Hello gentle readers! Long time, never see (ha!).
Here we are, on the last day of January 2016 and I have finally come to some conclusions about my resolutions and what I want my year to look like. Before I begin to wax rhapsodical, allow me to explain my month-long absence and what kept me away from this wonderful outlet I call blog:
My whole life
I made a vow that when I started this project, I would not discuss certain things that it is not polite to discuss on the internet:
- my job/boss/co-workers (at least not in specific terms, not tryna get fired y’hear)
- my relationship (we are private people)
- my family (it is not my place to tell anyone else’s truth even if we share DNA)
- my roommates (tryna maintain tranquility y’all)
- literally anything that is not coming directly from me, about me or anything that could come back to me years from now and embarrass anyone other than myself
I went into this project with these boundaries and in keeping with this “do no harm” mentality I have decided to wait until I have conclusions drawn from difficult situations to speak about them. I want to share my reflections and how I plan to move forward, not lament what I see as holding me back.
That being said, I have done a lot of thinking this past month and I now finally feel together enough to present my 2016 conclusilutions.
Conclusilution #1: Make (short and long-term) happiness a priority
Again, this is one of those things I am convinced that other people don’t need to make a conscious effort to prioritize. It seems so simple that you should try to be happy.
But in my professional life it did not come so easily to me, especially in the last few years.
I came to Portland in August 2014 to work for a political non-profit that I thought would accomplish the things I see as right in the world and make me happy. Soon the work weeks stretched to 65 hours on average, the victories were revealed to be 5-years out at least (by plan), the stress piled on, and the respect I hoped for in the non-profit community didn’t come as I learned that the reputation of my organization preceded me everywhere. I was not happy, but I stayed for the 8 months that I stayed because I believed that if I put my head down and did the hard work, I would win, the world would be better and making these changes would make me happy. As my hair started falling out and I began noticing cracked fillings from grinding my teeth, I realized that I would be dead by the time we won. Not physically, but I didn’t want my spirit to be beaten so thoroughly down, and dental work is expensive so I left.
Then I decided to take a job that would allow me to follow my personal bliss. I now have a relatively low-stress job that pays more, is a hard stop at 40-hours, and is a comfortable environment. My hair thickened up, I stopped grinding my teeth and I got to think about things other than my next stint at the office or my unfinished tasks. All that free time meant that I had room to breathe and time to think for the first time in almost a year (counting the time I spent scrambling after I left my first job). But time is the fuel of anxiety. As I began to plan my next move I began to have a series of “dangerous” thoughts:
- How will I get into grad school with no experience in my expressed field of choice?
- Why am I working in an industry that I not only have little/no interest in, but often flies in the face of my personal philosophy?
- Should I make my discomfort with office politics and organizational structure of the company known?
- How do I handle helping this company grow and plan for the future when I know I want to leave?
- Can I compartmentalize enough to see this as “only a job” as my supervisor suggested when I voiced my concerns?
- Will this kill part of me too?
I know those of you who know me well can feel the melodrama growing, but I worked myself into a froth of nerves and paralyze myself with emotion. Little known fact, St. Alice is the patron saint of the paralyzed, though the Catholic church probably did not have my quarter-life crisis in mind during her cannonization in 1250 CE.
So I went from having purpose and no clarity, to having clarity and no purpose. My soul-searching and self-work up to this point have revealed that I need both to survive.
My promise to myself is that when I return from our bike trip this summer I will seek out work that will advance my goal of opening my own community food co-op and meeting space. Haven’t picked the community yet, but baby steps, time for me to learn the industry. I will be looking for part time (or full time if I am lucky) work at a food co-op and studying for the GMATs so I can apply for non-profit focussed MBA programs hopefully starting in 2017. GOALS (no hashtag needed).
Resolution #2: Do more Art
I have never been a terribly, traditionally artistic person. My mother is an artist in all she does. I mean come on check out the most beautiful, adult-coloring-book-inspired holiday card you have ever seen:
My mom has been an artist all her life and she finds ways every day to use her passion. This card came in the mail early in the new year and I started to think about making the effort to incorporate making art into my life. I have become very functional and physical in my thinking of the world. I think I have been neglecting the function that art serves in your own metaphysical well-being. I have not identified as an artist at any point in my life. I sat through all types of fine art classes as a figure model during college but I never took a class (it would have cut down my available hours for work, so entrepreneurial of me…). So I have vowed to make art this year! How deliciously vague. Here are my ideas so far:
- I got an Instagram…baby steps
- I will continue to blog (more baby steps)
- Went and got a sketchbook, have started drawing all the neighbors houses
- Might join a community choir called Everyone can Sing! Its mostly 30-40 year olds who haven’t sung since church choir, I’ll fit in great 🙂
And so just like that I am on the path to becoming a more well-rounded (happier) amateur.
Resolution #3: Keep the goddamned oven door closed!
In the last 18~ months, Joey and I have been beefing up our cooking repertoire and satisfying more diverse culinary cravings in our own home. I have been trying to dig through the cupboards on weekend morning and use up all the stragglers on something new to tickle the tastebuds and fill our bellies. For example, last week I made these!
But I have a weakness, I CAN’T KEEP THE OVEN DOOR SHUT. I want to compulsively check on whatever it is we have in there ALL THE GODDAMNED TIME. This means our muffins must manage to maneuver with minor-ly minuter median temperatures. I am vowing this year to have the patience to trust the timer and leave the door closed so those muffins, all future muffins, casseroles, breads, and sheet pans full of brussel sprouts will finally get to cook! Last year was the year of the hot pan and this year is the year of the closed oven door. I will apply this same sense of patience and trust in my own judgment I am sure, because food dictates all of my choices anyway.
I suppose cooking could fall into the category of an art form if you do it right. But at this time I feel that my pursuit in this regard is different because even if my creations look like a pile of mud, I won’t take any time to make it look finished before eating it. I have not yet transcended the physical functionality of food.