Maui Girl and I met during a rough patch, which I’m not sure she remembers, but I do. An email was sent to me. An ear to bend, a warm heart to cry with and unbelievable compassion was provided. What a dame.
As I got to know her via her blog, Maui Girl’s Meanderings, I fell for this dame pretty hard. She’s smart, analytical and insanely objective. MauiG can see both sides of a story, even if she’s inclined to agree with a leftier side. I love this quality and wish she could infuse just a spill of into me. She’s witty, clever and a gem of a person.
Please welcome Dame MauiGirl!
Tell me about you: Your name, pseudonym, where you’re from and what your read is about?
My real name is Miriam, but everyone calls me Mimi, and that’s the name that seems to fit me better. My pseudonym is Mauigirl, because, starting in those heady days back in the early 1980s, when frequent flier miles were all the rage, my husband and I used to go there every year. Since then we’ve cut back to about every three years and have branched out into other islands of Hawaii, but Maui is still the island I know best. Plus there is a clothing store in the little town of Paia on the North Shore of Maui called Maui Girl and it just sounded like a good name to purloin.
I’m a Jersey girl born and bred – lived in the town of Nutley, about 10 miles west of New York City, until I was almost nine. Then we had an all-too-brief stint in Penfield, New York, in the still semi-rural (at that time) outskirts of Rochester until I was 14. Although we only lived there five years, they were those formative years from age 9 to 14, and I made a lot of great friends and had a lot of fun there. It was in Penfield that I learned to love bird watching and camping with the Girl Scouts and doing other outdoor activities that were easier to do up there than in the more suburban environment in New Jersey.
At 14 we moved back to New Jersey and I’ve lived here ever since. I wouldn’t change a thing, since it was in New Jersey I met my husband and have had my whole career, but I do miss doing more outdoors-y things, which is probably why we just bought a little cabin in the Adirondacks, not far from Lake George.
MauiGirl’s Meanderings came to be because about three years ago, one of my newest neighbors told me she had a blog and I was amazed. I had heard of blogs (and had even read a few) but it had never occurred to me to start one of my own. But Google Blogger made it so easy that I decided to give it a try. I’ve always liked to write (I was a Journalism major in college although I ended up working in the market research field) so it is a great outlet. I started out not really knowing what to write about (hence the “meanderings” part) but I ended up focusing more on political stories, usually with a lighter take on them. About once a week I use my cat Baxter as a way to comment on current events from a cat’s point of view, for instance.
I also got very ambitious and started a medical blog and a travel blog, but I haven’t been able to put in the time to those that I’d like. I find that one blog is about all I can handle on a regular basis and still have a life!
What does being a woman mean to you?
I attended a women’s college, Simmons, in Boston, in the early 1970s when “women’s lib” was big, so there were some fairly militant attitudes about being a woman flying around back then. I was never a crusader, but of course believe in equal rights and equal pay and all the rest.
One thing I do believe, though, is that you can’t “have it all,” as the saying was back then. No one can. You have to pick your priorities and make decisions about what is most important to you. For one woman it may be her career, for another, her family, for someone else, community involvement, volunteer work or a hobby. It doesn’t mean you can’t still do some of each, but compromises have to be made. This goes for men as well, of course.
My philosophy is that your career can’t be your life, no matter who you are. It is important to do other things, spend time with friends and family, and not sacrifice yourself for the company. Because one thing I’ve learned in 30 years of corporate life is that the company will only be good to you for as long as you’re of use to them, and that’s it. So I do my job but I do not give up my life for it.
I believe that men and women are very different. When I think of how women interact, I see a collective, nurturing consciousness, a tendency to find consensus, to care about one another, and communicate. I can’t help thinking that if there were more women in charge in the world there would be fewer wars and less posturing and blustering. I know that’s a stereotype and there are men who are sensitive and who communicate, and there are women who don’t. But there are clear differences and I think in a perfect world we would more thoroughly understand and capitalize on those differences.
Have you, are you, or will you reinvent yourself and, of course, what does reinventing yourself mean to you?
On my Facebook page I have a quotation by George Eliot that goes “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”
I like to think that we are always able to reinvent ourselves whenever it feels as if our lives are not going in the direction we would like, and I know I’ve done that on a gradual basis throughout my life. I have been at the same company (through buyouts and sales of the businesses I’m on, I’ve never actually had to interview again for a job!) but not in the same role, for all these years. But I feel I am getting to the end of what I can get out of this career and am looking forward to a new phase of life.
In my personal life, I’ve gone from a “live for today” mentality to a more serious viewpoint. I’ve become involved in my community, I’ve studied and gotten a certificate degree in historic preservation, and I’ve become a blogger. In each case these “reinventions” have opened the door to a whole new community of likeminded people who have become friends.
I’m sure as I continue in my journey, there will be more of these changes. I’m looking forward to getting more involved in environmentalism, conservation and animal rescue in the future, as these are all concerns of mine.