Even Jesus Likes a Good Scavenger Hunt

 

There are days when you feel good about the things that are going right in your life, and there are days when you feel like maybe you are a complete failure. Things aren’t really black and white. Sometimes we sacrifice in one area so that we can benefit in another. So maybe I am guilty of spending time thinking about the sacrifices- but I am great at talking myself out of it. Usually.

I have made sacrifices in my career and income that benefit Teghan. She attends a good school and has extended family around her because of those sacrifices. Those sacrifices allowed me to spend time with my sister before she died. These things are obvious priorities. But it’s hard to go backwards. It’s easy to do a job that you know well, but not so easy to know that you passed this point in your career a long time ago. Life is full of give and take, right? That’s helpful.

But do you know what else helps? Thinking about how far you have really come. I was reminiscing about the jobs I had when I was young and didn’t know enough to stay out of the retail business. Or worse- that brief job I held at a pizza place when I was fifteen (across from my high school). That pizza place was where I first discovered that I was clearly not cut out for food service. That, and the four days I once spent working at a doughnut shop drive-thru.  Continue reading

A Life Beneath Our Means

I’ve been thinking of completely changing my life. My career path went off course in the evil pursuit of money, and I find myself surrounded by people who are on course- and I hate them. Not because they are reaching all their career goals. Let’s face it. It’s hard to envy people whose goals are found in the same place where dreams go to die, right? No, I hate them because they are not my kind of people. I just don’t quite belong, and I feel offended every time I get their approval.

I don’t mean to sound like I am better, because that isn’t (always) it. Just different- and people like to be around other people who share their passions and ideas. I don’t even hate them. I am just not as passionate about middle management sales goals. Other people, turns out, take it quite serious. So then I have to fake enthusiasm. It’s really a never-ending cycle of self-loathing, with moments of clarity scattered in.

So now what? I am the bread winner in this family, and all of my great experience lies in the financial sector. I can make money there, so I keep doing it. How do you start over and still pay the bills? It’s been more than a decade since I have been labeled a creative type by the general public. I used to write songs and sing in a band. I knew what I wanted every day and how I would get it. Then I found this great day job…. and the rest is just part of my painful history.

I have been thinking about minimalism. Actually, I have been thinking about everything from volunteering overseas to joining a cult. So far I have brainstormed up to moving into a two bedroom apartment that includes more utilities. Rent and heat in this large, old house really do add up. Could I get away with not having a car? Seems unlikely. We have already let go of cable, but I don’t see any chance of us giving up our iPhones.

If it were just me and Dave it would be simpler. I’d make that a studio apartment- maybe in a whole other town. We could travel around working for lodging or something. I could homeschool Teghan- but who are we kidding? Teghan is like a safety net. She’s an obstacle in this situation, and my laziness is the only thing that keeps me from making impulsive decisions. Dave and I are easily convinced to go on an adventure, and without obstacles we would likely do something stupid like hit the road with no plan, or actually join a cult (which is sort of how we met- but that’s another story).

The goal is to live well under our meager means, and to spend more time and money doing the things we want to. And to really do it, there will be some sacrifice. Sounds romantic at first, but I have been tricked before. So for now I am just planning, and cleaning out the attic. But something bigger will happen- soon.