Friday, April 22, 2016

Life of my own design (me…me…me…)

Cat muse says 'were you trying to write? I think you were trying to write.
Cat muse is like, don't talk about you, why does it always have to be about you?
Cat muse wants his own blog.

Husbear and I were talking today, and I told him I wanted to live a life of my own design. Ever since the boys were born, every decision I made about work was determined by the needs of my family and my children, which is not unusual for mothers. Even leaving the Air Force was for the benefit of my family - I couldn't leave my daughter as much as I would be asked to if I stayed in. But now, the children are older, I'm, apparently, in the beginning stages of some weird 'woman phase' that will apparently drastically shift my attitude in the next few years, and I'm free of the burdens of a stressful, unrewarding job where pay day is the only happy day. I've got an oddly different view on my future now. I feel like a college grad again, looking out at the big bad world - but unlike a new college grad filled with excitement and anticipation, I'm more like the college grad of yoda, looking at the world like - hmm. impressed, we are not.

Also, ever since I read The Last Policeman,  I've been obsessed with the idea that possibly, a giant asteroid could, even now, be on its way, ready to collide into one of our oceans or continents, ending life as we know it, and any hopes of my ever succeeding as a writer… unless I really pursue it with a vengeance now. See? See how I made the end of the world about me? It's why cat muse is so grumpy. I don't make any blogs about him.

Okay, maybe not necessarily an asteroid crashing into the world, but the idea that really, our time here is limited, so what we do now has to matter. We can't wait for a mythical tomorrow, because while tomorrow of course will come, there will also be a tomorrow where we do not show up. This macabre thought has kind of pushed me to be a bit more adventurous, and bold in my thoughts about what I really want to do. I've been applying for jobs that have a positive impact on society- that matters to me. I care about what I do personally, and the impact the organization I work for or with, has on society. I know I need to work for people that are inherently good, as well.  So, the asteroid. The tomorrow I won't be a part of. The minutes, hours, days I, we all, have left.

The question isn't 'are you doing what you want?' because the answer is only yes if you're on vacation, really. I want to be drinking a fruity umbrella drink by a clear blue sea. The question is 'are you doing work that inspires you?' 'are you doing the work you were meant to do?' 'are you somewhere you are valued?'

If not, make a plan and flee. I wish I'd done so sooner. I don't beat myself up about it though, everyone generally wishes they figured out things sooner than they do. Save us all the introspection time that follows.

Today, Husbear and I talked about what it would take to allow me to really pursue a career of my own design. For the past six or seven months, I've taken baby steps in a few areas I thought I'd want to expand into: freelance writing, web development, and of course, my own fiction writing (which will never go away). Today, we talked about what it would feasibly look like if I spent the next few years pursuing writing as a living vs. writing as a hobby, and the cost-benefit of doing so to the family in terms of satisfaction, income, family time and so on. It's an interesting position to be in. So many if's, can you's, will you's, how's, do you really want to's,  and so forth, but I find that the more we talk about it, the more we consider it, the closer I am to the 'right answer.' For the past six or seven months, a clear direction hasn't really manifested, much to my dismay. Surely, I keep thinking, by now I'll know! Nope. I find that's not abnormal though. Only in our hyper-fast, hyper-aggressive, do-now-or-die mentality is seven months a long time. Serious questions requiring serious thought don't take a week to tackle.

I keep getting closer to the 'right answer.' I keep asking the right questions. I keep talking to people doing what I want to do (albeit far away and more successfully!) And, as I tell my Husbear often, I have this time in my life here, this time and space available, and it's clear it's because I'm meant to be here, to have this space, to help transition into something that, for the first time, is more for 'me' than for the good of the children and family. Though I am impatient to reach an internal resolution, I think 'what would I tell a friend in the same situation' and the answer 'it'll come. be patient.' , what do I want to do with that time?  What do you want to do with the time you have? If the asteroid shows up, will you be thinking, damn, if I'd known this, I would have left earlier/started sooner/changed this…

Happy Friday!

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