The eggnog’s been drunk, the gifts have been opened, and that week-long season — the one that somehow manages to suck entire months of our lives into its toothy vortex Read the rest of this gem…
Well, it’s another Last of the Mondays for me.
I can’t believe it’s been over 2 years since I last quit my job to venture out into the world of self-employment.
It’s embarrassing to admit now, but I had high hopes. I had high, high hopes that all I needed to do was book a 2-month trip to Costa Rica, be my lovely, endearing self, and somehow — hopefully through this blog — the opportunity to become a travel writer would present itself.
What I learned the hard way is that self-employment — chasing the dream — takes actual work.
In fact, it’s so easy to sensationalize the idea of working for one’s self because of a single, obvious factor: YOU HAVE NO BOSS.
Turns out, though, that’s not true.
Not even a little.
Of course, YOU are your own boss.
And that’s fantastic, right?
Well, unfortunately, disciplining yourself is a hell of a lot harder than getting an earful from The Man, because all you really want to do is take pity on yourself and be patient and understanding and all of those things you got mad at your boss for not being when you were having a rough day. But then, your Self learns. It learns that you’re a crappy boss and a crappier disciplinarian and soon every day turns into a rough day, and before you know it, you’re unshowered Self is crashing your sofa at 2:00 in the afternoon eating Häagen-Dazs from the carton and singing along to My Fair Lady and, aside from feeling sorry for herself because she’s a big fat failure of a Self-starter, she’s really having a grand old time.
So this time, I’m prepared.
I’m prepared to be a badass boss because I’ve learned that the Self-deprecation that comes with mediocrity is so not worth an afternoon of ice cream and Audrey Hepburn.
There are the other bosses. The other bosses are the people who, as an independent contractor, will be hiring me to work for them. With the other bosses will come a whole new slew of demands and expectations, and the only choice for me will be to meet them, head-on, because if I don’t, the only person who can take the blame is ME.
And I’m tired of letting people down.
Most of all, me.
This time, I’m doing myself a favor, packing a duffel bag full of all of the bullshit I fed myself 2 years ago, and sending it into space with the power of a hundred thousand helium balloons.
(You’ve heard there’s a helium shortage, right? Yeah. That was me.)
This is my last Monday. And hopefully, my last of my last Mondays. This is my last week of earning a paycheck just because I show up.
The last time I pack my lunch in tupperware.
The last time I roll my eyes at a request from my boss because my new boss, I hear, is unriddled by bullshit and in no mood to play.
This is life, after all, and we can coast on through making excuses for getting caught in the momentum of mediocrity, or we can really try.
The only thing ever really holding us back is the paralyzing fear of failure. That thing that makes us start and quit and start and quit again.
But. I’ve finally realized.
I would rather fail — I would rather fail so inconsolably and publicly hard — than continue to be the girl who just quits all the time. The girl who’s addicted to the bottom of the ladder. The girl who says soon – mañana – I will do what I know I was born to do.
Because. With 2 years of tomorrows behind me, I’m no closer to reaching my goals. Failure, at this point, would be a relief next to not even trying. The limbo I’ve been living. The bullshit that’s made me metaphorically fat and lazy and full of excuses.
I don’t want to be that person.
I stop today.
It is, after all, the Last of the Last of the Mondays.
Can you name the movie quoted in the title of this post?
As I sit here this morning with my thin toasted bagel, honey nut cream cheese, flavored coffee, glass of OJ, I realize.
I realize that I’m an almost-thirty-year-old assistant.
I’m an almost-thirty-year-old assistant with a college degree.
No responsibilities, no career driven passion, no zsa zsa zu for anything, save spewing my verbiage onto a screen and getting a slight thrill every time someone acknowledges that I do, in fact, exist.
The issue at hand is simple.
It’s hard to admit, and I choke as I write, because a character trait that would land me a role as a strong, unforgettable leading lady of my own damn story, this is not.
But regardless, it’s true.
I am addicted to the bottom of the ladder.
I’m not tied to it, wormlike umbilical cord still firmly attached at the navel, providing comfort and sustenance until I’m ready to climb.
I’m addicted to it because I’m not attached.
And, if you want to know the truth, I have no desire to climb.
I test a rung, then jump back down. It’s fun down here in the tall, tall grass. Up there, I’d have a view of the whole, wide world. But down here? Down here I get to run all around, play in the dirt, leave when I want, answer to no one. The playground is huge, and there’s no way I’d trade it for a tether to my cell phone and a plush, swivel office chair.
But what am I doing? I ask myself as I drive, fists clenched around the molded plastic wheel, cutting through traffic in a town that hates me on my way to the place where I will spend the next 6 self-deprecating hours as an almost-thirty-year-old assistant.
I’m not ashamed of the job itself, but of the fact that I’m wasting my time.
Of the fact that I’m wasting everyone’s time.
Of the fact that I’m privileged enough to do as I please, yet here I sit, ass tucked firmly between Rung 1 and Rung 2, with no drive to climb yet no heart to run. To run with writing, to declare to the world that this will be my career, even if it makes me a failure who has no choice but to sit at the bottom, staring up with envy at those who’ve made it — who’ve made a true impact — the Chuck Palahniuks and the J. K. Rowlings and the Stephen Kings and yes, the Jenny Lawsons and all the rest with their views from the top and room to run.
I’ve carried this metaphor too far, I think.
Which tells me I probably have a long way to go.
And many changes to make.
Are you ready?
Because I’m not sure I am, but it means a lot that you’re still here. Still reading. And you — yes, you — are my encouragement.
1. Wear something comfortable. Something like jeans and a t-shirt. Something that says, I am not a runner. I take myself too seriously. I would rather sit on the sidewalk drinking beer while you fools go run like it’s fun or something.
2. Arrive at the square with enough arms and bags to carry all of your non-runner stuff (camera, purse, reading material, umbrella, water bottle, etc.) and all of your significant other’s runner stuff (water bottle, free t-shirt, wallet, car keys, etc.). Promptly lose significant other because you had to run back to the car to get more stuff (aka. your jacket because it’s cold and you, the smarter of the two, will not be running).
3. Find significant other standing in line to acquire his bib (that’s fancy runner talk for “numbers”). Quickly become bored and wander off to see how many random strangers will let you take their photos.
I now own a piece of each of your souls. Mwahahahaha.
4. Realize how many people are there. Start to experience a pang of anxiety. Calm yourself by remembering that soon they will all be gone and you will be left relatively alone because, as one of the smartest people in Raleigh, you will not be running. You will be free to breathe, holding nothing but 80 lbs. of crap. And also, somehow, a glass of beer.
Will you all just GO already? You’re drinking all of the beer.
5. Strategically position yourself in a place where you can get a good view of the lesser species — that running breed of human — as they leave your life forever. Or at least the next 20-50 minutes.
Observe that the most hardcore competitive runners wear the most colorful footwear. Do you think that makes them faster, or is it simply so you can see something — a bright streak of color — as they zip by at lightening speed?
Some are clearly in it to win it. (Bright green shirt guy.)
Some wear looks of sheer determination. (Green tank top girl.)
Some are probably stoned out of their minds.
Some are… well.
I actually think he might be on to something here. A kilt could provide excellent breathability. Though he could’ve gone shorter.
This is NOT responsible running attire.
I sure hope he’s wearing a sports bra.
People who run with children are like extreme gluttons for punishment.
And also kind of badass.
It’s fun to embarrass your significant other by screaming and yelling like a crazed fan while snapping photos with paparazzi-like ferocity.
6. When they’re gone, find yourself the bar.
Order a Smithwick’s (but pronounce it Smiddicks, so you sound like you know what you’re talking about), sit on the sidewalk, and make friends with the other smart people who don’t run.
When the mob returns with the wet stench of sweat and pain unfit for human habitation, feel slightly superior in the fact that you’re still clean and happy as the last wash of Smithwick’s slides down your throat.
Totally, totally winning.
(For the record, I love runners. They’re like the happiest people on earth, and the truth is I just like to be around them and try to absorb the endorphins via osmosis and beer. Click here to see the last race I watched, and here for my friend Erin’s experience at the Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run)
Does that title sound as gross as I think it sounds?
Good. Then I have your attention.
Some of us have a time in our lives when we have to take a stand. When we have to say, from the gut of our gut (because just our gut isn’t enough), and with as much confidence as we can muster (which usually isn’t nearly sufficient), “I may not know exactly what I’m doing, but I know it has to be done.”
And some of us have to do it twice.
God help us.
But since God (or whatever superior being to whom you might occasionally make a plea for help) likely has more important things to do, like end world hunger or help Tebow win a football game, we’re usually pretty much on our own.
And that can be a pretty hard thing to do. It’s a tough call — to go against the grain of you feel you should do, and instead choose what you want to do.
The super enlightened among us might call this “living our truth.”
I call it “throwing out the shoulds.” It’s less mystical sounding, and a little more self-explanatory.
After all, if you’re unhappy, it’s likely the shoulds that got you into this mess. You should go to college right after high school. You should land a stable job and start a retirement fund and have medical coverage. You should buy a car. You should buy a house. You should water your lawn and wear nice clothes and attend company holiday parties and smile, because you just got a promotion which pretty much guarantees that you now get to spend even more time each day in this place that’s not so bad, but it’s not, somehow, where you know you’re supposed to be. It’s not. But you feel stuck because you should be happy. You have all of these things, and everyone else who has these things is happy, right? And if you change, you might lose these things.
So you should stay.
And you should learn to love it.
And you should spend the rest of your days trying to hypnotize yourself into this trance known as the American Dream that seems to come so easily for everyone else.
And that, my friend, is how you waste years. How you brush them into the dust pan, one by one, and throw them out with the trash. Because if you really feel this way (and believe me I feel you if you do), it’s not just going to magically get better. Because if you’re not happy, you’re missing the things you already have in your life that are wonderful. You know you should love these things, but you can’t. It’s like you’re not even present. You’re watching your life through a telephoto lens, and you never really even experience it.
I didn’t intend to get all deep and philosophical on you this morning. But I’m going to assume you needed to hear it, because I needed to type it. What I actually intended to tell you is that I need to do it again. I need to make the difficult choice. And while I know, in my gut of guts that the choice is already made, sometimes a pep talk is necessary to do the deed.
You see, if you’re fairly new here, you might not know that I quit my job back in August 2010 in order to go make hot sauce in Costa Rica for a couple of months. I had intended it as a jumping-off point — a type of cold turkey shock therapy to push myself into figuring out what, exactly, it was that would make me happy. The plan was ill-conceived, at best, and when I returned home my depression was at its peak. (I know, lucky Justin.) Instead of focusing on building a writing career, I let people should all over me. I had no job. My marriage was in a state of limbo. My self-esteem was lying somewhere along the side of that lonely stretch of road that took me to that lowest point in my life, and I just didn’t even know where to begin. So, by August 2011, I took a part-time job as a real estate assistant. The job market was horrendous, and, if you want to know the truth, that is the only interview I could get. Even though I’ve had some baby-step success at getting my foot in the writing door, I lacked gumption. And now, here I am, nearly a year-and-a-half after the epic quitting event of 2010, and I’m scarily close to where I first started.
My backyard view in Costa Rica.
And now, I find it’s time to make another choice.
On New Year’s Eve, my boss sent me an email. A very nice email. A complimentary email, on how he appreciates my hard work and dedication to the team. And he extended me an offer. A very nice offer. An offer to work for his company full-time, to become an integral part of the team, and to devote myself to this career path. To his career path.
The money would not come close to what I was making in 2010, but it would be better than where I’m at now. The job is more stimulating than where I was back then, but I still know that it’s not where I’m supposed to be. At least, not full-time. Because, if I choose that path, I know I won’t dedicate the ambition I need to fulfill my goals this year. It feels wrong, so wrong, to turn it down. And yet. If I accept, it will mean I’ve learned nothing in the past year-and-a-half. That it was a waste. That I’m destined to make the same mistakes over and over again. Turning down an opportunity that would put us in a better financial state feels wrong because that’s how we’re trained to feel. But, if I remember how I really felt in August 2010, I remember very clearly that money was not the issue. Not even close. So, I’m going to politely decline his generous offer, as soon as we’re done here. And hope I’m not making a huge, huge mistake.
Something tells me I might need something a little stronger than coffee this morning.
But you know, so far, all I can figure is that we need to make a series of difficult choices to start taking back control of these limited and precious lives that we have — choices that feel right, even if they don’t look right.
Obviously, I can’t tell you if this is really the way because I’m not there yet myself.
You can be sure I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Well, it’s about that time.
You know what time I mean.
That time when we’re supposed to get all reflective and introspective and think about everything that happened (or didn’t happen) during the past year — about all of the goals we accomplished and how our lives changed because we achieved said goals and how we’ve miraculously become these emotionally centered, successful, zen-like people because we perfected the art of meditation somewhere in the time between attaining all of our hopes and dreams (which ironically isn’t the goal of meditation but just work with me here), and now, finally, we can enter the new year with a sense of peace, contentment, and, most important, sans resolutions.
Because that’s realistic.
Sadly, if the psychological distance on the self-satisfaction scale I’d hoped to travel during the last year was a mile, I’ve managed to physically propel myself forward a foot. Maybe two feet, if I want to account for the fact that I’ve mostly emerged from a pretty uncomfortable bout of depression.
And why wouldn’t I want to account for that?
But still. That means I fell 5,278 feet short. I’m not disappointed, per se, because I’m not surprised. I mean, it’s me we’re talking about here. I frequently quote the Gin Blossoms in saying, “If you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down.” Genius. Or demoralizing. But whatever, it’s true, and it applies to me, too. If *I* don’t expect too much from myself, I can’t let myself down.
If I were to look back on 2011 and come up with a single word to describe it, there’s really only one obvious choice:
I mean, really, Katie? 2010 was an all-around shit year, which lead to you losing your shit, quitting your respectable, well-paid job, and moving to Costa Rica for 2 months to make hot sauce. Oh yeah, and to find yourself. But really, all you found was the first decent tan of your life and the fact that you have to first know yourself in order to find yourself.
And what do I know about myself?
For starters, I’m happiest when I am traveling and meeting new people.
I have a passion for writing.
I like learning my way around a camera.
So, after a brief bout of the fire-under-the-ass kind of inspiration which led me to vehemently absorb a zillion books and articles on freelance writing and photography, submitting exactly one super professional official travel article pitch, receiving exactly one acceptance after multiple follow-ups only to learn of an 80% decrease in the original advertised pay, and then working in a bar for a few months, I’ve settled, once again, into a job for which I have exactly zero passion except now my income is significantly reduced and my co-workers aren’t as fun.
Well, that’s not entirely true. My co-workers and I are getting to know each other, which takes time, and my new job does allow me some of the freedom of creativity I lacked in the former — I do get to write, take pictures, and mingle with the townsfolk, which is a vast improvement from sitting for 8 hours a day in front of a computer monitor.
But this is not, to say the least, where I’d hoped to find myself with just a few days left in this 11th year of the new millennium. I mean, it seems like just yesterday we were partying it up like it was 1999 because it was 1999, dammit, and we had all this time to become more awesome than we already were when we were only 17 frickin’ years old.
It appears as though I need to take this goal thing a little more seriously this time around.
I’m not going to call them “resolutions,” because that has all kinds of negative, clichéd connotations about not following through or only lasting until the Christmas lights finally come down, which will probably be sometime in February, much to our neighbors’ dismay.
(Our Christmas lights, in all seriousness, are the most hideous display of half-assedness we’ve publicly flaunted in a while, my friends. The thing is, after Justin finished installing new floors, smoking a turkey, and baking 2 cheesecakes for upcoming holiday festivities, for some reason he didn’t have the energy to commit to professionally stringing outdoor lights. Yet he still insisted on doing it. And all I have to say is that the drooping, scalloped string of white lights hanging from our front porch — only our front porch — look something akin to a melting frosted gingerbread house. But I didn’t have the heart to tell him. At least, not until guests were arriving and I’d already had a glass of spiked cider and it was finally okay to just relax and laugh it out.)
This year I’m going to stick with the term “goals,” instead of resolutions, because it sounds more political and serious and spreadsheety. There’s a sense of accountability, if you know what I mean.
Except maybe… not so anally.
And maybe… a little less intensely.
And probably… a lot more half-assedly.
Because that’s how I roll.
But I kind of feel ahead of the game because I’ve already done Step 1 and Step 2. Step 1 is to make an “Eff Yeah” list for 2011. That’s easy. I survived depression, I went to Spain, I threw the best baby hot tub party ever, and I didn’t die. Eff-to-the-Yeah. Step 2 is to come up with a word or phrase that best represents my hopes and dreams for the coming year. Again, that’s pretty easy. If the word for 2011 was anticlimactic, especially when it comes to finding a sense of purpose, then there can only be one word for 2012:
So. We’ll see if I can actually make that happen. Not that it will matter since the world is supposedly going to end at the end of the year anyway.
But, if I follow the steps, at least I’ll be able to say I tried, right? And in the end — the real end of the end of the end of the world type end — that’s all that really matters.
Remember, not too long ago, when I ran my mouth about never hearing back from a certain website to which I’d applied for a writing/photography gig, so I just assumed I didn’t get said job?
You know what they say about assumptions.
And if you don’t, I’m not going to tell you. Because that would only make me look worse.
It’s probably not necessary to say at this point, but I got the gig!
I’m going to be providing virtual tours of “green” homes and I’m going to get paid for it.
Yep. They’re going to pay me to do 3 things I love: Look inside people’s houses, take photos, and write.
This is like, unbelievably cool. So Jaime, thankyouthankyouTHANKYOU for sending me the job posting and then forcing me to apply.
As those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a little while know, I’ve been having a not-so-mentally-stable time of things over the past year or so. And while I’m a true believer that life will always be full of fluid highs and lows and nothing ever just stays the same way forever, it’s amazing how people — sometimes even complete strangers — come into your life exactly when you need them.
Don’t believe me? Just wait. You’ll see.
The trick is recognizing help when it arrives, trying as many new things as possible, and, most important, paying it forward.
So, who needs help? Because I’m pretty sure I owe you.
On a completely unrelated note, we ate something amazing last night.
I gave a little preview on the Facebook page last night, but decided I needed to share it here as well.
Because it’s unbelievably delicious.
Fig, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza (adapted from blue cheese pizza on Centsationalgirl.com)
1) Buy one (10 oz.) thin crust Boboli pizza crust. Sure, you could make your own, but that leaves less time for eating. Drizzle it with olive oil and bake for 9 minutes at 400-degrees F. (I’m not sure I would do this step next time — I might just bake the whole thing at once without the olive oil to get it a bit crispier.)
2) Grate 4-5 oz. of mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle most of it over the partially baked pizza crust. Then layer with 2 oz. of crumbled goat cheese (or blue cheese or whatever kind of cheese you dream about at night), 4-5 sliced figs, 1 oz. of sliced prosciutto, and a few diced green onions (green part only). Then sprinkle the rest of your mozzarella cheese over the top.
3) Bake the whole thing for another 9-10 minutes at 400-degrees F.
4) Pour yourself a glass of red, take a bite of this warm, gourmet pizza that took you all of 20 minutes to make, and allow yourself a moment to just enjoy it. Don’t think about the calories. Don’t think about the cheese. Just let the medley of flavors — salty prosciutto, rich cheeses, sweet figs — do amazing things — naughty things — on your tongue.
Everything will be okay.
UPDATE 4/24/2013: I have since made this with fresh figs. It is PHENOMENAL.
Good news! I think I finally — finally – figured out what my problem is. And it only took a highly complicated cocktail of conditions — nearly a year of unemployment, months of over-analyzing my situation, a bout of depression, more over-analysis, a breakup with a therapist, and this morning’s epiphany — to get here.
All-in-all? I’d say it was worth it.
I was looking through a shopping list app I have on my phone. You’re about to realize just how much of a freak I am, because while I do occasionally use it for groceries, the main list I utilize is my list of blog topic ideas. As a “writer,” I pretty much carry a notebook with me wherever I go so I can immediately jot down ideas when I find myself inspired (which, unfortunately, usually happens while I’m driving, in the shower, or doing anything that virtually makes it impossible to write in a notebook). But sometimes, when all I think of is a random topic for the blog, often triggered by something someone says to me during a conversation, I enter it into my little shopping list app and forget about it until I need inspiration for something to write about.
And this morning, after all of your super awesome and generous comments on my post yesterday (THANK you), the fact that some of you even thought it was good enough to share with your friends on Facebook (THANK you), the fact that I had more hits on this site yesterday and the day before than I’ve ever had without extra effort on my part (holy cow, THANK YOU!)… it really laid on the pressure.
In a GOOD way.
In a sense, I got stage fright – writing impotency, if you will. And while that’s not necessarily a good thing, it made me realize that this site really is worth my time if, every now and then, I can come up with something people like to read.
So. I needed a topic. I referred to my trusty app, full of sure-to-please post ideas for the average Domestiphobia reader.
Among the most interesting are some of these gems:
- Green Farm Show
- Thunder from Down Under
- Pink tissue paper stuck to my fingertips
- Are your nipples easily fortifiable?
- Why my POA (Property Owner’s Association) sucks
I mean, really — with jewels like that, I can’t figure out why this isn’t an award-winning blog by now.
But there was one, when I read it this morning, that had a highly profound meaning for me — a meaning that, for some unknown reason, was more significant over orange juice and a handful of vitamins than it was back when I first typed it out.
It says, There will always be someone better than you.
Now. That’s not meant to be self-deprecating. I know it’s not meant to be self-deprecating because I wrote it.
What it means, is that I need to chillax. Stop stressing. Tranquilla, as they say in Costa Rica.
Because the reason I haven’t sent any pitches, the reason I still don’t have a real job, the reason I’ve been stuck in this mucky mess of a limbo for so long is that I’m afraid that even when I put forth my absolute best effort at something — when I work my mind to its threadbare bones, when I emit actual tears of concentration, when everything in me would bleed if it could because I’m trying so hard — there is always someone who can do it better.
Who makes it look effortless.
Who makes me want to give up before I even start.
That fear — it’s paralyzing.
Impotence. When, even if I could get it up, I’m not sure I want to.
But this morning I read that little note to myself. A note which, undoubtedly, was originally written out of self-pity.
There will always be someone better than you.
This morning it has an entirely different meaning. It’s a release on the pressure valve. Because you know what? There will always be someone better than me. Smarter. Prettier. More eloquent with words. Has a better blog. Has a better career. Has a better grasp of what she wants.
And finally understanding — and accepting – this fact is like an epiphany. Liberation. Viagra for my troubled mind. For you Sex and the City fans, it’s like when that guy tells Miranda that the man she’s seeing just isn’t into her. If he was into her, he would’ve gone upstairs. He would’ve booked the next date. It’s not as complicated as women think. And Miranda’s all, he’s just not that into me. He’s just not that into me! It makes so much sense!
This whole time — this whole period since I quit my job, moved to Costa Rica, determined I wanted to be a writer, then sat on my butt and was mentally productive for 10 months — it’s like I’ve been climbing the steps of a downward moving escalator.
And now, ohmygod now I know! All I have to do is ride it to the bottom and just take the stairs! I can stop trying so hard to figure out ways to beat the best. I’ve been fighting a fight I can’t win, and all it’s done for me so far is suck away time, energy, and drive.
I’m applying for jobs today. Many jobs. And I’m committing to a part-time writing gig I’ve been afraid to take (if they’ll have me). And I’m going to get back on track with some other projects I’ve let fall by the wayside — things I verbally committed to but never actually did.
It’s important to note that this isn’t just a declaration, like all the others. It’s just a fact.
Today, I stop being a turd.
*Every so often I take a break from the humor and get a little real with you readers. The funny is me, but sometimes, so is the struggle. And this blog isn’t just about making you laugh or giving you recipes or motivating you to take on home renovations or share my love of travel — it’s about me. And because I know I’m not as unique as my 3rd grade teacher insisted, I think some of you can relate to this part of me, too. Click here to read Step 1.
So. This morning I had a revelation.
I know… you’re thinking, here we go. She’s going to talk about one of those revelations again — it’ll be one of those posts where she makes some big declaration about how she’s finally going to get off her ass and start making changes and find her dream job and discover spiritual enlightenment, and blah, blah blah.
Seriously. Can’t. Wait.
Well, you’re in luck, because it IS one of those. Kind of. But not really.
Because I have to be realistic. I’m realizing it’s kind of difficult to get off your ass and make your dream job happen if you don’t exactly know what it is or how to get started. So, following that train of thought, I’ve been looking for an interim job — something to get me out of doing laundry every once-in-a-while and help me remember what it’s like to earn a paycheck. Maybe an office clerk or a realtor’s assistant or something along those lines.
Because dammit, I would be good at that.
The problem is that at the moment, these jobs are few and far between. And where they do exist, they’re highly competitive. And for some reason, “Freelance Writer from Jan-July 2011″ and “Hot Sauce Maker Extraordinaire from Sep-Nov 2010″ don’t immediately present themselves as qualifying work experiences.
But that’s because they don’t know me. If they’d just get to know me, they’d see how my life experience, combined of course with technical know-how, above-average literacy, and superb communication skills, would make me pretty much an awesome person to have as their right-hand-man.
Unfortunately, the only jobs I’m finding listed along those lines turn out to be spammers — jackasses who solely exist in this world to prey upon people who are just looking for a decent break.
At least they give Karma something to do.
The good(?) news is that the 247 illegitimate employment responses I’ve received are making me reevaluate my entire find-something-to-keep-me-busy-and-pay-the-bills-so-I-can-structure-my-schedule-and-feel-less-guilty-about-not-working-and-just-find-time-to-write-on-the-side plan.
See, not too long ago, I whined about lack of signs showing me I was on the right path. And, in effect, perhaps I was ignoring signs telling me I was on the wrong path. But here’s the thing — It’s pretty impossible to ignore the fact that every single sign I receive about getting a crappy office job is telling me NOT to do it. (Let’s just pretend the terrible economy and almost nonexistent job market has nothing to do with it, mmmkay?)
The sad fact is that when I’m honest with myself, one of those jobs would put me exactly back in the position I was in when I first flipped my lid, quit my job, and moved to Costa Rica. And that really can’t be a healthy cycle to start over.
Where does that leave me?
Well, I’m going to continue my quest for interim employment and keep my fingers crossed for something remotely stimulating, challenging, and worthwhile (perhaps an assistant to someone busy and interesting and trusting of my creative personality and the ways I can assist him/her in maintaining the status of being the type of person I’d like to become).
Because, hey — laundry is laundry and a paycheck is a paycheck.
But. I can’t lose focus on my goal, which is writing. Or travel. Or both.
And for me, travel is like breathing – a bare necessity of life.
I kind of forgot where I was going with this, so I will end with two propositions:
1) If you need an assistant — even a virtual one who can type, make phone calls, organize schedules, file, collate, fax and email, I’m your girl. Oh, and I can also make really awesome flyers. Because if you’re cool, you probably need someone who can make flyers.
2) If you want to pay someone to travel to exotic places, take pictures and write back to you about all the exciting things I’m eating, drinking and doing because you’re curious about the world but terrified you might get stuck on a plane next to the most banal, talkative person in existence who also happens to have the bird flu and never washes his hands or covers his mouth when he sneezes, I am definitely your girl.
Because while I don’t particularly want to contract bird flu, I have a feeling that kind of job would be worth it.
So, so worth it.
While the movie, “How Do You Know?” required no less than 3 alcoholic beverages for me to get through it, I have to say — a couple of the lines were real gems.
Like, Never drink to feel better — Only drink to feel even better.
Good advice, no?
And, Don’t judge anybody else until you check yourself out. That way you’re lucky if it’s your fault because you can check the situation.
That’s so… zen.
And, I think I’m in love with somebody when I wear a condom with the other girls.
Never have truer words been spoken.
I even felt a certain kinship with Reese Witherspoon’s character, Lisa, when she was talking about how it seems like everybody’s “regular plan” is to fall in love, get married and have babies, but she’s not sure she’s cut out for everyone’s “regular plan.”
Umm… Domestiphobic much?
Seriously. There were so many profound thoughts and quotes stuffed into this movie, they could compile ‘em to create volume 537 of Chicken Soup for the Existential Soul.
But it turned out there was one that worked its way out of the mass of banality to stick in my head like gum to a shoe and I can’t figure out why. At one point in the movie, Paul Rudd’s character George says,
I used to be a bartender, back when I was working my way through bartending.
At first I thought it was hilarious. I mean, what a clever way for him to describe a time in his life when he really was just doing what he was doing. There was no bigger plan. There was no ultimate goal. The plan was to make enough money to pay that month’s bills, and the goal was to go home with the most attractive woman in the bar that night.
That was it.
But as I thought about it more, it became… less funny.
Because I realized, if most of us were really honest with ourselves, we’d recognize that we’re doing the same thing. We’re fairly certain our lives are heading for something better, but until then, we’re just floating along, trying to get from one day to the next. Sure, we might have generic goals, like buy a house, find our dream career, start a family… and it’s awful because we’re so sure that once we achieve these goals, we’ll finally be satisfied.
George even says, “We’re all just one small adjustment away from making our lives work.”
Many people love that line.
I happen to hate it.
I mean, really George? I just need to make one little change — finally buy that throw pillow I’ve been eying? Pop out a couple of kids? Quit my job and move to Costa Rica? Tell me, what is that thing that will finally solve all my problems?
Quench my restlessness?
Satiate my unhappiness?
Because if I knew what it was, and I knew it would make everything roses and double rainbows for the rest of my life, I’d do it without hesitation.
But that’s the problem with this type of mentality. If I’m constantly making these adjustments and waiting for the next thing to happen with the expectation that I’ll finally reach this ultimate level of satisfaction, I’m probably going to be waiting forever. My life will be spent like the greyhound chasing the fake rabbit ’round and ’round the track — thinking, if I could just catch it, my life would be complete.
The fact I have to grasp is that I won’t catch it. And soon I’ll be too old to chase it. And even if I did catch it, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t taste how I expected.
Contrary to how it might read, this isn’t intended to be pessimistic. It’s meant to be a revelation, of sorts, on my part. A way for me to say to myself, It’s okay that I’m going to work in a bar tonight. It’s okay that I still haven’t sent any pitches to any editors. It’s okay that I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now and WordPress still hasn’t Freshly Pressed me.
As cliché as it is, I need to start finding joy in my every day, because they’re passing by at an alarming pace. I can still make daily goals and work on things I want to accomplish, but no more thinking, “If only I had this, then I’d be happy.”
It doesn’t work that way.
I just need to be.
And the happy will come.