Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Swerve

I recently finished Michelle Obama's memoir "Becoming." My favorite parts of her book had absolutely nothing to do with politics.  What I loved was getting a "behind the scenes" look at a few moments of her life.  I cried when she wrote about losing her best friend to cancer at age 26.  I chuckled as she recounted the tale of Malia's prom date coming to pick her up at the White House, or the time she tried to go outside without getting permission from the Secret Service first and had agents chasing her down the hall. 

My biggest takeaway?  The fact that she credits Barack with teaching her how to "swerve."

I wish I was better at swerving.

Like Michelle Obama, I would describe myself as a "box checker." 

✔ Get good grades.
✔ Go to college... keep getting good grades.
✔ Graduate, get a job.
✔ Get married.
✔ Have a baby... have another one.

There has been very little risk-taking in my life.  Very little swerving.  In fact, swerving makes me want to vomit.

If you asked my husband about his dreams, he would either tell you they involve opening a food truck/restaurant or buying a semi-truck and starting his own company.  And as much as I love him, both of those dreams make me want to puke.  Don't most restaurants fail in the first year? And I think I read somewhere that a commercial truck can easily consume more than $70,000 of diesel fuel a YEAR.  Between that and equipment maintenance - how long would it take to actually start *making* money?

See... NO risk-taking bones in my body.  That being said, there have been some "swerves" in my life that I didn't see coming.

If you had told 16-year-old me that I was going to be the first one in my group of friends to get married and have a baby, I would have laughed in your face.  If you had told me that I was going to be a stay-at-home mom TWO separate times, I would have been shocked. (The first time was only for a few months, this time... well... we're roughly on day 1197.)  "High school senior" me thought she was going to go to journalism school, become a reporter, and work for the Chicago Tribune.  That didn't happen.

I'd be lying if I said all these swerves have been met with graceful acceptance.  But I try to keep telling myself that just because the plans change, it doesn't mean that life is flying off the rails.

And while it's probably pretty unlikely that it will lead to you spending 8 years living in the White House, maybe if you allow yourself to lean into the "swerve"... you'll be lucky enough to have an amazing experience that "box-checking you" couldn't even imagine. At least that's what I keep telling myself.


  1. Marc and Matt can open a restaurant together... if we ever live in the same city.

    1. I’d do the dessert menu!