Back in the early ‘80s when I was a young wife and mother, my husband owned a car leasing company in Beverly Hills. For many years, I drove really nice cars, Cadillacs, Mercedes—even went to Germany to pick up several Mercedes that were shipped home and I drove one for years. I was never the station wagon kind-of-mom; I guess I got used to the luxury cars! We even drove Johnny Carson’s DeLorean for a month! Had a Jag that once belonged to Sammy Davis Jr! Those were fun days.
Personalized license plates were the rage during that time and one day my husband came home with new plates for my car. They had the name of his company on it. For days, weeks, I drove with those plates on my car and felt annoyed, something about them made me feel really uncomfortable. Our marriage was going through a change: I wanted to return to college but he didn’t approve. He had never gone to college, yet still became a very successful business man and said I had no reason to have to go to college. He didn’t get that I wanted to be educated. I didn’t go.
I realized I started to feel resentment toward the license plates on my car that had HIS accomplishment on it, his success, not mine.
At the time I was in the middle of reading a book about different people who came from nothing and through hard work found success. The person that stood out to me was a little Jewish man from New York who had a pushcart on Seventh Avenue, hawking his bolts of fabrics that he paid pennies for from factories. Spending years pulling/pushing his cart and just making ends meet, a Broadway costume designer who loved his choices of fabrics, gave him a break and hired him to be the head buyer for all their textiles. He found his pushcart.
I was struck that I had NO pushcart! I loved being a mother and wife, cooking, cleaning, schlepping, having big family dinners for the holidays but something was missing. I had NO pushcart. I had nothing to put on my license plate that set me apart.
Fast-forward: divorce, major move to the Bay Area with my three children, ex-husband commits suicide, financial struggles. As always, I was reading a novel and one changed the direction of my life: An Orthodox girl from Beverly Hills is forced to marry a Yeshiva bocher, live in Israel, secluded from her family, is beaten by her religious husband, fakes her death for the sake of her child so they can escape the abuse. Lives happily ever after. WOW!
For whatever reason, this book gave me the inspiration to decide I was going back to school to get my education. It took seven years while working and raising my kids to get a master’s degree. It was the greatest gift I have ever given myself. I found my voice. I learned that my opinions, thoughts and perspectives had value, something my husband denied me.
BUT, and fast forward to now: I still have not found my pushcart.
The older I get, I question if that is the right goal: Do I continually need to struggle to find my pushcart? Is one pushcart going to define me as successful? And is success measured by having one pushcart?
I am beginning to understand that maybe, for me, one pushcart is not the answer, because and I realize this now that I have had many pushcarts! I have not been locked into a 9-5:00 profession, I have not had to dress in corporate garb, I have picked my clients by gut instinct and what I have enjoyed the most, is that each day is different! I have offered my clients a variety of services that makes each day a new challenge to create a new success!
My take-away at this point in my life, is that after all these years of feeling I had to prosper in one field of endeavor to prove success, is that I have had the creativity and ability to multitask and HAVE HAD MANY PUSHCARTS! And that’s OK! All those years of searching for only one pushcart, I see that I don’t have to mirror others. I can just be me and do my own thing. It works for me and now I know it!
Pushcarts come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, with two wheels, three wheels and maybe only one.
So I now accept that variety is the creative muse of my life, non-conformity works for me and it’s how you roll your pushcart down your path and treat those along the way that defines your journey and makes for a pushcart!