May 24, 2010
When I Grow Up
I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, or at least, what I want to put my energy into. I'm kicking myself for not taking my father's words of wisdom when I was in college: "Money doesn't buy you happiness, but it buys you choices." Since then, I've always worked jobs that I could feel good about, that fit my values. The down side to that is that often they don't pay well, usually just enough to pay the bills. Trapped! So here I am, a decade plus of work years behind me, and no nest egg to fall back on, no savings to afford me the opportunity to get off the treadmill for a minute to re-evaluate my course. Because there are two other paths that I can see in this world.
The crossroad is this: to the right, there is the notion of working more hours, commuting, and making more money (much more, definitely more than enough to pay for the added cost of the commute and all that goes with it). To the left is the concept of working less hours and making less money. If the option was available to me, I'd go left in a heartbeat (so typical of me, don't you think?).
I dream of having time to use my CSA share to its fullest: freezing spinach and kale, tomatoes and peppers; dehydrating eggplant and zucchini, strawberries and celery. I'd like to make beans from scratch, instead of always buying them in cans. I want to make my beau fresh bread a couple of times a week, and biscuits or muffins each morning for breakfast. I'd like to start to make my own clothing. I'd love to have time throughout the year to make my gifts, instead of doing it frantically at the last minute, or just giving up and buying something. This would result in some fairly significant savings off of our expenses.
One of the other benefits of this lifestyle I'm working toward is the reduction of disposable plastic that I'm introducing to the waste stream. No gifts sold in that plastic you have to use scissors to get into, no more bags of frozen veggies to purchase in winter, no more plastic tags and bags and crap. It also, of course, would reduce my environmental impact in many more ways. No more hopping in the car to go get an ingredient because I worked all day and don't have time to bike. Significantly reduced use of tin cans of food (sure, I recycle them. But that takes lots of energy. There's a reason it's last in the list of options: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). Less money going out of my community.
Perhaps the biggest impact that this change could have? More balance in my life. I've felt out of balance for a while now. I can see what I want to put my energy toward, but I haven't yet been able to get myself there. I find great joy in providing for my family (and not financially, but instead providing the things we need: food, a non-chaotic house, homemade hats and scarves and containers...). I like making things. I enjoy saving money by finding alternatives. And I want to take care of the "to do list" while B's at work, so our evenings and weekends can be stress-free... nothing looming over our heads, nothing to procrastinate, just time to have fun, recharge, enjoy each other.
I don't really have to wait for a career change to begin to create this life. Simply by cutting my internet usage and television time, and planning my days better, I can have more time to do all of this, right now. My new motto? "The life you want begins with what you do today."
photo: My new obsession: Making felt bowls. Pretty, easy, useful.