Finding your north star

I found an audiobook at the library the other day: “Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live” by Martha Beck. It was one of those guideposts that you come across at certain points in your life when you’re not sure you’re going in the right direction.

I stuck it into my car’s CD player this morning as a distraction from being frustrated that my youngest son left his backpack at home and I needed to to return home and then deliver it to his school because it had his lunch and his jacket inside. (He’s only 5 and he almost burst into tears as he was getting out of the car once he realized he forgot it so it didn’t seem appropriate to make it a “Sorry, it’s your responsibility” kind of lesson.)


The offending backpack and the CD.

It’s a 20-minute drive from our house to the kids’ school and about the same distance to my office, so this translated to spending the next hour in the car. And I had a deadline to meet at work. So when I got home, I grabbed the backpack and the CD, sensing I needed a few words of inspiration to avoid feeling so annoyed.

Anyway, although the book was published in 2001, it felt like it was written for exactly this point in my life 14 years later. I won’t go into all the details – and I’ve only listened to about the first 40 minutes of it so far so I don’t have many details – but it was exactly what I needed to hear.

The timing, as well as the message, was perfect. When I was about a block away from my office, Martha Beck was concluding the first “session” on the CD, saying that the next session would require an atmosphere of few distractions  – after the kids were in bed and certainly not while driving, she advised – and as I pulled into my parking spot, the jazzy music between “sessions” played.

So why am I writing about this on a Rick Springfield blog? Because her message made me think of him. How a person’s “essential self” knows what they should be doing with their life and although society may dictate otherwise, a person needs to be true to themselves to fulfill their best personal self.

Although his parents’ friends believed he should stay in high school, he set out to do what he felt he should be doing. And although he had many years of struggling and frustration, he kept right on going, pausing at times, but then continuing on. Then BOOM – extreme success in the 1980s in doing what he wanted to do, both with music and acting. Then after he felt overwhelmed, he stepped out of the limelight to recuperate. And then about a decade later, he was back at it, going, going, going.

Now it feels like he’s finally getting some well-deserved recognition for all his hard work – for music, writing and acting. Not only has he helped so many people by sharing his journey and being true to himself, but also has provided so much enjoyment and inspiration.

As for the CD and my own north star, I’m going to go listen to the next session now that the kids are sleeping.


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