June 11, 2008

Choices

My mother, in all her wisdom, used to say that possibly the reason I had a hard time sticking with any one career path was because I had too many choices. The more I think about it, the more I think she was right (as she usually was). I am the kind of person who does just fine if given a choice of 5 paint colors, but give me 50 and WOW!

In my mom's day, most women's career choices were limited to teachers, nurses or housewives. She, however, chose a different path and became a social worker, as did my dad. While I didn't follow their social work footsteps, I did choose a helping profession and got a degree in Special Education. I originally wanted to be a physical therapist, another helping profession, but PT college acceptance was tough and they only chose the cream of the crop, of which I was not.

After teaching in Louisiana for a couple of years and making my way through all the bureaucratic red tape of the Special Education system, I began to doubt my effectiveness as a teacher. At the end of the day, I really felt more like a secretary and babysitter. And, I won't even go into the piss poor pay teachers receive and how no other profession is expected to perform the same amount of work for such little pay. But, I digress...

I soon realized the career opportunities I had to choose from were limitless. One thing I learned, after several unsuccessful attempts at conventional jobs, is that my personality type is not conducive to the same ho-hum, 8am-5pm, answer-to-the-man, stuck-in-a-cubicle type business. The older I got, the stronger my desire to find a way to make a living that didn't suck the life out of me just to pay the bills. I wanted my life to belong to me, not some boss that I had to report to on a daily basis. Maybe it's an innate desire born into me, or maybe it's because I keep hearing my father's voice telling me how important it is to make a career out of something I love.

I do realize that due to circumstances choices are limited for some folks. Having a job, any job, is a means to an end... a way to pay the mortgage, to clothe the kids, to save for that glorious retirement. We live in the wealthiest country in the world and yet there are people who feel they have no choices about their life's destination. They cannot even give pause to what it is that nourishes their souls because they must punch a time clock to put food on the table and keep the lights on.

Some of us are stuck in this grind because we have to be, some of us because we choose to be, and some of us because we know no other way. For me personally, I believe there is a way to make a living from something that covers my basic financial needs and also nourishes my soul. And, I've been fortunate enough to have had the freedom to take several journeys that led me to that happy medium. I've realized that I like owning my own business and having the flexibility to have a life while at the same time making an income. That truly is the American Dream. Neal and I were fortunate to buy an existing business last year that pays the bills and allows us each to work on a part-time basis; thereby, leaving us time to pursue other interests. I have recently been helping my friend, Susan, with her pet-sitting clients and I have decided to continue that on a part-time basis. But, I have so many choices and I'm still searching...

So this weekend, in an attempt to nourish my soul, I am doing something I've wanted to for a long time. I am taking a three-day fiber pottery class in Westcliffe, on an alpaca farm. Neal and I and the dogs will camp out on our land and bask in the beauty of the rural mountains while I see if I have any underlying artistic abilities that might be turned into a small income stream. Hubby, nature, art and critters...another leg on my beautiful, quirky journey.

Stay tuned for updates...

2 comments:

Jon said...

Louis and I are in the same boat, way too many choices in career and interests. It sometimes seems like it would have been easier with a more limited scope, but dreamers really hate limits don't they.

*smile*

Lilla said...

So, it runs in the family, does it?

Cheers to the dreamers...for without us, the world would be way too boring!