I imagined Gretchen Rubin was my girlfriend.
We weren’t actually girlfriends only because we hadn’t met. I was sure if we met, we would get along because we were almost the same person. I know this because I read her book The Happiness Project, about her year-long project to learn about happiness and seek greater happiness in her life. We were the same because…
We were both women in our forties.
We both pursued traditional, successful careers.
We both have two young daughters, a few years apart, one of which was born early.
We both fight with our husbands about who will write the Thank You cards.
We both had recent success organizing our closets.
We both love to write.
Now, there might be a few differences. For example, in her career as a lawyer, she was a clerk for Sandra Day O’Conner on the Supreme Court and she is a published author of multiple books. Hmmm, well, we aren’t EXACTLY the same.
But these are just details and the one idea I hung onto the most is that she gave up a stable career to become a writer. I want to write or own my own business or both and sometimes I think I just don’t know enough or know the right people or have the right idea, but Gretchen Rubin did it, so I can do it too, because we are just about the same person (except for the details).
So, when I went to New York City a month or so ago (remember The Moth?), I randomly, just to be funny, asked my friend who lives in New York City if she knows Gretchen Rubin and could she get me a coffee date. She said she DOES know Gretchen Rubin. Well, she knows OF Gretchen Rubin.
But then she tells me the awful truth. Gretchen Rubin is rich. She comes from a wealthy family. Her husband
produces Broadway Plays (UPDATE: he doesn’t produce Broadway plays. I don’t know where I got that. He is a senior partner at a company that manages a hedge fund.) They have really serious money.
That changed everything.
My vision of Gretchen Rubin giving up her career, risking it all and taking a huge leap of faith to pursue writing, it didn’t seem the same if she was rich. I live in the middle-class-world of bills-to-pay and insurance-to-keep and dance-lessons-to-pay-for and who-knows-how-we-are-going-to-pay-for-college-for-three-kids. It feels like we aren’t the same at all anymore.
It isn’t that I think happiness is easy if you are rich. I think happiness is just about as hard or as easy, no matter how much money you have. And I still like her book. But the career transition, that is different.
(Did I ever tell you about Oprah’s dream show that made me nuts? Oh, my, I will have to tell you some time.)
So, Gretchen Rubin and I are not girlfriends any more. That is OK. I know in the overall scheme of things, I have been given so much and my problems are small and I have a lot of money, compared with everyone in the world and all that could have been. (Hey, wait, maybe we are the same?)
If I make the leap, I will have to make it on my own. I’m OK with that. I will probably just do it anyway.