Thursday, October 11, 2007

Three turns

My nanny* and I were staring down at Dylan, Mr. Delicious. We do this alot. I think she loves him as much as I do. He lies back, looking at us, all gums and cornflower eyes and pale, spotless skin. "I can't believe how different he looks," nanny says, referring to the two months ago when she started working with us. I agree. "He has one more turn", she says, as she smoothes her hand lovingly across his soft spikes of black hair. I look at her, confused. "Three turns. Everyone has three turns. This is his second turn. One more left." She is referring to something she believes in, something from her home in Belize or something astrological, both of which I know little about. She maintains that all babies looks turn twice and then settle in at the third. So far, she is on track. He started out a little scrawny chicken, plucked too soon, all flailing limbs, droopy eyelid and rosebud lips. Now he has morphed into a large, lean bean, except for belly that hangs over pants. His eyes usually match now, a cornflower blue with an almond shape. His chin is mine, pointed and strong. Remnants of his dramatic entry to this world are all but gone - yet it is clear that his looks are not completely settled. There is a bald patch of missing hair that needs to grow back. His legs are still pretty bowed. His teeth are somewhere beneath pink rubbery gums. There is one more big turn.

I like this concept of three turns -- three chances -- to be who we really want to be, or who we want to be with. Three big relationships, three bold career moves. This is why people love their thirties, I think. Feeling like they finally settled in to where they were supposed to be. I like to believe that we have at least this many chances to change. This has held true in my love life. I started out painfully shy, scribbling love letters into notebooks behind thick glasses and a halo of frizz. I spent the next turn in skin tight clothing -- plunging necklines, Victoria's Secrets, walks of shame, cocktails and hangovers and indulging assholes. All this lead me to a wonderful man, marriage and an assortment of less exciting underwear that now includes the extra high briefs worn to accomodate a massive C section scar.

Then there's my career. Beginning with the beauty industry that proved to be anything but beautiful. Moving on to professional philanthropy....begging for dollars for a variety of causes. This felt good, better than shmoozing for shampoo. And still, I am unsettled. I am bored. It does not fit well, despite the fact that I wear it comfortably, like the maternity pants that I still run around town in. I want more. I want the jeans that make my ass look great. I want the career that makes me want to work, that gives me the sense of purpose which my father warns me never to lose. I know what I want to do, but I am unsure how to get there. I am ready for my third turn, but this one could really use a road map, a parachute and very big break.

*Post about my amazing nanny coming up - SF in Brooklyn, you inspired the turn on this topic!


At 1:44 PM PDT, Anonymous Leigh said...

I have gotten comments from numerous friends in the last couple weeks about how devoted I am to my career, or how impressive I am in it, or something equally flattering. Yet, for me, I feel like I am mid-turn, for sure, definitely trying to figure out what exactly it is I am doing (research and advocacy, it seems) and what I want to be doing (political strategy, I think, involving research and info). I feel like this is what my 30s will be about, growing into a professional identity, and building my life around it.

I also think this is only my 2nd turn, and my 3rd will be in 20 to 30 years when I cash it all in and become the next Oprah or, as you'd like to see, Ann Lamott.

At 1:46 PM PDT, Anonymous Leigh said...

PS: I meant to post this comment on your earlier column re: advice.

Two pieces of advice Jack has repeatedly delivered in my life:

"hang in there."
"keep your eye on the ball."

(His third piece of input:
"there's no crying in baseball or insurance." this is less useful, since I work in neither. Perhaps he reminds Tracey of this from time to time.)

The advice I get frequently from my shrink, and sometimes the M.A.S., "you really need to let yourself off the hook/stop torturing yourself." You know, if I knew how to do that, I wouldn't be in therapy!!


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