Friday, February 1, 2008
Heavy and Light
First: the light:
This has been cracking me up. I need to add her to the links.
Also: I found this emu on the internets. I do not remember which internet it was.
Second: The Heavy:
Last night I had dinner with a good friend. She's going through a pretty major transition after a 12 year relationship, and it was tough to see her so torn between love and living the life she wants to live. The transition is going to be a tough one, full of heartbreak and manipulative language, pleading and recrimination. But when she's through it my friend will be free; she will feel like Atlas released. Her partner is my friend as well, and I hope he will get through this and find himself. He is going to have a hard time, after 12 years with no job, no insurance, no responsibility. As hard as it is, I can't help him with these things, because if he doesn't learn to be responsible and care for himself now, he never will. And another crutch would be the cruelest thing I could give him.
It has amazed me since I was small, how scary and hard change can be. We moved a lot, every few years, and so I quickly grew accustomed to leaving friends and houses behind. It wasn't easy, but it was what I knew. (My Dad is a Very Good Businessman, and we kept moving so that he could take better and better jobs.) Once we settled down, however, I found myself in the same boat as everyone else. The Devil I knew was preferable to the Devil I didn't know. I stayed with the same asshole boyfriend in High School (we spent the last three years of it in the same place), until I could escape to college with a clear conscience. And I knew that I wouldn't have to see him everyday there, and listen to his pleading, his constant entreaties to marry him.
But I've never stayed at a job I hated because I was too afraid to leave, and those years of packing up and leaving while I was a kid gave me the courage to leave my corporate job and start my business. It may not seem related, but it's the reason I have tattoos and piercings. It's an idea that is so simple, and it as become my mantra when I worry about the disapproval of others. It's simply this: If I don't live my life in a way that makes me happy now, I may not get the chance. This doesn't mean I put myself and my wants above others, actually, the opposite is true. Because working to make the planet healthier, people happier and animals suffer less makes me happy. Having my bills paid, earning a living and being responsible make me happy; I just get those things done my way. I wish this kind of happiness for everyone. If working in a cubicle makes you happy, then that's how you should make a living. There are so many people, however, that work in a place that kills their soul a little more every day, and for what? We spend the majority of our time at work, and if you hate every minute of that time, is it really worth it? How much is your happiness worth?
Which leads me to J. We had a lovely, if slightly wine-addled, talk last night about his going back to school. What he really wants to do, and where his heart is, is writing. Teaching English, writing short stories or novels or papers about books he's read, it doesn't matter. He loves the written word and he wants to share this with other people, preferably in an atmosphere of learning. He's also a wicked study of people and motivation (He has figured out every "surprise ending/twist" movie from The Usual Suspects to Fight Club to every M. Night movie in the first five minutes, and it is extremely annoying sometimes), and would love to do something with psychology. But both of those paths would severely impact how we live. We would have to reduce our sending, sell our house, get rid of at least 1/3 of our stuff to fit into a new, smaller house and we would have to do this for years. Until J got through student teaching, or practicum, or whatever else. Plus we'd like to have another Wee One before we're through with spawning, so we need to consider how that fits into the while scheme, too.
All of this is fine with me. I'd live in a hovel for J to be happy. I will make do, and E would benefit from learning how to live with less. It's a good skill to have. But my lovin' husband doesn't want us to suffer for him, and so he's debating Business Psychology, so that maybe he can get a job that doesn't trample on everything he believes in, plus we can afford to get E the education we'd like her to have. But I'm going to keep after J to follow his heart in this, because he needs to be happy, too. My only hovel requirement is indoor plumbing and hot water. We are very lucky, and we have so much. I'd be fine with one cup, plate and bowl for each of us, and we could easily streamline the rest of our possessions. (Yet I still feel a little pang when the bigger houses are built around us. I don't want a bigger house, cleaning this one is tough enough. Why?) I did feel a little panicky last night though, talking this through. It would be a big change. Moving to Michigan was mentioned, so that he could train to be a Waldorf teacher. Change is always scary, even when you're used to it, I guess.
WELL! Nice rant there, eh? I'll stop dumping out my internal monologue for now, and you may go about your weekend in freedom. I hope it's a really rockin' one, because I'm going to party like I don't have kids.