"If you do not like where you are, change it.
You are not a Tree."
I woke up this morning with that strange unrest that hits me now and then, usually in late Winter, when I am feeling like a malcontent. Oddly, this has been a growing feeling over the last year or more. I think It came about after my Grandmother died. That set a series of changes in motion that were inevitable; weeks spent at her property cleaning through the detritus of an interesting and artistic life, time spent with my mother and aunt who have interesting lives, fantasies of the "what ifs" that revolved around the property lovingly called The Art Farm, the acquisition of so much salvaged building material, the building of The Fort with some of the aforementioned salvage. All these seemingly small things that add up to a realization that I still can't decide what I want to be when I grow up.
I have moved through the bulk of my adult years doing whatever job I happened to get that paid tolerably well, that I was good at, and that fit around being a mother. Being a mother was the full time job that I took seriously, excelled at, and let define who I was for the better part of 20 years. I know this is typical. Get married, get pregnant, have babies, put all else on hold. Then the children grow, the marriage dissolves, and here I am with no formal education or training, a work history of what really amount to menial jobs, and to top it off; a serious lack of desire to be a paid lackey. I hate to think I am ever typical, but can we say, "Empty Nester?" Not really. Not in the sense that I don't know what to do with myself with no kids in the house. To the contrary, I am busier than I ever have been, but something is lacking.
I know plenty of people who think it is because I am single, and have basically remained so for a very long time. Yes, there were various relationships over the last 15 years since the dissolution of my marriage, but I haven't cohabitated with anyone other than my sons before they launched themselves onto the world. The reality is, I Love Living Alone. Really. Solitude is my dearest friend, silence being a close second. I can't even imagine having someone around that I had to talk to every day, it would drive me batshit crazy. This is one reason I am single; most guys don't get it. They do not understand that I don't want to chat every day, or text, or "hang out." It's nothing personal, but it makes men feel unnecessary, and unneeded. No one likes not being needed. So, my sense of disquiet and unrest is definitely not linked to my romantic life, or lack thereof. I am a hermit by choice.
What I keep coming back to is "What do I want to be when I Grow Up?" Nothing? Everything? I want to do it all, on my schedule. The other day I said, "I wish someone would pay me just to be Me." It is the truth. I am the square peg in the round hole. At work I am a rabble-rouser, voicing my jaded opinion on today's lack of respect for the working class. I feel like an old coot when I say "I remember back when good insurance was paid for by the company... when raises were available... when paid holidays were the norm..." These days every company seems to want to cut every corner possible to make a little extra profit that goes right into the pockets of the owners, never into the pocket of the underpaid over-worked employee, who is being asked to do more and more with less and less. Egads, you've got me monologuing like a cheesy super-villain.
Back to the question: What do I want to be when I grow up? Maybe I just don't want to grow up? This question, asked when I was still in school, I always said "Veterinarian." Always. That was the dream for years. I wasn't a great enough student to make it into pre-med, and I knew it, so the dream fell to the wayside. In my late 20's I got to be a Veterinary Technician, and it was a great job, but I realized that I am too emotional. It was a heartbreaking job on so many levels. Plus, there is still the aspect of being at the mercy of an employer. In my early 20's I wanted to be a musician, and I was. Sort of. Bass player in a punk band that morphed into a rockabilly/surf band. That was fun, but I knew there was no money in it.
One dream from my childhood that became a reality is being a Firefighter. I love it, but it is not a career. There is no money in it, it is all volunteer. The pay is in the satisfaction.... and getting to drive a Fire Engine. I am too old to make it a paying career, and would I want to? No. Go back to the reason I couldn't be a Vet Tech, too emotional. It would break my heart over time. But, I get to drive a Fire Engine, and help when and where I can.
This all still leaves me with the question. Last year I sat in The Fort and wrote two lists:
What I Want:
Self Reliant Home
What I Need:
I am revisiting these lists. A few things have changed. Many have remained the same. Most are long term goals. Some are Lifestyle. Some are day to day challenges.
Also, on the page with What I Need are these scribbled notes:
"Bring Art into everyday Life."
These are all goals. Ways and means to move forward with Life. Changes. But I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.