespective of the general climate.
One positive thing about being an outsider is that you start caring rather less about other’s opinions, and start trusting your own.
I mean how independent is it to start writing your first novel at 68 (with the earliest possible publication date at 70)! By the way, just to eliminate confusion, I’m talking about ages 68 and 70 here, not years 1968 and 1970. That wouldn’t have been nearly so independent.
There are plenty of other ways I’m independent, but most of them would fall into the category of TMI, so I’ll spare The Wickeds that.
BTW, it’s good to be back. I’ve missed being able to spend time here.
Lovely to see you here Lee! I want to hear more about the book! Very exciting.
I do wonder if one of the gifts of reading is independence. We rely on ourselves for adventures of the mind.
“Once you’ve gotten that outsider reputation, you internalize it and I think it sticks with you for the rest of your life”
So true!. In my HS yearbook, I was labeled as “Most Studious”, sitting behind a desk reading a book.
I’m pretty conventional because most of the time, I’m comfortable doing the normal thing. But when I’m not like reading books, comics, etc. I do it anyway. When a co-worker boasted of only reading the newspaper, I came out of the closet about my reading passions. After spending my childhood and early adulthood listening to other, I realized that I’m not any weirder than they are.
Love that you came out as a reader!
My mother’s family was a group of conservative Republicans in my youth. However, I was a true California child of the 60’s. Boycotted Nestle products, table grapes and head lettuce. I was anti-Vietnam war and wore a POW bracelet. Like Edith I changed my own oil and pumped my own gas.
Sounds like the definition of independence.
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