Is it possible to feel like what your job actually feels like play?
Growing up, I didn’t know that was possible, but jobs look glamorous through a child’s eyes. I thought my parents’ jobs looked cool. They looked really fun. My dad was a bartender. That soda gun with different flavor was power, baby. He had limitless maraschino cherries, lemons, olives and….SODA!!! I loved eating olives and still do. Only now in my martinis. Back then, I wanted bottomless Shirley Temples. Those pink drinks I’d raise my glass for a refill as often as I was allowed. All the waitresses were older and very loving in the Italian restaurant in Center City Philadelphia. I even loved the coat check lady, Diane. They made such a fuss over me and my little sister. I loved getting dressed up and going out to restaurants. Who doesn’t?
My mom also worked in Center City Philadelphia. She was a manager at Bell Atlantic, the telephone company. She was a boss. She was a pioneer in my mind for being strong and smart, while still being kind and a woman. She wore the power suits in the eighties and I idolized her. And I always will. She would let us visit her work and spend some time there which was so magical. Going up on the elevator to the higher floors was like being on a TV show in my pre-internet mind, I-just-play-in-my-Barbies mind. Sitting at her desk and looking down below to the street where cars looked so small made me feel like a giant. As we walked the hall (little kids are not very common in office buildings) people treated us like we were celebrities. Plus, we were cute. I have to say the highlight though was the office supply room. I’ll take some pens please. Black, blue, and yes colored paper clips are the jackpot. The BEST part was using the copy machine to photocopy my hand. It seemed like a dream job.
I would play teacher often as a kid and I’d always change my name. I thought I’d marry Michael Jackson eventually. My Barbie playing always included fashion, friends, and being in love. I lived in a world of play as a child and had a great imagination and people skills. I thought I’d be a star, cause doesn’t every kid think they’re special. Some things never change, except the Michael Jackson part. I don’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I always knew I’d be a mom. Never thought I’d have five kids though.
Fast forward to picking a career. I tried psychology for a semester in college and then Culinary school. I got pregnant at nineteen and was a cook, hostess, and waitress. I set up make-up at a drugstore. I sold home goods. I stayed at home with the kids and didn’t know what my career would be or if I’d be anything beyond a stay-at-home mom. I decided I wanted to write. But didn’t think of it as anything but play. It was a hobby. I didn’t think I was smart enough to be an actual writer.
I wrote because it was fulfilling me. It was also an escape from the same day syndrome of cleaning, dishes, laundry, school pick up, talk about the weather. Writing my novel opened up a world to me. Once that door opened in my mind, writing fiction lead me to writing blogs. I gave author talks and realized I could actually teach what I’ve learned. Being open to play and not being afraid to work means the world is my oyster. I’ve taken my writings and saw they belonged in a few books…which are to come. My first non-fiction book will be coming out January 8th and I am getting more excited by the day. I love inspiring, uplifting, and empowering others. I am going to be able to work and play my whole life. Writing is both. What about you? What can you do that is both work and play?