I was forced to relocate (unexpectedly) in May. I enjoyed my little loft apartment, it was quaint and homely and I'd actually become accustomed to a smaller dwelling place, but when my old landlord left and some new (and rather unpleasant) people took over the lease of the building, my welcoming, comfy home became too uncomfortable to bear any longer. To make a long story short, my landlords seemed to have alcoholic issues and they were either 1) amnesiacs or 2) blatant liars. In addition to moving without prior notice due to harassment (people knocking on the door relentlessly, dogs barking at all hours, music banging all through the night, etc.), I also had $650 stolen from me by these people.
But, alas, we did find a very comfy little townhouse right at the edge of the city. I live right down the corner from this little thrift shop, the library, and a cute little cafe as well as an antique market and another vintage wares shop. If they weren't so darn unpleasant, I would almost say the terrible crooks at the old apartment did me a favor because I'm much happier here! I also have great neighbors and an amazingly sweet landlord (she's in her late 70's and is a true sweetheart).
But on to the reason for my long absence. I actually lost access to my gmail...which means I lost access to my complete blogger and all my blogs. I tried in vain to get the 2-way telephone verification off my email for literally months until an old friend helped me out yesterday (thank God for small miracles and at least one true friend). But the inability to access even my email (much less my blogs) greatly diminished my work on my small, independent nonprofit Pink.Girl.Ink. (which I'm working to rectify at the moment) and I truly have missed the art and poetry blogs I enjoy visiting (and the comments of kind, like-minded individuals who visit me as well). I also was unable to partake in the weekly art and poetry challenges I so love.
Despite these setbacks, my time away has not been a total waste. I've done quite a bit of soul-searching (and like to think I've figured a few things out). I've read nearly 30 books since May (no joke!), and have made a vast collection of digital photoshop elements I plan to share (for free) with my fellow digital art enthusiasts. Perhaps my most remarkable read was by Sara Ban Breathnach. Her book Something More was a riveting wake-up call to my own soul. Through her inspirational words and stories, she calls each woman to question her own life story, her own desires and disappointments so that she might, as an individual person answering only for herself, find her true plight towards happiness.
Some great truths I've resurrected during my reading of this book were:
1. I'm no longer interested in the helping profession. I don't care how many degrees and certifications I have earned in the vocation of counseling, social work, and human services...it simply no longer serves my soul and I don't wish to work in this area any longer. Not only are jobs in this field vast and far between but they pay next to nothing and it's a thankless field of work (for the most part).
If I had majored in what truly interested me in college, I would have went English Lit and Art History all the way, but the advisors were always so quick (with their statistical analysis charts and course directories) to steer the 'creatives' away from their true passions and toward something more 'practical.' Well, call me impractical if you want, but for the next era of my life I intend to dive totally into the world of Literature. I will delve into the arts of my own, true interests and resurface as some other woman, the woman I've wanted to be.
2. I enjoy being a 'housewife' or 'stay-at-home mom.' No, it does not mean my life is empty...or that I'm lazy...or that I'm ignorant or lack ambition. Quite to the contrary! Do you know how long it takes to actually cook a meal from scratch...add in the dishwashing time. Oh, and the homeschooling of my daughter and the huge responsibility of lesson plans. Wait, let's add to that the huge majority of housecleaning and all the menial labor it takes to take care of a 10 year old special needs child 24/7 as well as look out for elderly parents. Nope, lazy isn't a vocabulary word that will ever describe my exhaustion. But you know what? I enjoy my time. I love being my daughters primary teacher/caregiver. And I am enamoured with the freedom of choosing my own schedule and pursuing my own interests and talents rather than allowing some job title or a lousy paycheck to define and enslave me.
Seriously, if you are a working woman (and/or mom) and you can stand a little cut in pay (and some of the extravagances like brand spanking new vehicles and name-brand everything)...let those frivolities go and stay home. Stay home for yourself so you can figure out who you are without all these responsibilities and debts dragging you down by the ankles.
I love my life at home. It's a life rich in literature, art, storybooks and novels and poetry and great movies and classic film. It's a life rich in home-cooked meals and tons of arts-and-crafts with my daughter. It's a life full of scrapbook-worthy memories, scented candles, good books, and lots of love. I learn something everyday and take online courses. I have met some fantastic creative women via my independent nonprofit press. Oh, and I get to breathe. The payoff is worth it for me. There's some things you just can't measure in money.
3. It doesn't pay to unplug. There you go, I just ate my own words. Yes, me, who complains about how everything in life is conducted via internet and email and blah blah blah and how terrible the lack of face-to-face interaction. Well, after four months being away from most online interaction, my mind has changed. These days if you unplug, you disconnect.....truly disconnect, not just as in wires, but socially as well. Now days there's an app for everything. Shopping, restaurants, photos, etc. And unplugging doesn't make life easier or more worthwhile, it actually makes it heaps harder. Seriously...I found an app where I can order photo prints, straight from my tablet to my mailbox without ever moving from my chair.
You know what you can do online these days that you can't in person? You can talk to friends from across the world. You can foster friendships with like-minded people while sitting a whole continent (or oceans-length) away. You can go to school, play games, shop, learn a new hobby, write and publish a book....all while sitting at your desk!
And while I agree I'd rather see my friends face to face than from a chat box...I'd rather have the chat box than nothing! I 'unplugged' for several months due to my move and I lost out on all the small 'online' things I usually take for granted: instagram, deviant art, flickr, chatting with friends from afar, the ease of looking up random how-to's via google, and so on. Seems that we are a technologically-dependent society these days. If you want to keep up, keep the 'online' open!
Honestly, I think the truth of the matter is, I'm getting older and at this point in my life I'm largely steered towards doing the things that serve me. Too many people spend a majority of their lives (particularly women) serving others while neglecting themselves and their own interests and talents and dreams. And it's unfair. Also, some people get fooled by greed. If they can get the next best thing or just a little more money or a bigger house, they think that THEN life will be great...but it never is. Things don't make life great. Purposeful activities and passionate interests and love and kindness and generosity and creativity are the things which make life great...not money, not monetary gain, not even popularity or fame. Happiness is an inside thing! Also, pay close attention to the 'little things.' You may realize that the 'little things' matter more than anything.
So, I suppose my plight is one of authenticity. I want to figure out who I am as me, and what makes me happy. The helping profession doesn't, obviously. Neither does greed. For now I'm happy just to sit on this question as I continue to read and write and create. I'm not sure where, exactly, life (and my interests) will take me at this point but I'm eager to sit back and relax and just enjoy the ride. And I believe that's how life is meant to be lived.
As for this blog....those few months were a mere momentary pause. I'm back!