Thursday, August 11, 2011

Soul Searching

    I am having a day of doubt, impatience, and frustration. It is causing a chaos of inertia and wild energy. The need to act dampered by a sense of futility. A driving desire to move forward hampered by no where to go. I keep veering onto different paths, hoping to find the one that will lead me to my heart's desire. But now I am having doubts of what I really desire. No, that isn't quite right. I know my heart's desire. What I am doubting is the paths I am trodding in search of that ideal job/occupation/career that will finance my heart's desire and still feed my soul. The age old, "what do I want to be when I grow up" dilemma.
    I know what I want to be, my heart's desire. I laughingly refer to it as "Hermit In The Woods," my way of labeling my dream of having a small, rustic (not too rustic mind you, I like running water, electricity and internet access) home on the edge of a small patch of farmable land, with a cool, serene forest at my back. No neighbors in sight. Just me, my animals, and solitude. The freedom to grow a garden, have a few chickens, maybe a cow. A small home with a large, airy, bright studio to create works of art and to write my fiction. I don't set my sights on creating great works of art, or the next great American novel, just the freedom to spend my days creating what I want, how I want it, when I want to do it. The freedom that feels shackled by my current situation.
    So where does Soul Searching come into this? Because it is more than obvious to me and anyone who cares to ask, that I do know what I would love to do "when I grow up" but I know that it won't make me any money either. At least not enough to provide even the most basic of essentials. And it definitely would not give me insurance benefits. The Searching is pointed at the reality of the workaday world. I must have money to survive, living in freedom would have very little to recommend it if it came with zero dollars, no home, no food. I have been searching for an altruistic career, a job with a sense of accomplishment, the ability to "make a difference." My current job barely covers my cost of living, but the hours are easy as is the job itself. It does give me enough mental down-time to ponder my next project, but it is also a soul-sucking drain of emotional energy that makes me want to pound my face on my desk. The jobs I have been applying for would have better pay, better benefits, actual PTO accrued on a regular basis, the potential for regular pay raises, but they would also have random hours, sporadic schedules, and require all my brain functions to be on the job at all times... no more daydreaming, no planning next project.
    Where does this leave me? I am not sure. Am I wavering because I have been faced with rejection so many times on the job front? Am I trying to justify throwing in the towel and continuing as a malcontented office drone? Or am I realizing that the advantage of the easy job and easy hours is that despite the stress and emotional black hole that I work in, it does give me a lot of free time, and I really don't take work home with me. Am I looking for fulfillment in the wrong place? Can work be just work? Just a paycheck to support my arts? Can I allow myself to give up on the dream of a "fulfilling" workaday career and focus my energies  on my fulfilling, yet not-for-profit arts? I am not one to give up on A Plan, and I have had serious concerns that my current employment could go down the drain with the economy, but couldn't that be said of almost any job with any organization at this point?
    My life seems a jumble of mixed emotions, crossed signals, and confusion in nearly every aspect. The only thing I feel certain of is that my dogs love me. Everything else is totally up for grabs. I will continue with the Soul Searching, trying to keep moving forward, even if I don't know where I'm going. I sure as hell have no idea where I will end up.

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