26 December 2009

Speed Introspection

As the end of the year continues to sneak up on me, I still feel like I'm trying to catch up to the progression of time.  My mind still hasn't processed so much of what's happened this year and already, it's time to leave it behind for good.

I lost my job in February...fired for office politics and a snarky personal vendetta.  I spent most of the year trying to recover emotionally, meanwhile, blowing through our savings.  For most of my life, I've been absolutely clueless about "what I want to be when I grow up", so needless to say, I was shocked when my 30th birthday brought a new perspective to that arena, largely inspired by months and months of playing housewife and reading Mary Janes Farm magazine.  I suppose I always suspected I'd find my calling doing something quasi-abnormal but predictable - freelance writing, starting an animal sanctuary...something to do with an actual profession. 

I've been reading about the importance of following your heart, your bliss, or your passion since I was a teenager.  It sounds great second-hand...of course!  Why would I NOT do that?  But it only works if you can actually identify what your heart is telling you, what makes you blissful, or what you're passionate about.  I confess that most of my adolescent and young adult life was spent looking for love, to the exclusion of most everything else.  Once I found what I had always dreamed of...someone to love, who actually loves me too...I was lost.  It was more or less, "what now?"

As sucky as it was getting fired by people I had grown to think of as my family, it did give me the chance to just "be" and exist without having to be occupied by an occupation.  And the hard hit on the pocketbook really forced me into some tight corners in regards to food and living in general.  I sought out solutions and I found them, and in taking responsibility for my household, suddenly the passion sprang up as if from some hidden place in my heart.  Although the stress of money was ever-present, tending to the simple tasks of cooking, baking, sewing...they brought me absolute bliss.  I spent my days creating meals, soaps, aprons, ideas, and desserts...creating the home I'd always wanted, meanwhile being entertained all day by 2 crazy cats.  My heart was speaking to me and it was telling me I was headed in the right direction. 

Of course when the money runs out and there's just nothing left to buy food with, it's desperate.  So I interviewed for a particular job.  I'd been searching for months but found nothing.  This one was different  I never got home from the interview that day.  They called me back when I was halfway home and put me right to work.  It's been a non-stop struggle to maintain "who I am" ever since.  There's a commute.  And there's working lunches and working until midnight and working all weekends.  And deadlines and conference calls and bickering about what shoes are professional and which aren't.  But there's money.  And lots of it.  And there's also light at the end of the tunnel.  Thank goodness for seasonal tax work.  It always ends April 15th.  The plan is to pay off the debt that eats away at my husband's paycheck so by the time my job ends, those particular debts won't exist and there will be money to eat again until the next job.

But how I'm struggling with this.  I'd just begun to find my way and was suddenly thrown into a strange world where work thoughts occupy 89% of my waking hours.  That is not me.  Not by a long shot.  But my personality is such that I am consumed by what I spend most of my time doing, so if I have a stressful job then naturally it follows that I'm consumed by stress.

The year is coming full circle and every instinct in my body is telling me to slow down...become introspective...take stock of the past and the present and then begin to formulate my plans and germinate my dreams.  And I can't because I don't have time.  I just have to hang on for a season.  A whole season of my thirthieth year will be gone by the time this is done.  And I'll be that much closer to my dreams. 

I interviewed a woman a few weeks ago.  I asked her what her motivation was for applying for the job and she said "I don't want to sit at home all winter and watch the snowflakes fall.  I need something to do."  I think my jaw actually dropped.  I can think of no better way to spend the winter time than in my cozy little house, baking cookies, and watching the snow fall.  It takes all kinds of people, I guess...

This year, I wanted to be more creative.  And I was.  My etsy shop is doing alright, especially since I haven't had much time to create anything new for it.  I wanted to find my purpose in life, and thankfully, I feel like I'm on the right track.  Can anyone really find their "purpose"?  And is there a such thing?  Or is there only joy and happiness disguised or perceived as purpose?  All I know is that I feel close.  I feel very close, and when my source of income is in alignment with my passions, then that will be a happy day.

I wanted to find "my voice" this year.  You know...my blogging voice.  Didn't have too much time to blog.  So that didn't happen.  I wanted to stay in touch with my new blog friends and my far-flung family members.  I didn't do such a good job with that either.  I can't do everything.  And there's only so much time in a life.  I am happy with the way I've spent my time this year.  It's been a very transformative and productive year and I've spent most of it focusing on me because I needed to. 

This next year, I wish for the presence and peace of mind to be more giving, more thoughtful, and to sing more.  I still dream of having a homestead where I can plant apple, pear, and cherry trees...have a pawpaw and a horseradish patch.  A flock of hens, some rabbits for shearing.  A garden of every kind of vegetable and fruit I can manage.  Most importantly, I want this homestead to be permanent.  What good is it to spend time, money, and energy building a space of love for your family if it's temporary?  I want my future child to grow up with the tree I'll plant when he's born.  I want him to intimately know and love the land that provides for him.  I want to have something to give my children that will provide for them, shelter them, and sustain them so I can spare them this life of constant working just to barely get by.  I want to make a better world.  And I dream of a world where my children are free to pursue their own passions and dreams without financial constriction.

So let it be written...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you are all enjoying every moment.  : )

I'm off to finish an apron...


Annie said...

I've known what I wanted to be since I was 6, I am now 53 and I have struggled with what you you are struggling with my whole life.
I don't know the answer, but I do know that only the very brave make it. Following your bliss does not always pay the bills, but it does FEED the soul. Happy holidays.

julochka said...

i love your speed introspection. what a great look at the year that's gone and the year ahead. if writing is indeed the new praying, writing what you want is definitely a step towards getting it.

so hang in there 'til april 15!

happy new year!

Char said...

love the introspection and yes, it does hurt to be fired (or laid off) by those you thought were family. though I wasn't fired...it felt like it.

hear's to a better year in 2010.

almost_perfect_person said...

I don't know how I stumbled in here, but i did, and i don't believe in coincidences... i can relate to a lot of what you wrote. i paint. but i'm a lousy vendor, so i just give away my work. therefor, i work in a bank. indefinitely. and pray each day to not loose my soul in the process.
I wish us both the best of luck with that!