In 1975, the flicker of 50 birthday candles in the not too distant future, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dusted off her resume’ and went to work.
Did she have to? No. And, yes.
No, because she had money enough to live extremely well.
Yes, because money can’t buy “me” love.
The former First Lady supposedly told a friend that she’d always lived through men. And she couldn’t do that anymore.
The suggestion of another friend coupled with her lifetime love of books soon led her to a career as editor; a damn fine editor.
Such a fine editor that she revised, corrected and updated some of her own personal thoughts and beliefs as well. Four months after John F. Kennedy was assassinated at her side, she’d shared that her opinions depended on those of a husband. One might assume she carried that conviction through her marriage to Aristotle Onassis.
But in an issue of Ms. Magazine in 1979, the cover posing a question “Why Does This Woman Work?”, Onassis wrote, “What has been sad for many women of my generation is that they weren’t supposed to work if they had families… the definition of happiness: ‘complete use of one’s faculties along the lines leading to excellence in a life affording them scope.’ It applies to women as well as to men.”
After tragedy and triumphs, as many aspire when we reach midlife, Jackie O. found happiness within. Though one might argue even she would have been at a loss for words to describe how much her two children filled her with pride and joy. She often said they were her most important responsibility in life.
Bottom line, when her kids were grown and a man’s values no longer determined her own, Kennedy-Onassis discovered something that allowed her to feel vibrant and alive.
Work. Work that didn’t feel like work.
Work she loved. Love that worked.
~ Diana Black
(content & grahic copyright diana black 2011)