Last week it seemed was rainy everywhere, and Montana was no exception. I blogged earlier about the rain and my field work last week. As I was taking one last look over the photos I had taken before I packed up again to head out again this week. I noticed that there were two photos that reminded me of the dramatic difference that a day, an hour or a minute can make. Most of the week I was rained on in some form, from a light mist to pull off and stop because the rain is so hard you can’t see. There were a few photos taken when the rain stopped and most of them still had grey clouds and threatening skies. Yet I did have one photo where the sky was blue, the clouds were white, the grass was green and the road was calling for me. Life was pretty amazing.
The road is calling my name.
The other was a photo that grabbed me was the one I took sitting in the cab of my truck on my last day. I had been driving down this road that was getting progressively worse while the rain continued to fall. I stopped in the middle of the road and mentally regrouped. Though I could see for miles in all directions, I was alone, I had been praying to not meet anyone on this road because to get off the proven tracks was soft mud. I would drive down this road for another few miles with it getting progressively worse and began to look for a place to turn around. At eight miles from the paved road I would finally come to place to turn around without risking getting stuck and having to walk out. I wrote off the last gypsy moth trap as impossible to safely set. It was a low point to admit defeat, to be so close and not make it. Yet maybe it wasn’t. I did not get stuck. I did not have to walk out in the rain and I got all but one of my traps set. Maybe there are no high points or low points, just points of view.
It seems when people know you have a sewing machine they think that you want to do their mending, alterations and hemming. I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked to repair or rework someone’s clothing. I almost always tell folks no I can’t do their little job.
I have been sewing in some form for as long as I can remember. I am not exactly sure when I started, but I know by the time I had my first home ec class in junior high school that the first project, an apron made out of a quarter-inch checked fabric, was too simple for my skill set. There were girls who must have tore their seams out ten times. The whole concept was new to them. I was done several classes before the other girls in my class. So I was expected to not only sew an apron but embellish it with embroidery. Over the years I have made clothing, quilts, curtains, slipcovers and about everything in between. I like to sew. I have always had a place to sew and a nice machine. That being said I hate rework…mending…alterations…hemming.
I have been short with a non-standard body all my life. When it comes to store-bought clothing nothing fits off the rack. When I worked a corporate job, all my clothing went directly from the department store to the lady who had a shop that did alterations. She hemmed the sleeves of my jackets, linings and all. She not only hemmed my pants and skirts, but reworked the waist band because my hour glass shape was not what standard clothing manufactures expected, my bottom was way too big for my waist. This woman was priceless to me and though I had a sewing machine, she did what I could not. My tailor’s skill was an art; she made my clothes fit properly and they did not look re-made. I valued her more than I did my hair stylist. There were many more stylist to pick from than tailors. I don’t have many tailor clothes any more, but when I put them on I do miss that perfect fit that she gave me.
Now I am getting ready for my new job that puts me out in the field. I will be wearing cotton jeans every day. I have been scouring thrift stores for new jeans (I don’t want low rise or big legs for work). I have already hemmed four pair and this morning I just cut off excess fabric on four more pair that I will hem today. I still don’t like hemming but I am managing to get through the process. I am not however adjusting my waist bands, I just plan to cinch that belt a little tighter.
It all has made me reflect a little about that tailor with her little shop back in Minnesota. I had not thought about her in a long time. She was part of a dieing occupation, like so many others like shoe repair, small engine repair and others. It makes me sad when I think about it. I bet there are lots of folks who wish they could make a living at those things, but in our changing society it just doesn’t seem possible any more.
Today is National Sibling Day, another made up holiday. The best thing about this is that it gave me pause to think about my siblings. I grew up in a blended family, though in though days we did not call it anything other than a family. We were all treated the same when you were in our household, same rules, same expectations, no one special. A kid was a kid.
Today I want to thank my siblings because you made me the best I could be. You all contributed to what I am today. I like who I have turned out to be and you, my siblings, were part of that.
Sometimes I was the oldest child and sometimes I wasn’t. Sometimes I only had brothers and other times not. It allowed me to take the best from multiple birth orders and incorporate it in to my being. You were there in the best of times and the worst of times. You taught me why it is important to be competitive, because if you aren’t you get what is leftover and no one wants only black jelly beans. I quickly learned life isn’t always fair, because I still think you were not above cheating to win, and you don’t always get what you want. You taught me empathy and compassion for others, when you shared your jelly beans when I lost for the umpteenth million time. You taught me how to be strong and the feelings of helplessness. You taught me to never ever give up and how to be a good leader and a graceful looser. You taught me that fair and just is not always the same as equal. You also taught me how to think and be creative because we were not all created equal. You taught me to use the skills I had because I would seldom be the tallest, fastest, have the experience or knowledge I thought I needed. Together you taught me the value of teamwork and the importance of working together. You taught me that we were never going to be the same, so respect differences. With you I learned how to make do with what life dealt me, because you were not always going to share or help.
Some of this might sound a little whiny, but it isn’t meant to be. I persevered not in spite of my siblings and because of them. Being their sister I ended up with a great set of life skills, a sense of reality and knowledge of my personal and civic responsibility that have served me well. I would not want anyone else for my siblings. Love you all. I am telling you this today because someone moron in Washington DC declared today your holiday when they should have been fixing the budget, preventing war or saving the world. Had that moron been in our family then adult or not I promise that one of the siblings would have called them and reminded them of what they had learned about life growing up and to get down to work and get things done.
Those of you who follow my blog, know I am at a crossroad, presently being unemployed. During this time I have been doing some contract work, and friends have called telling me about jobs out there they feel I would be a good fit for. I am so blessed for their support during this time. Yet I feel that this situation would be wasted if I did not take time to really reflect on what should be next, instead of immediately jumping back into what has been a sure thing and comfortable for the last 30 years. It may be that one moment in time to really start something new or explore things I have always wanted to try, but fear held me back. The fear of the unknown. The fear of failure. Fear of how I’d feel not making a regular financial contribution to the household.
RangerSir and I have had many discussions about the idea of a temporary job during this time. We have weighed the pros and cons. The pros won. Since that decision, I have spent time looking at the temporary and seasonal jobs out there. I have been researching the positions, companies and interviewing. The good news is I have secured a temporary seasonal job. It means that this job will have a beginning and an end. So there is no lock-in for this job if I hate it; I just have to last the season. If I like it I have just added something to my resume. It will use many of my skills I already have, but just as importantly it will require skills I don’t have. This will feed my need for life long learning. It is an entry-level, worker-bee job. It means I have a job to do, and I will be responsible for me and my performance, that is it. I can’t remember the last time this was true. It feels very good. It is a four-tens, so I will still have three days a week to enjoy summer. I will be on the road most of the time, again something I have not done for years, but exploring the back roads of Montana sounds fine for the summer. Finally it will supply me with a regular paycheck, that I discover I need.
I admit the whole prospect of this summer job is almost frightening because it is so far out of my comfort zone. It could be a colossal failure, in so many different ways. Yet I find I am really excited to do something different and not to just wonder but actually know what something completely different will feel like. It will provide me with the time and space to really think about what next, while making a financial contribution to household.
Not everyone gets this chance. Not everyone sees this chance when it happens to them. I was lucky in that I got the chance and recognized it it. Thanks to my friends, family and blog followers who have been there with words of encouragement during this time of great unrest. Now on to the next great adventure.
As I work through the changes I have thrown myself into it has been amazing and frightening all at the same time. This quote captures the essence of my life during this time of change.
I thought that life would immediately reveal itself to me and I would be clear where I was headed and I would quickly move in that direction. To quote a friend of mine “Was I smoking crack?” I am old enough and experienced enough to know that isn’t real life Some days I struggle with this change I have made to my life and other days I am riding forward in a new direction with self-assured with no reservations. I continue to move forward, full of questions, second guesses, wild discoveries and affirmations about who I am. It is easier and more difficult that I imagined, but now that I have stepped off the path I have no choice but to move forward and finish what I have started.
One of the things that multiple people have said to me multiple times that now I can sleep in and do nothing since I am no longer employed by someone else. Interesting thought, but not happening. First and foremost I am a creature of habit and routine. So in spite of this big change in my life there is so much I do that I have always done and will likely continue to do, but I am seeking something different.
For this creature it means that I get up each morning and almost universally am rocking and rolling each day by 7. It is my internal time clock. It is part of me. Regular time or daylight savings time each day at 7 bells each am I am getting up, no alarm required. I am a morning person it is part of my undeniable chemistry always has been and not likely to change.
Another piece of my make up is the need for some kind of control. It is that type A, analytical business analysis that I spent most of my life being speaking up here. To satisfy that need to plan and have some control I still use a planner. In my planner you will still find a to-do list, though I will freely admit it looks much different. No longer is full of things my employer needs from me. My day is no longer driven by the obligations I have as an employee. Instead it is full of ideas that pop in my head, people I want to call, appointments I need to make for myself or the animals, things I want to learn more about, places I have wanted to visit and other things that are on my personal wish list. Each morning over that first cup of tea I look at the list and decide what on my list I want to do today. Some days it is one thing and other days it is five things. It depends on if the weather calling my name to come out and play in an early spring day in Montana, or my creative muse is begging me to spend the day in my studio space, or a book on my reading list just became available at the library, or a million other things that can make that day just right for me.
So maybe my method has not changed, but what I am doing with my time has changed. Lets see what the changes bring into my life.
As I start this next chapter of my life, I am finding that it is really all up to me what my life looks like.
I have worked ever since I was old enough to babysit and have not stopped since. For the most part I have been lucky and have had some pretty good employers and jobs. I have been been blessed to not only have a great career but one that has allowed me to have a great life and experience the changes of the world of technology. I have had the opportunity to be a rising star and a be a leader in different business settings. I thrived in that environment, thought at times it was all consuming. There were sacrifices made by not just me, but my friends and family as well. At times I became my career and it became me.
Now that I am am unemployed and of a certain age, I am looking at the idea of moving back to a work in role of a worker bee rather than a leader. I suspect that it will be hard after years of being a leader, but it is now someone else’s time to shine. I want to leave at the end of the work day, knowing I did the best job possible for that time, but the work day is over and I get to leave. I no longer wish to be at my desk at 6:00 in the morning and still be there at 6:30 at night. More importantly, I don’t want my mind to race at night mulling over business problems and wondering how I can improve the situation. It is now my time to make a contribution in ways with my talents outside of my job. Those extra hours at work have a new place to go. I have in the given past, but my heart tells me it is now time to look at more and different ways to give back to my community. My creative muse is screaming to get out and play. The impulsive person in me, who has been under lock and key is just clawing to get out, and do something spur of the moment.
So as I celebrate five years blogging here at LookingOutTheWindow, I invite you to ride along on the next chapter as I explore life looking out a new window and what I find along the way.