Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Farewell Happy Fields

Yesterday was my 45th birthday. A little less than three weeks from now I will be leaving a professions in which I’ve been working for over 15 years. I will also be leaving a good job I’ve had in that profession for the past 10 years. I am going to part time and, while on paper I can make the family finances work, it will be another thing to see them in action in this new world I’m creating.

That all being said, yesterday was the most likely the last shopping spree I will go on for a loooong time.

“Shopping Spree” may give the wrong idea—it wasn’t so much a Buy Everything I Want type of deal. First, I was limited to one place by giftcards but the giftcards I had accumulated equaled over $80—which is a hard amount of money for me to spend at Sephora. I had gotten out of work a little early so I spent what seemed like an inordinate amount of time in the Shadyside store. My initial thought was to take all those giftcards and put them towards a new perfume. And while there were some that had intrigued me in theory, they just lost their lustre in their overhandled tester bottles. Next was looking at new eyeshadow to go with my new glasses but, frankly, I have quite a lot of eyeshadow that I like and it takes forEVER for me to actually use up a tray of eyeshadow. Also, I have been known to buy an eyeshadow I really llike only to get it home and realize that I liked it so much I bought it last year and I still have yet to work my way down to the bottom of the damn thing.

That left skincare products, which is my weakness anyhow. I got a very expensive pot of Brown Sugar and Wild Strawberry Face Masque from Fresh as well as a Brown Sugar gift set , also from Fresh. I used them both last night and they are lovely. I also got a new eyeliner brush: now that I did need.

I had just enough time to go to the Consignment Shop on Centre avenue, where I tried on a bunch of clothes and bought two things—a pair of pants and a top. The pants I am very happy with: they fit just right, the fabric is good quality and it feels wonderful. Plus, the pants are from Chico and the top is Talbots—not bad brands, qualitywise.

So giftcards and a thriftstore may not sound like a shopping spree but, again, its less about the money spent and more about the lack of restrictions I placed on myself. The lifting of discipline. It was nice to take that off but I’ll be putting it back on soon enough—you can’t plow the field if you’re not in the yoke…

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Am An Anchoress

This is where I work.

One of my part time jobs is working as a docent in this lovely, lovely setting. I also am part of a team that oversees the many weddings that are conducted in this chapel. And on Thursdays, I will be on call to give tours, answer questions, watch over the site and learn as much as I can about the windows, woodcarving, ironwork etc.

I had my first days of training this past weekend and, truely, it wore me out! Not just physically but emotionally--I used to pride myself on being kind to people, being able to talk to anyone. I had'nt realized those skills had atrophied. I am actively working to bring them back to form!

I feel like Hidegard Von Bingen. In a good way

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I Jump

June 10th will officially start my new life. Twelve days after I turn 45 I am going to leave full time faculty position to go part time.

It feels momentous, scary and perfect. I found a lot of resources online that helped lead me to my decision and I’m posting my reasons in hopes that I can return the favor:

• Sandwich
o Apparently, I am a sandwich: I have a 4 year old son and an 88 year old mother. My older sister is considered a baby boomer—I’m not sure what I would be called. What I do know is that keeping a faculty position does not easily allow time for both childcare and looking after your deaf, blind mother a state away. Some folks can do it and I take my hat off to them. Where I am concerned, you may keep your hat on.
• No One Left to Care
o 2 years ago my father died. His death was the culmination of over a decade of poor health. No matter how ill he was, and he was often drastically ill, our phonecalls all started with the same question, from him to me, “How’s your job?” I thought this would change after I had his first and only grandchild but, no, the job was The Most Important Thing. He was a depression baby and there are other reasons for his concern. Now that I don’t have to worry about worrying him, leaving my job is much, much easier.
• Money in the Bank
o Speaking of Depression Babies, I’m related to quite a few of them. Over the years, their well ingrained habits of saving and investing have resulted in some lovely gifts to me, my husband and our son. I bring this up in the spirit of full disclosure: we have money in the bank. Less than a year’s worth of either of our salaries but well more than we spend in a month. Would I be quitting my job without the assurance that money affords? No.
• Serious Illness
o Before Christmas I caught a cold that never went away. By February I had pneumonia which, after a 2 week course of antibiotics, morphed into a sinus infection. I’m still coughing and often have to stop walking just to catch my breath. It’s awful and embarrassing and I need real time to focus on my health. Sitting at a computer for roughly 6 hours a day is not helping
• Everyone Else has Gardens
o Good friends of mine have made real changes in their lives—growing much of their own food, taking charge of their health, leaving big jobs—watching them struggle and thrive has been a massive inspiration.
• I Am Old, Father William
o No one is getting any younger, including my kid.
• Mid Life Crisis
o I haven’t liked my job for a long time but I have to wonder: in looking to downshift to part time, am I trying to recreate my poor but carefree days of working 4 jobs I loved, none of which had benefits and none of which allowed me to save any money? Do I long to be in my mid 20s again? The jury’s out on that one.
• Keith Richards
o My husband received the Keith Richards autobiography for Christmas this year. I read the parts that were about his early childhood and he said two things that really resonated. First, he explained that after WWII, the idea was that you got a job and you kept that job and you did’nt let go of that job. That sounded familiar—it sounded like my family, most of whom were WWII vets of one stripe or other. Second, he wrote of being an only child and how, when you are outside playing with your friends, you’re a kid. When you come back home, you are a strange sort of quasi-adult. I’m not an only child but my son is. Keith Richards made me realize I need to be more aware of the context of my son’s home—he also made me realize my desire to work so hard to keep my job was not my desire at all—it belonged to an earlier time. Again: context. Time to update my own and time to control (as best I can) that of my own family.

The next month is going to consist of me working to use up as many of my work benefits as I can. I’m also going to do a lot of picking up and rearranging and preparing my office and collections for the next person in line.

I know this is going to be hard and I know, financially, it will be very tough. That being said, it had been so long since I had woken up and not felt immediately defeated—I’m enjoying the excitement so much. I’m so very ready for his new life!