Today, I become a Magazine Editor!
Kaley’s words were sent from her iPhone, a hyperlink attached.
I’d almost missed the message, but closer inspection revealed our daughter was named Editor of World, the on-line magazine of the World Photography Organisation. She’d been working with the London-based operation since last year but this newest twist caught me by surprise.
I felt proud, but not as you might imagine. I was happy because my daughter was creating her own life.
A Mother's Background
I know what it’s like to labor in, or toward, a career that feels empty. Our life may appear noble, virtuous or even impressive from the outside but if our actions lack internal resonance, we can become imitators – rather than initiators – of life.
Years ago, I exited law school mid-stream. I’d been groomed for life as a New Jersey lawyer but by age 23, I’d become synonymous with the walking dead. Rather than occupying a prefabricated veneer, I felt desperate to be the genuine me. I needed room for creativity, collaboration and collective conversation. Yet all I could imagine was a future sequestered among dusty books in some private law library.
The false front was leaving me desperate but I believed living authentically would bring me vitality and happiness. I stepped out into the fearful unknown with the guilt of familial disappointment and the weight of student loans clipping at my heels.
On the bright side, the years that followed would afford me numerous business opportunities. And plenty of unexpected life experiences, too. In ways great and small, each helped me move toward the desired end of finding outlets to work and express myself in ways that were lively, meaningful and rewarding.
Today, I incorporate the fullness of my past and the ever-evolving activities of my present to blog, advocate and write ebooks. As if art were imitating life, my full passion is to inspire others to live and work in happy, rewarding and authentic fashion.
What does it mean to be authentic?
The word authentic is defined as not false or copied, but genuine and real. Latin and Greek roots speak of authentic as original, primary, first hand, or one who does things himself.
Just like a Renoir, Rembrandt or Picasso is identifiable by uniquely defining nuances, authentic living could be defined as expressing ourselves in our own style. When we are freely engaging in the development of our own life, we don’t need to compete, complain or contend with others.
Developing our lives from within, we see talents and attributes come to the surface. Ultimately, we become our own piece of art. We witness our value as we choose to express it in our lives, our careers and our respective corners of the world.
How has my daughter’s life reflected the authentic?
As a child, Kaley preferred a home-based education. She experienced what she considered collective busy work for one year but decided setting her own academic goals was better. She loved puzzles, dance, strategic board games and playing the violin. She eagerly took to travel and volunteer opportunities at home and abroad where she could meet and serve others of differing backgrounds, cultures and needs.
At age 10, Kaley launched TweenZine from the quietness of her bedroom. Before most understood the digital space, her on-line publication featured news and opinion polls that engaged fellow pre-teen readers.
In college, Kaley pursued journalism, even though the news industry was losing its financial footing, newspaper giants were consolidating and job prospects appeared dim. World events consumed her and struggling people groups competed for her attention.
While an undergrad, she boarded Semester at Sea for an educational voyage around the world. A year later, she created her own global tour starting with a one-way ticket to China.
After graduation, Kaley found her way to Harvard to pursue a masters in international relations. An early class led her to co-found Empowered Voices, a non-profit assisting enterprising women in rural Uganda. With a fellow classmate, she traveled to Africa, slept in a mud hut, and learned first-hand of the talents, challenges and aspirations of women who wanted to create a better future.
Kaley’s life has been unique, but it’s been hers in the making. She remains true to an inner call that beckons her to learn, experience and deliver expression to ideas and ideals that are dear to her heart. Neither afraid to try nor afraid to fail, she journeys on a personal path.
Today, Kaley is on-line Editor of WPO's World. She employs her journalistic talents while spotlighting captivating photos, stories and people from around the globe. Soon, she'll be moving to London to expand her life and career in new ways.
Though frequently frazzled and often over-committed, Kaley finds her European-modeled employment gives her time and flexibility for friends, family and travel.
Everyone has their own version of an authentic life, even if it's yet to be discovered. It suits them like the proper dress, the right tie or the appropriate piece of jewelry. Currently, Kaley is defined by her shoes. They’re a pair of slightly-nicked flats that support her well as she travels and reports on the sights and pulse of the world for the WPO.
Meanwhile, I'm working on the other side of a former corporate career, time as a home schooling mom and so much more. In addition to creative publishing, I'm pursuing my consummate passion and what gives me an extraordinary sense of satisfaction. I'm encouraging and inspiring others to discover and mine their own passions so they can rise to their very best self.
I’m a proud mom, but not the way you’d imagine. As a woman who struggled on her own path to find authentic self-expression in my life and career, I’m glad to see my daughter happily blazing a life all her own. The original, authentic you
I’ve shared my daughter's story plus a bit of my own. Both stories tell about creating a life and career that stem from the pursuit of personal passions. Equally important, I hope you’re inspired to pursue your passions – even if it means starting with small steps and limited measures.
Like a Picasso, a Renoir or a Rembrandt, your inner life, expressed authentically outward, renders you an authentic masterpiece, too. No one else can contribute, express and deliver in life and career exactly like you.
I’m longing to see you appear – in your own, authentic magnificence!