You have, by now, an elevator speech, the one that focuses on either what you do, or who you are, or the family update – short version. (The family update requires that everyone is fine, the truth of how everyone in your family is really faring will require hours of explanation)
But do you have a speech, a quick, pithy overview of your life to date, ready for when you meet your nemesis in the grocery store? Or just as likely, at a holiday mixer?
There you are, innocently fondling the avocados trying to remember the rule of ripeness when she looms up from behind the onions and potato, your most hated enemy. You have your own hated enemy but my most hated enemy was a girl who was the ultimate jock. She made my life hell in PE because she could hit any ball in the somewhat limited repertoire of the PE syllabus and I could not hit a single ball, thrown or lying still.
Or there she is, the favorite of the office, cruising the local Chamber holiday mixer. She is still thin and still lovely, damn her. And you hated her because she never seemed to do any work or make any effort at all. And you worked your butt off and still was laid off.
What do you say to this person when they ask how are you? First make them speak first so they cannot top your story. Have ready a concise summary of your fabulous life. Mention the trip to Syria (so wonderful and we got out just in time). The Sandstorm in Luxor, your husband’s COO position, the son earning his PhD in Physics, the beautiful daughter with a modeling contract. Maybe your modeling contract, your recent MA and how you are only ABD. The summer cabin in Tahoe, the family reunion in Bermuda. Diving lessons in Belize, the published books. The awards. The rich new husband, the long – time devoted one. If you are at the Chamber mixer, be prepared by wearing some of the jewelry you received for your last anniversary.
So list all the really wonderful aspects of your life. It will seem particularly awesome when compressed into a thirty second summary.