"Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it."
"If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting."
- Katherine Hepburn
This is the third post I've begun in the last three weeks; I hope to actually publish this one. I've been having difficulty quieting my mind of worry and stress over my future and thus haven't been able to organize my thoughts into a coherent piece of writing. Typically, writing helps me find clarity, but I suppose I've felt a bit more lost that usual. For the last nine months, I've been living off meager earnings supplemented by my savings account. In that time I worked on growing Sudstress and sent out numerous resumes, however I don't look so great on paper and need I mention the current job market? So far I have managed to exhaust half of what it took me ten years to save.
After recently having to get my clutch replaced; my brakes, rotors and wheel bearings fixed; running up a $1,700 bill for an MRI of my knee which was neither diagnosed nor treated, I finally decided it was time to stop hemorrhaging my savings and I get a restaurant job. While I'm excited at the prospect of a disposable income, which will be disposed directly into my saving's account, it's a bit of a blow to the ego and I feel like I've failed. This is not where I pictured myself at 33. In fact, I never had any picture of myself at 33 and therein lies the problem. I don't want to be 43 facing the same dilemma. I am aware of how fleeting time is and I'm feeling pressure to figure it all out and to figure it out now.
"You've got to jump off cliffs, all the time, and build your wings on the way down.
- Ray Bradbury
The last decade of having to work sometimes until 5 a.m.; a smoky environment; constant sober interaction with drunk people... it was starting to suck the life out of me, so I quit with no backup plan. I took the 'leap and the net will appear' approach, trusting that everything would work out as it should, opportunities would arise and I would make a successful escape from the bar business. Though it may feel like a step back, I acknowledge that it's not and that things could be much worse. I am thankful that at least I have the option of having gainful employment and that there are plenty of people who are out of work and struggling. The bottom line is that I want to do something more, I just don't know what that is.
The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
- Arnold Toynbee
Soapmaking has been a great passion of mine for the last five+ years and I have put so much of myself into Sudstress that I am in no way ready to say goodbye to it in this process of moving forward. While I've managed to double my sales from 2008 to 2009, I'm nowhere near the numbers that could sustain me financially and I have to formulate a more effective and immediate plan. For now, I will focus more on cultivating the customized wedding projects and less so on wholesale, as the latter requires tremendous inventory, time, space and volume with a much lower profit margin.
"He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying."
Since about the age of 25, I've spent a lot of energy trying to figure out how I could integrate earning a living with fulfilling work. In the last year, I've really been digging deep trying to solve this puzzle to no avail. Once I find a direction, I approximate at least three years before I'm able to enter into employment into whatever field after the necessary schooling or training. I've waited this long, I feel like I could live with three years. What causes me to lie awake at night is the fact that I've been at it for the last 8 years and feel no closer to figuring it out than I did when I began. Sometimes it feels like I'm floundering with no end in sight.
"But" is a fence over which few leap.
- German proverb
Lately I've been contemplating going back to school for a Master's Degree in Psychology. I remember when I was a kid expressing enthusiasm for the field and mentioned going to college for it when some irresponsible adult told me how cliche that was and how impossible it would be to find a job with a Bachelor's in Psychology. For some reason, fear took hold and instead of the notion that with further education, a career in psychology was not only possible, but quite likely, and I gave up on the idea. Ironically, I ended up with a B.A. in Film.
To play it safe is not to play.
- Robert Altman
I've realized lately that many of my choices have been made in the same manor. Instead of moving toward something that could make me happy or satisfied or accomplished, I move away from that fear of possible failure. That possibility lies everywhere and I have let that hold me back from creating the life I want. That is how I believe I ended up in a place that honestly could be worse, but is ultimately not truly satisfying. A few weeks ago, it was in this sort of vein that I made up my mind to move to California, get out of my rut and start myself on a new path ripe with hope and possibility. The problem is, there are no quick fixes in this life and the necessity at the source of my confusion is the very thing that is holding me back: money. So I feel that I'm back to square one in a town that while full of friends and familiarity, no longer suits me. I want to leap but am bound by the very circumstance that I intend to change.
I am adopting the following phrase as my words to live by in hopes of affecting the decisions I make as ones that will move me towards happiness, fulfillment and some sense of peace. I need big change and it is a challenge to find patience when it feels as though time is of the essence and my efforts have been thwarted by my own doing. Perhaps I should move to Nepal and meditate indefinitely..
"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." -Carlos Casteneda