Well here I am, 42 and for all intents and purposes, giant steps backward from where I was ten years ago. Sure, I give myself some credit for having followed my dream of working for the company I wanted to work for. I do my best to celebrate the fact that I accomplished a goal that was twenty five years in the making. But now what?
Assuming something amazing is going to fall into my lap hasn’t worked out. To that point, it has less than worked out. At this moment I am making roughly the same amount I was making a decade ago, so my quality of living is ridiculously diminished in a time when I was more than ever to be comfy. Why? Because I don’t have a college education? Okay fine. Never mind that I’m smarter and have more common sense than at least 80% of the people I’ve worked with that have a degree(that mostly excludes all my beloved tech dudes - I don‘t kid myself!). Doesn’t matter. In the current economic climate, companies can afford to be elitist, requiring a slip of paper that says, “This person wasn’t as poor as another and afforded themselves the luxury of a higher education” and they most certainly are taking that advantage.
Before I go on, let me clarify something. I know that there’s a lot of people out there who work like dogs to put themselves through school and I’m not, by any stretch, insinuating they are brainless, lazy or spoiled. It just happens to have been my experience for at least the last decade, that I end up training (or regularly saving the ass off) people who are getting paid a shitload more money than me. If that doesn’t seem fair, that’s because it’s not.
Here’s the thing… to some degree I have to realize that part of my problem stems from knowing I don’t really belong in a corporate atmosphere; not any more. The only reason I take corporate jobs is because of the pay and benefits and I know I’m not alone. If I had a dollar for everyone I know that would be better suited working in a bookstore or vintage boutique, I wouldn’t be here complaining about how little money I have.
Still, lets get serious with one another, shall we? I openly admit that I am not, at all, following my bliss. Honestly, I have no firm grasp on what that bliss really is. I just hadn’t thought this far into my future. Of course I have some ideas. I get focused on them for a while, then doubt sets in, fear that I won’t be able to make a living at that thing sets it, fear that I won’t be able to give myself a “better” life overwhelms me, and I move on to another idea. Even when I see perfectly fine examples of other people successful in whatever realm I’m interested in, there’s something in the back of my mind that insists, “That’s them. You’re different. It wouldn’t work for you.” I’ve been hearing that broken record skipping in my head since I was a toddler. It’s time to change the tune.
I know, intellectually, that I’m perfectly capable of succeeding in whatever I undertake. The question is, where to I laser-beam my intent? How long do I give myself to succeed before I give in? I’m pretty hard on myself most of the time, so I know that time frame’s gotta change too. So, as I sit in this chilly Starbucks in Pasadena, with an angry pit in my gut (knowing I’m soon to return to a job where I’m overworked, underpaid, under-respected, have been railroaded, lied to and ultimately threatened with dismissal if I attempt to stand up for myself one more time, and yet another young girl waiting to assert her new managerial claws by taming the old broad under her), I know one thing is for certain… it’s time to make a plan. Right… NOW!
So I’m setting down a five year plan. By that, I mean that I’m giving myself five years to either accomplish these goals or let got of whatever fantasy they represent forever and move on to new ones. My hope is that it doesn’t take me the full five years to accomplish any of them (I’m not exactly known for being patient with myself). But all things take time and if you told me five years ago that some of the things I’ve experienced would transpire, I’d have thought you nuts. So I’m getting that seeds have to be planted. First and most importantly, order.
I’m going to try to put these goals in some semblance of logical order (knowing full well that Life will most likely smack me on the ass with a hearty chuckle and shake his head in humorous disbelief that I am still so naïve as to believe I’m the one in control, but whatever… humor me, Life)!
Goal 1. Choose a career path. Right now, I’m still convinced that should be a food related career. Again, I have no idea what. Cooking is an easy guess, but there’s a lot more to food than just preparing it.
Goal 2. Figure out where best to be to carry out goal number one, move there, and decide to be content to stay at least until I‘ve finished the reason I went there (if I have to move at all). Let’s face it, Los Angeles is chockablock with resources and educational opportunities innumerous. But can I afford to live here while I pursue whatever it is that I’m planning to pursue? Its not feeling super likely at the moment.
Goal 3. Acquire the necessary education, knowledge, mentoring, funds, etc., to be a credible candidate in my chosen career.
Goal 4. (Partnered with goal 2) Travel to states and countries of interest in order to discover where I want to plant roots and build a home I’m happy to be in (maybe build a family, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!). That includes a vegetable and herb garden. GodDAMN, I want a vegetable and herb garden!
Goal 5. Find a charity to devote time and energy to. Girl Scouts burned me out and soured me on charitable work. There… I said it. Just the thought of participating in such things often fills me with disgust and rage that has virtually nothing to do with being charitable and more to do with having felt like I was forced into volunteerism. If I don’t feel genuinely concerned, I don’t participate. But I do feel I need to get over rote resentments and give some back to this world. Most likely animal related. Let’s not start talking about how I feel about most people these days and how much I‘ve poured into the empty chasms where their souls should be.
*Sigh* noooooo, not you (unless you share my last name and your first name isn’t Kyle), and noooooo not everyone. I don’t want to get concerned emails over that statement. I’m 42 and a have been through a lot. Cut me a little slack, m’kay?
Goal 6. Finish my book and screenplay and stop being afraid of what those things will bring.
Goal 7. Not the least of my goals: Live every single day with awareness and gratitude that each day is a gift, no matter how lonely, frustrating, devastating or tumultuous they can get.
Starting today, it begins. Wish me luck.