This question is from the last line of the poem The Summer Day by Mary Oliver. The poem was the favorite of a colleague and mentor whose life was cut too short by cancer. It soon became one of my favorite poems, too, for it beautifully captures life’s wonders.

I have some news. I have officially joined what has been coined The Great Resignation. Articles are being written about it constantly. Pandemic insights are leading people to shift priorities in their lives and at work. Long commutes, wearing multiple hats, long hours, Zoom fatigue, loss of childcare, loss of patience, and lack of representation in leadership are no longer acceptable. There has to be a better way.

I recognize my decision to resign comes from a place of privilege. I have a life partner who works in an industry that our society values more than education, and pays accordingly. I have a terminal degree, 25 years of experience, and an amazing network of caring colleagues who want to see me succeed in whatever I do next. As a white woman, I do not face the structural racism experienced by my Black and Brown colleagues.

What do I plan to do with my one wild and precious life?

I aim to leave the planet, at least my corner of it, a little better than I found it; to love my family and friends; to add value to the world by leveraging my values, experience and strengths; to learn like it’s my job; to build the self-confidence and self-knowledge needed to be the badass authentic self I know I can be; to love myself well so I can serve others well; to bring more chocolate to the world; to pet all the dogs; to enjoy everything the beach offers my soul; to read all the books; to help individuals, groups & organizations achieve their goals; to rest and be fully present; to be with and witness strong, smart women creating change in the world; to say yes to the things and people who energize me and no to the things and people who deplete my energy; and to contribute to the self-determination of others. I want to use my privilege to help women become the badasses they are meant to be and dismantle the systems of oppression that are limiting all of us.

Goal Coach Jacki Carr recently said she was having a Mary Oliver moment. This is my Mary Oliver moment and I’m happy to share it with you. What’s your Mary Oliver moment? Email me at drkimburns@gmail.com or connect with me on Instagram at @drkimburns. You can also sign up for my newsletter, Some Things to Think About.

Kim signature

7 Responses

  1. Kim,

    Beautifully said. Congratulations on your next chapter. I opened mine in 2018 and never looked back. BTW: This is a favorite poem of mine. My final instructions are to have it read st the conclusion of my eulogy. God bless and Godspeed, Kim ❤️

  2. So I also have embraced Carol’s favorite poem and particularly that line. I am grateful that you took the time to resurrect it and delve into what it means to you. Carry on with your reflections and inspiration! ❤️

Leave a Reply to Shari A Leary Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *