I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day…
— J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
For someone nearing 50, with grownup children and a grey-haired husband of 20 years, a homeowner who goes to memorial services and has an IRA, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to be when when I grow up.
Yesterday, I came up with a new thought: I’m the Closer of the Gap.
This is, like so many things that sound new to me, really only a new formulation. It arises from a series of thoughts and conversations this week with engaging, interesting, and wondering if not wandering women, all of whom want something more or less the same: a financially secure life they make by and for themselves.
What do these women do? Well, N builds bridges, both literal and metaphorical, using organizational skills and storytelling to forge meaningful and lasting connections between people. M helps women create their own literal images to enhance how they see themselves and are seen, deepening their self-love and creativity. J teaches women movement and awareness of the body from the upper lips to the lower. And V helps theater companies become more effective at the business side of show business through better systems and communication.
And what do I do? I help women close the gap between their thoughts and their words, between ideas they want to express and the published page. I help them get their best ideas into words and out of the secret place where they hide.
I’ve been looking for ways to talk about this work for years, and every once in a while I feel like I’ve leapt forward. Yesterday I also realized that I need to close my own gap, the one between There and Almost There.
My therapist describes the gap between where we are and where we want to be as the place where the most interesting stuff happens. I agree, and I also want to run from it. As I was talking through my gap-closing skills yesterday, I suddenly had to leave table. I could feel myself entering the gap, the place where I was excited but uncertain, the place where I knew I wanted to ask questions but had no sense of how to get answers. The gap is where I spend a lot of time; I keep looking for a tool or a tip or a plan to get me out of the gap.
The thing is, I already know everything I need to know to get out. Now is the time to do.
And that’s what I’m doing here, in my daily blogging: wandering around in the gap. Gauging its contours, its topography, the dangers lurking in the dark corners and in plain sight.
Thanks for hanging out here with me. Your company is worth it.
What’s your gap look like?