Been very busy the last couple of weeks and have been neglecting the blog. I need to do this as close to daily as possible to keep my mind and fingers focused on writing something that isn’t work-related – for someone else, about topics I wouldn’t normally be writing about.
I’m lucky to have a job where I write all day. I toiled for many years in other professions. I did the retail and restaurant thing for many years. I kept my hand (feet, really) in retail as a second job up until only a few years ago, when I had my son and any spare time I had began to be devoted to raising him. I worked a retail job while I was pregnant to try to make back the money I spent going through IVF to get pregnant, and made it to my seventh month before all the hours of standing and walking, after working an 8-hour office job, became too much. Didn’t make back the money I spent either, not even close. One can toil for what seems like an eternity at low-paying jobs like that and see very little yield.
I was a secretary of many varieties for a great number of years. I worked my way up that chain, such as it is, until I was at the top of the pile, which is the Executive Assistant gig, and did that for a long time. Those jobs can include a lot of writing, and some event planning, and eventually I worked hard to slide into a job doing those things, instead of answering someone’s phone and keeping their calendar, and so it went from there. I’ve been able to get full-time writing jobs for 13 years now, which is pretty nice since this isn’t ever what I thought I’d be doing for my career.
It’s a bit of life’s sick irony that you only discover different career paths, interests, and things you are really good at until you’re pretty much too old and/or broke to pursue them as careers. There are other things I could have done and enjoyed, but when I was in college, I devoted my degree to theater and dance. I didn’t want a “fall back” career and couldn’t think of anything else I would want to pursue that would be interesting and lead to any type of work I’d want to do.
Of course, I’ve spent all my adult life getting paid for work I didn’t want to do anyway, so that’s how that worked out.
The good news is, I’ve never been so career-focused or focused on work above everything else that my personal life gets neglected. I’ve had a rich and wonderful and exciting and beautiful (and even difficult) life outside of these jobs I’ve held. I’ve loved and laughed, had wonderful friendships, helped others, and of course had my son, which has turned out to be the thing in my life that’s brought me the most pleasure, joy and pride, which I didn’t expect.
As I begin the work of planning my son’s 7th birthday party in a couple of months, I realize how much having him has changed me as a person, made me realize what’s really important is the people, the things I do outside of work. The afternoons spent at a friend’s house drinking wine and sharing complaints and funny stories about life while our kids play. This morning on the phone, my Mom and I were reminiscing about that one freakishly warm St. Patrick’s Day several years ago, when she was still working and took off work to come downtown and go to the parade with me. I took off half a day, and we spent the day walking around town, drinking beer, eating cheap corned beef sandwiches, watching the parade and enjoying the insane revelry that’s part of Cleveland’s celebration. It was in the 70s and absolutely gorgeous out, and we had an amazing, amazing time despite the insane crowds everywhere. We both know we’ll never be able to do that again for more than a few reasons, but we treasure that memory and made the decision to take off work for a day just to live life. It’s important. I know everyone doesn’t feel that way. People are at different points in the game, I mean, journey of life, and it’s hard to understand when other people don’t see how important it is. I am increasingly seeking out those people who get it. That’s quality time, right there.
Don’t let the clouds obstruct your view.