They say, “Write what you know,” and since the beginning of my career, I think I’ve taken that old maxim about as far as it can go. Soon after I graduated from college, newly out of my teens myself, I became editor-in-chief of TeenAge magazine in New York. Later, after a stretch spent freelance writing for Time and Life magazines, I became a contributing editor of Allure, a beauty magazine–which conveniently coincided with my glamorous 20s and early 30s in Manhattan.
Marriage and a move to Texas came next and soon after the birth of my second child, I realized the only time I saw a mascara wand was when my two-year-old son was swiping it over the walls. With my life the antithesis of alluring, I took on a new more appropriate position—contributing editor of Parenting magazine. During this time, I began the first commercial lavender farm in Texas with my husband and eventually wrote a memoir—The Unlikely Lavender Queen, published by Broadway Books—about my transformation from a Manhattan journalist to a lavender-farming mom in the far rural reaches of the Lone Star State. Once we built the business into a profitable enterprise and sold it, we decided to move to Mexico with our sons so that they could become bilingual. Four years later, we took off for a stint of homeschooling and traveling that landed us in 16 countries around the globe, from the Inca Trail in Peru to Cairo during the Arab Spring to a hike on the Great Wall of China. (I wrote another memoir from this time, called The Mother of All Field Trips.)
Now that the boys have graduated from high school and are off in college, I have time to focus on my own pursuits. What I know right now is that my body, my psyche, my life are in an odd and fascinating upheaval. Not all good, but way more good than I would have once imagined. And that’s what I’m writing about now. Just as I have during other phases of my life, I’m resorting to the keyboard to try to make sense of this strange new season, and in the process I hope I can help you do the same.