top of page
  • Writer's pictureCassie Stockamp

"You're one wild and precious life..."

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

So I'm going to do it...

I’m leaving my job at the Athenaeum and a few people are asking why I am leaving such a cool job? I must admit this crazy historic building has changed me, and this job has left an indelible mark on “me” – the me that moves forward from here. This position has given me the courage to act into who I am becoming. This crazy adventure I’m loosely planning feels like the next iteration. I have reinvented myself a few times in the past 50+ years, but not necessarily with such intention and often, merely as a reaction to the yuck around me. I want to change it up - intentionally - this time and see if the outcomes are different.

And I’ve been tested. Is it ever the right time to leave? Can’t I stay a little longer and put a little more into that retirement account? Shouldn’t I stay and finish that project? Will anyone notice when I leave? Will anyone notice if I come back?

But I digress.

"Tell me, what will you do with your one wild and precious life."

The quiet little voice inside my heads sounds something like this, “Is this all there is? You’ve got a safe job in a safe city living in a safe home with a safe retirement account. Is this what success is supposed to feel like?” It seems that we humans will move toward comfort and security when in fact real living and growth happens on the edge. Out there where it’s a bit uncomfortable. I feel the yearning in Mary Oliver’s poem as she simply asks, “Tell me, what will you do with your one wild and precious life.” I feel that churning deep inside. It almost didn’t get let out. I almost let my ego catch me and tie me here. But… that longing was smoldering and the flame was swirling in my heart giving me the signal. It’s time for more.


I was in a meeting several weeks ago when I was struck by the answers given to a simple question. What do you like to do on vacation? When I began to hear a pattern, I did some quick calculations and found that 30% of the people in the room had one of these vacation preferences:

  • Do nothing

  • Sleep

  • Don’t take vacations


I’m leaving so that I can explore and live into the possibilities for my one wild and precious life. I will ALWAYS be grateful for the experiences afforded me as I grew into my role as President of the Athenaeum Foundation. Diversity, homelessness, community, spirituality, tolerance, philanthropy, art, history, sustainability, urban planning, culture, yoga, architecture, bike commuting – urban living. Because of this job, all of this messiness of life is wrapped into what I deem important in how I want to live going forward.

Now I want to go and gather experiences from around the world to figure out how the next chapter of my life will unfold. What can I learn? What can I give back?

Come and join me on a leg...

273 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page