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Even though the door is turquoise, my favorite color, the stairs look as if the light of heaven is leading one to the surface…our lives are all about choices, aren’t they?

Since last week’s rant on the Republican National Convention, I’ve been quiet and contemplative, with dreams of having pleasant discussions with Donald Trump as we walked along a lovely beach, which made me feel like I was drinking the Kool-aid. If you’re not of a certain age, you might need to Google that term to understand its sad reference. I’m looking forward to feeling the antithesis of what I felt last week, as I watch the Democratic National Convention. The last few days did not disappoint.

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Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Quote of the day: “The first duty of a man is to think for himself” — Jose Marti

Daily gratitudes:
Animal best friends
Box fans
How Tim Kaine is so smiley
My current read
Our talk with the Virginia railroader yesterday at Union Station

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I have been working 2 or 3 jobs for the past 11 years.  I have gone back and forth between being okay with it, and feeling like it’s killing me.  Right now, I’m at two jobs…. and I’m over it.

I have been at my second job for 8 years.  For a long time, it was a labor of love.  But for the last year or so, I have been wanting to quit.  It kept me going when I was unemployed, so I was glad I didn’t quit before I got laid off.   It has been helpful in buying the house, and the extra income made little luxuries (like maybe plane tickets) possible.  Last year, when I thought we were going to go away this year, I was so relieved to think that I wouldn’t have to do the job for another year.  Well, as I’ve said before, life’s what happens when you’re making other plans.

These days, I feel like I’m just not doing a good job at this job.  I let things slide.  I got (another) lecture from my boss last night about it.  And these days, even though we’re friends, I feel like sometimes he’s judgemental of me in ways that I don’t need or agree with.

Then I think that maybe I still need that extra income.  The job has been really flexible from a time perspective, which another part-time job might not offer.  But I almost dread going to work. I am so aware that I’m not doing a good job that it’s becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I keep thinking I just need to be more disciplined, more organized, more dedicated, but nothing seems to work to motivate me.

I don’t know what to do.  I would prefer to go out on a high note, like John Elway leaving the Broncos after two Super Bowl wins, but I think it’s too late for that.  I don’t want to admit that I can’t do it – and I don’t think that’s the problem.  It’s that I’m burned out and don’t want to do it anymore.  I love my full-time job.  The pay is decent.  I’m motivated to go to work, so it’s not like I don’t want to work.  The commute adds a lot of time and energy to my day, and if I didn’t have the second job hanging over my head, I would be okay with that. 

The bottom line is, I don’t want to do the job anymore, but I am scared to let it go – afraid I’ll need the extra money – and I don’t want to admit defeat.  I don’t want to admit that I can’t do it.

So what do I do, readers?  When is it time to let go?

This has been a highly tolerable winter up until now.  We had a snow – I think – when I was away in November, and a small-ish snow just before New Year’s.  But it’s been warm, not even requiring a coat most of the time.  Until yesterday.  Yesterday, the hammer fell.

I live in Colorado, so it’s not as if I didn’t expect this to happen.  I just, in my secret heart, hope that global warming will make our mountain-high weather more tropical every year.  And it is Stock Show time, and this is what we call “Stock Show Weather” – bitter-butt cold and snowy and icy. 

I learned about four years ago that a January trip to a warm beach did wonders for my winter psyche.  I remember that first January trip.  It was a quick jaunt to Jost van Dyke and it required that I spend the night on the floor of Logan Airport in Boston.  I hadn’t spent the night on ANY airport floor since college – and coincidentally, the last time I had done so had also been at Logan Airport.  The floor was harder and colder than it had been in college, and my friend Buddy had so kindly driven in to while away a few hours with me in a side-by-side rocking chairs, bringing with him a flask of rum.  It was a very pleasant night, but sleep was impossible, and I was a zombie by the time I arrived in St. Thomas.  However, the four nights on Jost felt, as time on Jost often does, like 8 nights, and I was happy and refreshed by the time I went home.

This year, I’m pinching pennies.  If I get the house (or a different house – I’m going to look at a slightly less expensive one just down the block from the one I’ve put a bid on), I’ll need everything I have to get it together.  If I don’t – well, then I believe I will take a little jaunt somewhere – unless of course, a job comes up.  Then I’ll have to stay here, which will also be fine. 

I am working on the novel again – just started, and gearing up to finish.  And I’m submitting some poetry to some contests, which is cool.  On the agenda for the week is submitting some work to the Denver Women’s Press Club unknown author’s contest.  I’m nervous about it, because I’m submitting both poetry and a non-fiction piece, and I’m really unsure what to submit.  But the important thing is that I submit something.

I could just chuck it all and move to somewhere warm – and when it’s 0 degrees outside, that sounds tempting.   But the spiritual price I would have to pay is too high – I’m worth too much now.  Ironically, out of the dishonorable things I may have done over the last few years has come a sense of honor that is too strong to even consider compromising.  It’s one of the most valuable things about me now.  And even another life somewhere in the sun is not worth surrendering that.

So I guess I’ll just have to stick with singing that Kenny Chesney song in the shower for a little while longer.

On January 1, I decided to participate in WordPress’ “Post-A-Day” (see details here).  Since I post with a fair amount of regularity, I didn’t think this would be too tough.  However, as others who post frequently know, it is sometimes hard to come up with anything to write about.  I have been known to resort to random thoughts, or, if I have too much time, one of my Slightly Bizarre History posts. 

As I have been contemplating my future – both the journey and the destination – I am recognizing that I need more discipline.  The lack of discipline in my life is a detriment to me.  My recent relationship was really helpful in providing a sense of discipline, as my partner had trained himself to be quite disciplined and it worked for him. For the most part, it worked for me too.   At any rate, I feel it is good for me – it feels like something I have pushed against unnecessarily – really just to be contrary –  for my entire life, and I’d like to stop pushing against it now.

So the “Post A Day” feels like a pekingese-sized way of instilling a bit of discipline in my life.   And that, my friends, is something that makes me smile.

 

(And Boo here ALWAYS makes me smile!)

I feel like I am at a fork in the road. 

Yes, I’m having to regroup, to forge new dreams, or decide on pursuing my long-standing dreams on my own – or both.  I need a few winter clothes – I had made a point of not buying any because I had in my head that I wouldn’t really be hanging around for much more cold weather.  Well, looks like I’m here for another season, so might as well stay warm.

But I digress…

I would LOVE to make my own freelancing business work.  I haven’t put any heart into it. Zip. Zilch. Zero.  I’ve been writing a lot, and loving it, but I haven’t been doing business writing.  Just working on the novel, and a chapbook.  And those things are going to pay off.  But for right now, I am wondering if I need to do something different – which translates into a real-life, full-time job. 

I’m not adverse to the idea – not wholly.  I am usually emotionally better the busier I am.  And I’ve been pretty isolated since I left full-time work.  I was just really hoping NOT to have to work for anyone again.  So I guess I’m thinking out loud here, about the different tines on the fork that is in my way.

Tine #1:  I can really set down to find freelance writing work.  That means talking to everyone I know on LinkedIn, doing the whole Business After Hours networking with the Chamber of Commerce, and….cold calling, the thing I hate the most in the universe.

Tine #2:  I can look for a grown-up job in my field.  That has some advantages: benefits (especially health insurance, which is going to run out in August),  consistent income, socialization.  It could lead to me being able to buy a house.  And it would give me some more writing experience, albeit of a different sort, since that’s what I would try to get – a job in the marketing/writing field.  But wouldn’t I be giving up on my dream?  Or would I just be postponing it? 

Tine #3:  I can find a second part-time job.  Between two part-time jobs, I could have a semi-decent income. I could do something different, like be a barista, work in a bookstore, a gallery, or any one of the many things I’ve always wanted to try.  Life would be juggling schedules, and wouldn’t give me much time to travel.  But there would be variety.  I like variety in my work.

Tine #4:  I can start working on articles for publication and just (appropriately) flood the market to get some things published.  I can start looking for an agent for my novel.  This tine takes me most directly towards my future.

Tine #5:  I can go back to school – more specifically, nursing school.  I’ve always wanted to be a nurse.  That would require taking out a student loan, and…studying.  At least Kelsea and I could keep each other company while doing homework.

Tine #6:  I could join the Peace Corps.  Seriously!  They do take people my age.  And it’s the closest I can get to running off and joining the French Foreign Legion, like heartbroken romantics used to do in the last century.  OK, they were men, but you get the picture.  It would be a good thing for me, doing something socially conscious.

Tine #7 (yes, it’s a big fork): I can keep things as is, status quo. I can keep going like I am right now, with one part-time job, for another year.  I can travel.  I’d have to make some more decisions when my lease is up, about  not having a place and just travelling all the time, finding a new place, or staying in this place.

I have a lot of options.  As I said in my New Year’s post, I’m visualizing my future as it already exists.  These choices are avenues to the same place; it’s just a matter of which will make me happiest and most comfortable.  It may not be a matter of choosing one option, either.  It may be a combination of all of them.  And any of them will take some time to develop – it’s not as if I expect to walk out the door tomorrow and have to dodge job offers like I have to dodge birds attacking the Cottage.

This is the sort of thinking and writing I was hoping to do while I was at the Hot Springs last week, and it’s the only writing and thinking that I didn’t get around to, which means that I wasn’t meant to do it there and then.  But I do need to get in motion.  It will be fun, whatever it is.

But I do rather wish it was a spoon in the road.  I have rather a penchant for spoons.

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