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  • Cathy Stenquist

You're not all over the map...

You Are the Map!


On this day during National Poetry month, I'd like to share with you one of my favorite poems.


The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference.


I follow Jess Keating, an author, cartoonist, zoologist, and creative coach. I LOVE her newsletter as it always has a gem. Today's opening article really struck a chord with me- The Time I Almost Screwed it All Up (A quick story about how I got here, in hopes that it might help you accept the wild, unyielding parts of yourself, too)


I highly recommend subscribing here and reading it. https://www.jesskeatingbooks.com/epicemail


You might know someone who could use her message.


"And you should also know that, if you’ve ever felt like you don’t fit, you’re not alone.

But you were never meant to fit.

You're too original, too multi-faceted and brilliant and full of creative power.

You don't need to fit. You need to look to your mountaintops.

It’s okay to love what you love, and build a life using all of it. The only signposts you need are the ones built by your own intuition, and the minute you start to feel constrained by someone else’s valley, just know:

The mountaintop is always there for you.

You aren’t all over the map.

You are the map."


I think our society conditions us to think that after we graduate high school we MUST go to college and somehow know EXACTLY what we want to do with our lives. Some people do, most do not. For some, it is a lifetime of trying different things or heading toward that one vocation, that one goal. For some of us, it is about the journey.


I was blessed to have a husband who worked hard for our family and enabled me to try different careers at different times during my life. When the kids were little, being a licensed daycare provider allowed me to stay home with them. As they got into school, getting up at

4 a.m. to be the opening manger for a bakery and being home when they got off the bus, fit in well. And so it went. Each stage brought new challenges and opportunities that I fit into my life.


Over the last 40 years, I have been:

  • A check sorter/ bank statement mailer

  • Sales person and night manager at assorted retail jobs (Crate & Barrel, Fabric Place to name a few)

  • Opening Manager at Bakery on the Common

  • Licensed Daycare Provider for 6 little ones

  • Custom Cake decorator

  • A seamstress sewing wedding attire, drapes and bedding

  • License and Trademark Administrator for TJX. Cos

  • Director of Religious Education/ Confirmation coordinator at St. Mary's

  • Editorial coordinator at Charlesbridge Publishing

  • A mural artist

  • and currently... an author.


For my job tracking licenses and paying monthly fees for TJX Co.s, I moved into it, not with a CPA degree, but with cumulative experience gained from many other administrative positions I had held. This housewife from Holliston got to travel to Hong King and London, something I could never have imagined. Sometimes a new opportunity will present it self in the most unexpected moments.

It isn't always a straight path to find your career. You may even be like me and have MANY things you do throughout your life. I am the writer I am today because of all these experiences, and I would not have missed any of them for the world.

What kind of winding road have you taken?



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