Thankful that I have a couple errands this morning to coax me out into the world, I shower and dress, zipping into my snappy little ankle boots (I bought for the office) with leggings and a bright blue tunic top. The weather is cooler, in the upper 50s and I thrill at the opportunity to wrap up with a  large fringe shawl draped across my chest and over one shoulder. The decisive cadence of my step attracts attention–my whole look is rather dramatic, although I keep it simple, with no makeup and just a basic blow-dry.

I feel peaceful this morning, ready to pore over my short list of items to pick up at the grocery store. The only decision I must make today is what to cook for dinner. I feel purposeful in my little world, intent on selecting the greenest and the freshest produce. I want to replenish and nurture my body and my spirit.

As my half-sized shopping cart rounds a heap of potatoes and onions, a familiar face catches my eye. There he is, looking freshly showered and shaved. Dressed in a clean, black chef jacket, salt and pepper spikes in a proud messy flurry on his head–he bends over the open refrigerator case, gathering multiple containers of salad greens and baby spinach and piling them in his large-capacity cart.

The feeling of envy that washes over me is intense, a twist in the pit of my stomach. I catch my breath and look away–pretending to study the vast array of bottled salad dressings on an adjacent shelf. That’s what I should be doing right now. That’s what I want to be doing. I want to be engaged in the planning, the problem-solving, the coordination of my own production again.

Barry Kramer is a personal chef, like me. He’s not a competitor, though, because he is in the mainstream game. Our paths cross from time to time at the markets and I can’t help but envy what I perceive as his greater success than mine. I don’t fully know his story, and we’ve never even spoken, but I’ve browsed his online profile and his blog enough to know he’s been in it for much longer and seems to stay working.

I tend to view this encounter with Chef Barry as a sign. I could be wrong, though. It could just be a knee-jerk reaction. Nevertheless, I’m going to bookmark this feeling in my body–indicating a desire toward refocusing my attention back to my business. I haven’t completely closed that door.  It wouldn’t take much to turn the heat back up on my advertising and promotional efforts toward my tiny little share of the market.

It’s typical for me to reach back…to second guess every move I make that is based on my emotions.  So, I’m going to let this option simmer on the back burner for awhile. I look for signs, I wait for inspiration, guidance, direction.

At the same time, I feel a strong pull toward research and study. I borrow a stack of books from the library on the subject of career change, specifically for people over age forty. I feel ready to apply some mental muscle along with the communication from my inner voice(s) and see if I can come up with something that works. For all of us.