I remember hearing a graduation speech that Steve Jobs made in which he commented that his life added up to a cohesive whole. He remarked that, as he lived through it, his life seemed like discrete events, or dots, on a timeline, but by looking backward, the dots could be connected in a meaningful way. I am looking backward. It has been thirty-six years since I last lived alone in this house. When I contemplate the vast landscape of my life over those years, I am amazed. Thirty-six years ago, I came to live here for the conclusion of my senior year in high school. During those months, I fell in love with a man that brought joy and possibility into my life. He has been my partner ever since. He was a defining dot. I had numerous jobs over the years, but the two most defining jobs were with a leadership training company and a bank. I learned from the others, but these two jobs were most significant in steering me in a direction that assured the outcomes that proved meaningful in my life. First, at the training company, I met a man who, before he died, forcefully urged me to honor my gifts as a writer. It was the first time anyone had defined my writing as a gift. It was the first time I considered that I had a duty to use it for more than self-expression. Second, I worked at a bank that granted me the room to grow more self-confident and it provided me with the structural framework and security to start a family. Gifts all.
I cherish my role as a mother. I knew I wanted to raise children; I did not fully understand the role they would have in raising me. They will visit me while I stay here this month, but their lives are now being populated by dots of their own. I find it suitable to be here, reflecting some on the past, but mostly cogitating on the future. I remember the young woman who lived here and I celebrate what she has accomplished. It is both more and less than she dreamt of doing. More relevant, I consider my future. There are many paths, all of which will lead me in different directions. As a result of Steve Jobs’s insight and my own observation, I know with certainty that whatever path I choose will be exactly the right one for me.