Both/And

I saw a post on #LinkedIn a few days ago asking about the two most important business lessons you’ve learned. I have my answer. The two most important things I have learned in business AND life, love, relationships, and parenting are:

  1. BOTH
  2. AND

I’ve learned that it IS possible to hold two seemingly contradictory ideas at the same time and both of them are true. It IS possible to feel two competing emotions at the same time and both of them are equally real. These ideas run counter to our current culture of fierce alliances and bold lines drawn in the cement (not sand). I’m learning that I’ve always been counter-cultural and I’m cool with it now. For years, I beat myself up because I thought my 30s and 40s would be a time of great awakening to ANSWERS. I would figure it out and feel….settled. Complete. Whole. Secure.

I am 43 and I do finally feel complete, whole, and secure, but it’s not because things got wrapped up in a bow and I’ve arrived. As my husband and I remind each other, there’s no Hollywood ending. I am complete, whole, and secure, because I’ve finally embraced my incompleteness, my brokenness, and my insecurity.

(I think of it as trying to unknot a tangled necklace. It’s tight and jumbled and just when you’re about to give up and toss it, you find the knot that’s binding all the others and it comes undone. I was going to write about this, but then Brene Brown did and she’s amazing, and it was like I was listening to myself, so read her post on unraveling instead.)

Leaning in and softening are easier than hardening and bristling. Here are some of the both/ands in my life that I’m learning to love.

  1. I am both proud and embarrassed to be an American right now.
  2. I am both encouraged by protest marches and discouraged that they’re necessary.
  3. I both miss my home state (NJ) and know that living there permanently would not be good for me mentally.
  4. I both love my home in Michigan and wish it were closer to old friends and family.
  5. I am both relieved that my son survived cancer and pissed that he was ever diagnosed.
  6. I am both a survivor and perpetrator of gossip in the workplace.
  7. I am both grateful that I had the courage to step out on my own and frustrated that I needed to.
  8. I am both excited and terrified by every call I have with a potential client.
  9. I am both a devoted mother and a slacker mother.
  10. I am both a sinner and loved.

I’m struggling with how to end this post. I would love a bow to stick on it. But, that’s eluding me for now. So….Thanks for reading. Off to do more both/and-ing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s