Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Still at the cross roads

I am fully aware that having a good paying, stable job with good vacation and health benefits is a blessing. I am.

I am fully aware that being a single parent who is in debt to her eyeballs, that a good paying, stable job is more than a blessing, but also a necessity. I get it.

But, I still feel like I need to look for a new option. I feel to the depth of my bones that what I spend 8 to 10 hours per day doing; is worthless. Love getting paid... I do. But, the things I spend my time doing? Complete waste of time in the grand scheme of things. It used to be enough to me to feel like I'm contributing to a project (which I still am); to be a contributing member of a team tackling a big task (still am); producing technical documentation and/or software that helps someone do their job better (still am). But now? I spend too much time thinking about the fact that when it all comes down to it, my contribution is simply helping the company I work for issue more mortgages so the corporation can make more money off of people buying homes they (probably) can't afford when the going gets rough.

I'm not helping children, families, or elderly. I'm not providing food or education or helping people live safer lives.... I'm not clothing the poor; feeding the hungry; educating people so they can support themselves.

I still miss teaching. I found a way to incorporate a little of it into my regular life... I teach knitting to anyone who asks for help and teach a knitting class or two through the local school district in their continuing education program. I have more fun during that hour and a half a night than I do in a month at work. It's SO rewarding to have people take a semi-challenging thing to learn and find their way through it.

I taught for almost 10 years; but didn't have benefits, when I got divorced, I had to sacrifice the teaching for a job that carried health insurance. I did get offered a chance to teach full-time, but it would have been a 50% pay cut; and making ends meet wouldn't have worked. Now, it would be closer to a 75% pay cut; and I'd never get my debts paid off... sigh.

Even then - the demand for instruction for young adults and adults in how to use basic applications isn't in such huge demand as it was almost ten years ago.

But... I did get to chatting about this dilemma with a few people (off the record, of course)... and it's got me thinking. What if I could find a government/philanthropic/etc back-to-work kind of program; working with convicts; or working with unemployed; or even people working through recovery for addiction? I've been mulling for quite a while going to the hospital to see if I could find a way to volunteer to teach knitting to stressed out patients; bed-ridden patients; or parents of ill children as a sort of coping mechanism... but what if I could find a way to support myself (well) AND provide a service to society that I find meaningful?

I'm a smart girl. I might not find something this week ... to be honest, I'm not even sure where to start looking... but if I never look, I'm pretty darn sure I won't find it. If I dig; heck; if I can find a way to apply for grants, who is to say that I couldn't find something worthwhile, fulfilling AND able to support my kids?

I had a daydream - ooh... ages ago. What would I do with myself if I wasn't in debt, and money was no object. Where would I be... what would I do. First thing would be to buy land (and quite a bit of it). Second ... there would have to be a lake or pond (don't know why really.... just has to have it. Third... the house can't be too big; but it sure as heck would be bigger than my current 1100 sq foot apartment. Next (a bit off my norm) - wind turbines - lot's of them. Enough to power a mid-sized city. Tons & tons. Enough to cover my electrical needs plus sell back power to just about anyone. And last? (now this is less off my norm; but a bit) -- Alpaca. For the wool. And men to take care of them (because I have enough trouble getting the kids & pets fed on a daily basis some days). And a mill.... where I would hire & train women who are/have been in a tough place to spin wool; dye wool; knit. Maybe have a compound of small homes available for short-term emergency living quarters for them & their children. A safe place. A place where there's someone to help watch the children, help them with making sure everyone was fed... and a place where they can learn skills that they might be able to use to make a living... computer skills, analytical skills, knitting, etc.

Do I really forsee this place as really happening? Not really. It's a nice dream that captures a lot of different parts of my personality. A place where I can help others; get as much alpaca as I could dream of having; the wind turbines to contribute to improving the environment and our place in the stream of the world. I would do sheep, too... but I'm allergic to wool. Cotton is a possibility... silk worms, etc. But, that's mostly just wishful thinking.

BUT that doesn't mean I can't start thinking of ways to incorporate a little of this into my life. The cubicle farm is just the LAST place in the world that I want to be; and every single day it seems like it's taking me away from something that I SHOULD be doing.

I just have to figure out a way to be able to meet these needs without sacrificing the fiscal, stable, vacation, health insurance needs. And that's going to take some time.

Anyone have a winning lottery ticket they feel like giving away??? LOL

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