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Suspended is Right

Sheesh.

It has been quite a while since I’ve deigned to post in these parts, has it not? I’m quite sorry. Writing has taken over my life, much as I always wanted it to, and writing/editing fiction plus keeping up with social networking and a thriving community over at emmiemears.com has kept me hopping like someone put hot coals in my sandals.

But here I am, and there are a few things I’ve been up to that are more worthy of this blog than my writing world. ūüôā Consider this my moment to decompress.

Newlywed life with two jobs is rough, especially when one of those jobs doesn’t send a paycheck. (Actually, neither of them do, but in one of them I get tips.) I sell stuff for a living, and I end up making sort of enough money to get by. Barely.

For the last couple months, I’ve felt like something had to give. I’ve just finished a new novel (which I wrote in six weeks!) and I’m about to start editing it. I’m working out regularly and drinking a lot of water. I spend a decent amount of time chasing the puppy and kitten around the house with the vacuum so their fur doesn’t send me into asthmatic shock.

Breathing is sort of a hobby of mine.

So in the spirit of something giving, last night I went to a Mary Kay party.

I know. Non sequitur much?

I grew up with a friend whose mum sold Mary Kay. I used to mow her lawn to earn gifts for my mum’s birthday et cetera, and I never really thought much about it that Monica had earned a car through her business in Tinytown, Montana.

My financial situation has been very bad for quite some time now. And by quite some time I mean approximately 28 years. I was born in 1984. You do the math.

The party I went to last night was the launch of a new Mary Kay consultant, who happens to be a friend of mine from work. And one of the things they do at those parties is let you know that you can become a consultant as well. The woman who hosted the party is a national sales director who has earned fifteen cars in her thirty years selling Mary Kay. While that is not something I have written in blood at the top of my list, financial independence is.

I’m 28 with a penchant for leather, weapons, and tribal music. Until last night, when I thought of Mary Kay, all I thought of was pink.

But then I had a sort of epiphany.

I want to write. I am doing what I love and I am so thankful for the 1000+ followers I have on my other blog and the enormous amount of friendly, amazing people I have met through writing. I’ve learned so much about the business and the process and the craft that my fiction has improved tremendously.

Unfortunately, my bills really don’t give a shit about any of that.

As much as I love to do what I do, I need to make sure my husband and I (and the little four-legged furballs who depend on us) are taken care of. And I’m getting quite tired of waiting on tables and hoping people will decide that tipping 15% is behind the times.

In case you’re wondering, 18-20% for good service in the US is what is customary, and if your server is awesome, throw her an extra dollar or two. You don’t have to drop her a twenty on a fifty dollar check, but if you really think she did a great job, show it by compensating her.

Every time someone throws me $8 on $35 or $10 on $40, I feel great because I feel like my hard work is recognized. Of course, if you have the funds and want to make your server’s day, dropping a twenty on any check between $10 and $90 will endear you to the serving gods. Believe me when I say I remember those people. I got $45 on $80 once, and I can still picture their faces. When they come back, they will be recognized and thanked yet again.

Server wage in Maryland is $3.63. I do not receive paychecks at all — all my hourly wage goes to taxes. This is the case for the vast majority of servers. We pay our bills with what you decide to give us for the time we spend serving you. If we do a crappy job, that’s one thing, but if we do a great job, make sure your tip is representative.

But yeah. I’m tired of depending on the whims of others for my bills — and the whims of business as well. Monday night was my only scheduled night shift (read: money shift) this week, and we were so slow that I only had five tables. That put a stress on the rest of the week.

So I’ve decided to join the Mary Kay family. Which sounds strange to my ears. It’s not official yet, but it’s in the wings.

Back to that epiphany I had.

Mary Kay can look like whatever you want it to. Sure, the products come in pink tubes sometimes, but you can be as edgy as you want to be. The beauty of Mary Kay is that you make it your own.

This is what I hope to accomplish:

  • Pay off my debt.
  • Travel with my husband around the world.
  • Have more time for writing.
  • Leave the restaurant industry.

I could do some of those things working a traditional 9-5, but if I could get my business going with Mary Kay, I would have the ability to travel. That is something that means a lot to me and always has.

So I’ll leave you with a question: what’s preventing you from doing what you truly desire?

Flexing the Brain Muscle

Today I got off work around 2:30 in the afternoon for my break between shifts. As I waited at the bar for my cash out, I struck up a conversation with a guy sitting there. We ended up chatting for a half an hour about politics and religion (yes, in a bar!) — but not the way you think.

You see, we spent a half an hour discussing the ways people approach¬†these things through their own respective biases. Our conversation rarely showed any red or blue, crosses or crescents, or any other indication of our own views. We discussed the way people think about politics based on their own religions. How the inherent irony in works like The Terminator¬†and my current read Robopocalypse¬†manifests itself — like how the technology we have all come to rely on so fully eventually turns against us and thinks for itself.

We discussed books, and how his favorite six-book collection of Winston Churchill’s recollections of the Second World War is loved in part because of the coffee stains on some of the pages. We discussed quantum physics and string theory and how physicists sometimes consult philosophers as they reach their arms toward the upper¬†echelons¬†of the universe’s mysteries.

I realized something profound as I left my restaurant to spend my couple hours at Starbucks blogging and reading.

I miss learning. I miss my brain.

I miss learning languages and struggling to meet each threshold of understanding. I miss conversations like the one I had today, where two or more minds just talk about life and history and science and evolution and faith and religion and all those subjects. I miss the stimulation of being surrounded by others who push my mind in new directions, who force me to analyze and evaluate instead of regurgitate and accept.

I don’t have any funny quips or bits of wisdom to offer. Only a yearning to find that kind of camaraderie again. I have so many interests, from microbiology to art to String Theory to philosophy. Language. Not just my own.

As I walked in the¬†discordant warm December rain, I found my life wanting. I love my husband. I love our home. But I think if you were to ask him, he’d say something is missing as well. Neither of our careers are where we want them right now, and though I can usually get through a day or a week or a month chugging away paying my dues, today reared its head to show me that change is coming soon, and soon indeed.

This isn’t to say I’m foretelling my imminent success as an urban fantasist. This is not even to say I’m foretelling my imminent piddling attempt at urban fantasy. What I am saying is that no matter what my writing career holds in terms of the c-word (career), something must change soon.

Whether it means I go back to university and hire a Caterpillar to dig me into another mountain of debt to get my Ph.D or start building a freelance career in non-fiction isn’t the issue. One of those things will probably happen.

About the future I know three things:

1. I want to move to Scotland and raise a family with my husband.

2. I will write no matter what I do to pay the bills.

3. If I am to have a long-term career, it must be an intellectually stimulating one.

Those are evident in my every day life. While I have the occasional enlightening moment with my tables as I wait on them, it doesn’t change the fact that Sunday when a guest was looking for me to order dessert, she couldn’t so much as describe me by my fiery red hair. To most of the people I serve on a daily basis, I am faceless. Nameless as soon as they walk out the door. No amount of cooing over their babies will change that for many of them. As much as I love the regulars who do treat me like a worthwhile person, I know this isn’t my place forever.

And so I find myself today contemplating the future and what it might hold. ¬†I know I’m getting close to something big, but I feel that it lies just around the bend in the mountainside. It’s coming, and I don’t know what it is.

If I were to be run off the road on the way home, what would I regret?

I would feel like I was being a bit wasted where I am. I can do more than waiting tables, I know I can. This is not to be down on people who do this for a living — I chose this job. It didn’t choose me. There are aspects I enjoy, but ultimately this job does not challenge me.

I would feel like I got stuck somewhere that wasn’t the end goal. I would wonder why I didn’t try just a little bit harder to do what I want to do with this life.

Could I die today and be content? No. I couldn’t. There would be that something missing.

In one area of my life I am fulfilled, and that is love. I could not ask for a better family, a better husband, or better and truer friends than the ones I have. In this one area, I know that I am content.

But the others need some work.

I will close with a quote from one of my all-time favorite authors, a man who helped me discover epic fantasy and showed me that it doesn’t have to be high prose full of doom and gloom — that you could build a fantastical world full of humor and laughter and real people who eat and sometimes discuss bathroom breaks. David Eddings passed away two and a half years ago, shamefully outside my notice. His passing did not make headlines that reached my eyes. I thought of him just the other day and wondered how he was getting on. The question got answered much by accident.

This man will not be forgotten, and I will ensure that his words endure, if only in a tiny library owned by a redhead writer.

This is what I was talking about earlier when I suggested most aspiring fantasists will lose heart fairly early on. I was in my mid-teens when I discovered that I was a writer. Notice that I didn’t say “wanted to be a writer.” “Want” has almost nothing to do with it. It’s either there or it isn’t. If you happen to be one, you’re stuck with it. You’ll write whether you get paid for it or not. You won’t be able to help yourself. When it’s going well, it’s like reaching up into heaven and pulling down fire. It’s better than any dope you can buy. When it’s not going well, it’s much like giving birth to a baby elephant.

-David Eddings, from The Rivan Codex

Wedding, ZOMG*

*I reserve the right to use such an acronym once every bajillion microseconds. Which is to say, every so often when it suits me.

My wedding is in two and a half weeks. Hence the ZOMG. There is so much going on — I don’t even know where to start.

The details are worked out, the cake is ordered, the awesometastic cake toppers are sitting atop our microwave, and there is a mossy little basket perched on our coffee table. My dress is at the tailor, my ring is in it’s box on it side. There is a box full of stinky flowers in our spare room. It’s all coming together, except for the bit where I can wrap my brain around it.

I have a feeling that it’s going to creep up, pounce, and then disappear into memory. Then we’ll just be married and start our lives the best way we know how. I’m awfully happy that we have several remarkable photographers coming to prove to us that it happened.

The wedding is a day to celebrate. I’m excited about it, to see friends and family and feast and be joyous. To walk down a grassy aisle barefoot and surrounded by loved ones. Pretty special.

I know I’m going to be stressed and fussier than I normally am…either that or completely apathetic. Probably the latter. I think others will do my freaking out for me. I have some people assigned to awkward duties and others there just to make sure I stay calm. Regardless, stuff is going to go wrong, so my main focus at this point is just to put on blinders and chill.

The main part I can get really, really pumped about is the honeymoon. John and I are doing something I’ve never done before — we’re going to Discovery Cove to swim with dolphins. I cannot wait. We’re going to be big old kids and go to the Harry Potter park at Universal, for which we have set aside an entire day. I am so excited. I want to drink butterbeer (no matter how many calories it entails) and get my own wand at Ollivanders. I just might pee my pants. We’re also going to do a water park and get massages and generally relax and do things we never get to do. It will be the first real vacation I’ve had since Scotland last year, and the first John and I have taken just the two of us…well. Ever.

But yeah. Wedding. 18 days. It’s close enough to be measured in days…ZOMG.

I just might post some pictures here, gentle viewers. We shall see. Maybe just to post some of the quirk involved with our wedding — because there will be plenty. Cake toppers are just a taste of it. (Shhhh, it’s a secret!)

I can’t wait. I also can’t quite believe it yet. Right now I feel extra surreal because I have a fever and don’t feel well. At least I’m getting sick now instead of later, right? Eeek.

Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?

A couple days ago, as I pulled out of the driveway of my apartment complex, I almost hit a turtle. He was a small turtle, maybe six inches across. I managed not to hit him, but as I stopped at the light half a block away, I watched him in my rearview mirror as he plodded along, narrowly avoiding the F-250 that followed me out of the drive. Such a little guy, but his hard shell won’t protect him from cars. I wished I could have stopped to pick him up and truck him to the other side.

As I drove to work, I pondered how he even got onto the road. The curb is bigger than he is, and yet somehow he’d already made it across one lane. I hope he is okay and that he made it across the road. The world of Maryland suburbs isn’t made for such a small turtle.

Some days I feel like that turtle. I am trying to cross a road in a big, big world with all these large things that whiz out of nowhere, and it’s all I can do to plod one more dogged step after another. The only real motivation I can think of for a turtle to try and cross a busy road is that he’s looking for food. He needs to survive. If the road is dangerous, well, so is starving. I suppose sometimes we have to take risks if we want to get where we need to be.

I get asked fairly often at work why I’m working “in a place like that” and not doing something else. The underlying meaning of such a question is that I’m wasting my time, intelligence, etc. by being a server, and that I ought to be doing something more “useful.” I resent that question as much as I resent complete strangers asking me if my hair is natural. I don’t go around asking all the platinum blonds that question because it’s rude — but because my hair is red, that somehow makes it okay? Growl. Okay, I digress.

The point is, my current job serves a purpose. I enjoy it, and it suits me for now. I don’t have to get up at an absurd hour of the morning, and I’m making decent money. It’s a means to an end, and I’m happy there. I like my managers, and I get on well with my coworkers, so what’s to complain about? In the meantime, I’m revising my novel, trying to establish a presence in the world of the internet to promote said novel, and generally enjoying life. I’m about to marry a wonderful man. So when people ask me that question, it frustrates me.

I am that turtle in the middle of the road. Yeah, there are other places I could have gone, but this way seemed like a good idea. Each step gets me closer to the other side of the road, and when I get there, I won’t forget how I did. I will establish myself as a writer as a career, and while I might never make buckets of money like Stephen King or Janet Evanovich or JK Rowling (who probably make a teensy bit more than buckets), I will be able to support my family. That’s why this turtle is crossing the road, for god’s sake.

To get to the other side.

Forces of Destruction

Another insightful prompt from the folks at WordPress. I wouldn’t respond to this one, except it ties into a lot of what I’ve been keeping on the ponder burner all week about my characters. In writing, characters motivations are what make them believable. There’s more to it than that, of course, but if readers can’t understand what a character does or even predict what their next move might be from knowing that character, they won’t read till the end of the book. They’ll get frustrated.(You can read more about my novel writing process/progress here.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about motivations this week. For good or ill, motivation is what drives people. It’s what plunked me down in front of my trusty constipated dinosaur of a computer to write today. It’s what drags our butts off the couch to the gym (or in my case, the living room where my weights live). It’s what makes people mug someone on their way home or donate to charity.

What is the most destructive force of humanity? I would say it’s one of humanity’s largest and most powerful motivators: greed. I’m not talking about Scrooge McDuck polishing his piles of gold coins before diving into them in a sparkling splash. Such a cartoonish vision doesn’t do it justice.

To me, greed is the sense of wanting more than someone else has regardless of who it hurts. The qualifier I tacked on the end there isn’t actually separate from the desire to have more, because ultimately the desire for more will hurt someone. It’s why employee benefits are often the first things slashed when a budget gets cut. Not salaries at the top of the chain. It’s why people resort to stealing. It’s why people fight over resources. Not because they think it will make them have enough. It’s because they want more.

If there’s anything I’ve learned on this earth, it’s that people very seldom think they have enough. I’ve heard people complain that they don’t have enough money when they make over six figures every year. If you were to follow them home, you’d see a Lexus in their driveway, which is attached to a million dollar home. Very few could successfully make the argument that they don’t have enough. I think that someone living in a one room shanty in Peru might have a better grasp on what “enough” means than most of America.

Every day I’m thankful for my toilet. That might be a very strange thing to be thankful for, but I grew up without one for many, many years. We had a five gallon bucket with an old toilet seat attached to it that we kept in our kitchen. Yes. You read that right. Kitchen. It was my job as a young teen to empty this bucket into our outhouse, which I dug myself. As a Caucasian American, I understand that I am in the very distinct minority for having had this experience as youngster.

Having grown up with a lot less than most people in this country, I am always very baffled (and I’ll admit, less than sympathetic) when people who have a safe, comfortable home with their own bedroom, a car, food every day (more than once a day), and a pot to piss in that flushes think they don’t have enough. What greed stems from is a lack of perspective.

Recession or not, we live in a golden age. We are utterly dependent on technology for everything from heating our homes to doing our banking to finding knowledge. I always wonder what would happen if we lost that. I see what happens when the power goes out for a matter of days. We have no idea how fortunate we are.

Greed poisons us. I’m guilty of it as much as anyone. I want to provide for my family and give them things I didn’t have — though from my perspective, I don’t have to do much to exceed what I had as a child. In spite of that, I want to raise my children to know that for every one of us who has water, food, shelter, family — there are millions who have to fight every day to have a fraction of what I have.

A sobering fact that I think of often is that if the wealthy of the world really wanted to, they could probably wipe out world hunger. If we weren’t so concerned with financial profit, we could invest in people who have so much less. It wouldn’t be a quick turnaround, but the world would be a better place.

Just to clarify, I don’t think greed exists only on Wall Street or in the upper classes. It exists everywhere, like a noxious weed. People kill each other for clean water when they could probably find a way to share it. At it’s heart, greed is taking for yourself what you could share with others. Everyone might have a little less, but everyone would have something. As children, we’re taught that if we have two of something we should share. We’re taught that sharing is caring. That it’s the nice thing to do. The right thing to do. I feel like we all cling to our resentment of sharing until we’re adults and we can buck that dictate from our parents and finally say no, what’s mine is mine.

Greed is the most destructive element of humanity, because it cannot exist innocently. It always hurts someone. On a wide scale it destroys nations. On a small scale it hurts someone’s feelings. In The Kite Runner, the protagonist’s father remarks that all sin is theft. You take something that doesn’t belong to you, or you lie and steal someone’s right to the truth. You murder and steal their life.

I’ll close with a quote from Shusako Endo (paraphrased). “Sin is to talk brutally over the life of another and be oblivious of the wounds left behind.”

I Hate Money

My life right now is dictated by the fact that I just don’t have enough of it. My credit cards are over limit and overdue, and I didn’t squander the money on shoes or trips to the mall or any such frivolities. It was spent on a cash advance for a deposit on my house, rent, and other bills. So I’m about to start working two jobs to try and pay for all of it. My tax return this year is going partially into savings and partially toward said debt. What a mess.

What I desperately want is to just…be able to save for my future and invest in my plans for a future career. Unfortunately, I’m barely making enough to buy groceries and gas right now after the bills are paid. I certainly don’t have health insurance, and I can’t afford to go to the doctor if anything happens to me. It’s not a feeling I enjoy.¬† I’ve just consolidated my credit cards, which I hope will help. I’m also hoping my neck injury won’t flare up too much when I try to work over 40 hours a week.

I know this is a whiny post…sorry. Does anyone have any tips for getting out of debt? I spend almost no money¬† outside of bills as it is and I try to save all my change.

Changes and the Familiarly Unfamiliar

I’m in Scotland.

I’m again confronted with the ever-familiar waves of knowing and not-knowing.¬† I know the fresh, washed scent of rain cleaned air, of chill breezes and the golden honey warmth¬† of sun.¬† I know the hill that holds Stirling Castle, and the Black Isle that peeks through the window from across the Moray Firth.¬† I know this building, but the view out the window has changed, and the flags that hang of St. Andrew’s cross, the lion rampant, the jolly roger, and St. George’s cross seem oddly disparate, though they grace walls which still hold familiar photographs.¬† Lone Tree on Rannoch Moor.¬† Buachaille Etive Mor.¬† Pap of Glen Coe,¬† Eilean Donan.¬† Inchkeith Sunset.¬† Familiar names.

The people here are now alien.  No Jordan or Julia or Nicole or Keith.  Instead there is Andres, Sandra, Howe.  Unfamiliar but kind.  As a former hostelite, they welcomed me with warmth and shared food and even tucked me in when I fell asleep on the familiar cushion of one of these black leather sofas, covering me with a fluffy duvet as I slept in a group of strangers.

The maps are well known, from John O’Groats to Skye to Aberdeen.¬† The voices are unfamiliar.¬† No Polish¬† do I hear, but French and English accents.¬† It has been…a long time.¬† The giant gulls call out their thoughts of the town and the surf.¬† Cars rumble across the Firth bridge.¬† The sun hides his face behind an oddly stagnant sky.

A whisper flits through me, a startling revelation.¬† Inverness feels like home no more. Perhaps it is the lack of sleep.¬† Perhaps it is the staggering mix of old and new.¬† It could be either of those things, but I think what it really is goes much deeper than a superficial makeover.¬† I’ve got a home.¬† Not even a physical home;¬† that’s in flux.¬† But there is someone rather than somewhere I need.¬† And he is very far away.¬† He has become my family, and where family is, so home is too.

More than anything, I wish he was here to share this place with.  Even shrouded in clouds, she has a glory and a cleanness that surpasses anything I have ever known.  There is wisdom in her aged glens, peace in her silver-smooth lochs, strength in her heather-clad mountains, and humility in the rushing of her surrounding sea.  I think if she could speak, she would tell me that she will always hold a place for me here.  And that the next time I return to her, not to come alone.

Food for Thought and Sleepytime, Too!

This week I returned from a lovely Memorial Day weekend to a vicious slap in the face from my scale.  It was unnerving.  It was glowing.  It frightened me.

I realized that:

1.¬† I have been eating waaaaaaaaaay too much.¬† By that I mean that I’ve been eating probably 1000 calories a day more than my body requires.
2.  What I eat has been too unhealthy.
3.  I am out of shape.
4.¬† My hinter region is the talk of my boyfriend’s work. (In a positive sense, but still.)
5.  I have gained 30 pounds since last May.
6.  Some of my health issues could very well be attributed to my lack of good nutrition in addition to the more obvious causes of stress and car accident.
7.  Something big needs to shift, and now.  Not later.

I do not want to be one of those people who ends up waddling around and feeling downtrodden about the diet that failed again.  I do not want to die of heart disease, cancer, or any other preventable malady.  I want to live a long and healthy life.  I want to play actively with my future progeny.  I would love to play actively with the progeny of my future progeny.  I want to fit into my size 6 pants.  I want my flat tummy back.  If those things are going to be a reality, I need to start making some lifestyle changes.  Not diet. But changes in the way I live my life in order to respect my body and use it wisely.

Even though I started the exercise bit before leaving for Memorial Day, I’ve kicked it up a bit since.¬† I’ve set a goal of doing at least 10 minutes of cardio exercise per day, but so far I’ve been doing 30.¬† I’ve started tracking food and calories and fitness on SparkPeople.¬† I’m drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day.¬† I’m making a concerted effort to buy vegetables, fruits, and to make my own breads when possible.

Progress so far?¬† According to my scale yesterday, I’ve dropped 5 pounds.¬† Ish.¬† Part of that could be due to the fact that my weight upon my return had jumped up about 8, so some of the loss could be artificial, but hey.¬† It’s a start.¬† Other observations are:¬† since exercising every day, I both have more energy and sleep better; my tummy is flatter; my skin looks better and feels softer.

All of that is good.  Plus, I made a kickass lunch today consisting of a homemade tortilla, 1/4 cup each of black beans and sweet corn, some green chili salsa, a bit of mexican cheese, and 2 tablespoons of light sour cream.  All in all, it was less than 500 calories, and it was filling and delicious.  So good I am probably going to make it again tomorrow.  Homemade tortillas?  Awesome.  Love it.

For a snack today I had a bunch of cherries.  Then I got really sleepy.  Then I stumbled across an article about cherries.  Apparently they are really high in melatonin.  No wonder I got drowsy.

Eat some cherries.  Then take a nap.  Sound perfect?  It should.

Two More Days

And then Friday!

My fingers are cramped up.¬† If you know me, you know that my right pinky finger is crooked, forever prohibited from straightening by a wonky tendon that decided not to grow.¬† I’ve just spent an hour and a half writing, and that little deformity of mine is in serious pain (I’m right handed).¬† I had an idea last fall, something to do as a gift that never came to fruition.¬† Now I’ve begun, and it really is beautiful so far.¬† It’ll take quite a while to finish at this rate, but I do have a few months left before it needs to be done.¬† The exciting thing about it is that it meshes rather perfectly with both a new development from today and also with another idea I had as well.¬† I would be more specific, but that would be telling.

After being stuck somewhere in the space-time continuum where there were constantly 6 weeks left of school, suddenly we’ve gone through a wormhole and there are only three.¬† Words cannot describe my joy at this.¬† I have a lot to do by the end of the year, and I might get into some trouble because this injury has made me miss so much work, but at this point, I can’t do anything about that.¬† It’s only been six weeks since the accident, and though I am feeling somewhat better now, by the time I’ve gone through half the day, I am a hot mess of ouch.

Well.¬† Three more weeks, and it will be over forever.¬† I just wish I could get rid of this horrible sense of trepidation that has plagued me all year.¬† I never should have taken this job.¬† Teaching is the perfect job for those who can give 110%.¬† I can give that to my writing, but not to teaching.¬† Maybe that’s selfish.¬† I don’t think it really is, though, any more than I would think it is selfish for people not to join the volunteer fire department or become a police officer.¬† Jobs like that require certain kinds of people who are willing to live and breathe their job.¬† I think that most of us have something we’re willing to do that for, but it varies from person to person, and for me, teaching is not that something.¬† Are musicians being selfish for making music?¬† Artists?¬† Accountants?¬† My thoughts about careers:¬† find what you love, and do it well.

That’s all I can ask of anyone.¬† Work is a huge portion of life — if you’re miserable, that just plain sucks.¬† And I’m miserable.

Sigh.  Time to try and sleep.

Two more days.

36 Days

That is the length of time standing between me and freedom.

In 36 days, I will paint myself blue and run through the mountains of Montana with a claymore (or, barring that, a butcher knife) screaming, “FREEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOOOM!”

In 36 days, I will be done with this year, with this job. ¬†I will embark on two months without work, three vacations, and a lot of writing. ¬†I will regain some of my precious sanity, which for now I don’t have the energy to go off and corral, and it’s ignoring me when I call for it. ¬†Dammit.

This year has been a lesson in many things.  The first of which is that I ought to have learned by now to trust my gut.  I should have trusted my gut a year ago when I received that tantalizing email offering me this job. It was $15,000 a year more than I had ever made.  So, I rationalized, I would handle the godawful early mornings.  I would handle the 60-80 hour weeks.  I would grin and bear it for two years.

And then my health fell into the shitter, my sanity started pouncing leaves off on the funny farm, I went for months on about three hours of sleep per night, and some idiot (four idiots, actually) ran their vehicles into mine, the most recent and spectacular of which resulted in a substantially serious neck injury that I am still feeling six weeks later. ¬†And after all these little hints from the universe, I got it. ¬†I should have trusted my instincts last year when they warned me that this wasn’t for me.

For years people would hear that I studied history in college and would ask, “Oh, so you’re going to teach?” to which I would reply, “No. ¬†Never. ¬†Never ever ever. ¬†I want to write. ¬†Or possibly become a hermit.”

So why on earth did I ever think this would be a good idea?  I knew it was a horrible idea for me, the introvert, hermit-like, paperwork-hating, nocturnal writer to take a job where I would be surrounded by people constantly, forced to do mountains of absolutely pointless paperwork,  and get out of bed three hours after my body clock likes to go to bed?  What on earth possessed me to do this to myself?

In the end, I think it was money. ¬†I’ve never been financially stable. ¬†My family is way below the poverty line. ¬†To my family, the poverty line is on top of the Empire State Building, and they’re in the lobby looking at their reflections in the polished floor. ¬†And the elevator’s busted. ¬†And my mom’s disabled and can’t get up the damn stairs.

This is what I get for greed. ¬†Especially because I’m no better off really than I was a year ago. ¬†Imagine that; salary goes up, expenses go up. ¬†Well, the latter bit is mainly because I had to buy a car. ¬†But I digress. ¬†Anyway.

36 days.