6 October 2008

free spirited window washer

There is a fine line between reflective, contemplative thinking and inhumane, crippling analysis. Somewhere between those two extremes I have come to the conclusion that its ok to be a window washer. Not that I particularly want to be a window washer, but a dear, dear friend of mine told me about her friend who intentionally chose to be a window washer because it got him outside, in the sun with flexible working hours. He didn’t care that random people often gave him scornful looks and well meaning, but snobbish, folk encouraged him to keep looking as he would find a better job someday. This man was well aware of what he wanted in life: enough money to make a living, but not a living that was consumed by work. I now want to be a window washer.

ok, what I really mean is I want to be ok with being a window washer. I have no career goals. I aspire to do nothing. (read: not work for 'the man' but instead be able to do what I want) I want to be a mom. The kind of mom that makes her kids things, paints the house funny colours when the husband is at work, mows the lawn and continually embarrasses the kids, but in a good way. Like, 'gosh, i cant believe my mom is refusing to wear shoes and growing dreadlocks again' or 'Hey Johnny, where is your mom tonight? Oh, she and my dad went to the Metallica concert...' Yeah that’s a cool mom. and its ok. Well, maybe not ok that I want to have dreadlocks and go see Metallica, but ok that I don’t want a career. I would be content to work at Starbucks, or in a book store or try to make a living selling things on Esty. In theory. In theory I would be content to do those things, but in reality I have too much pride. and it's not the good kind either. The pride that says 'well done Rhys, you played so well in your rugby game today' but the pride that says 'oh, really? she works there? she does that?' Damn that pride.

The year before I got married, I worked at a preschool during school hours and Starbucks in the evening. I loved them both. I loved the kids, making crafts, meeting people, making coffee...but I was always quick to tell people that it was only temporary. Conversations often went like this....

Person: So what do you do?
Me: I work at a perschool and starbucks
person: oh, that’s nice. (insert scornful expression and very evident disdain in voice)
Me: Yeah, I am getting married in August and just saving money. I am moving to London.
Person: Oh! London! Wow! (insert pleased expression and much nicer tone of voice)
Me: yeah, I have a Masters degree and was thinking of getting my PhD...

Or something equally as snotty and unnecessary..... Why did I do it? Because I felt Starbucks and the preschool were somehow inadequate and I needed to make up for it? Because I wanted to impress a complete stranger? Because I wanted people to think 'oh, she is so cool'? Sadly its a mixture of all of those. And that makes it even worse!

So where does that leave me? I still despise my job. But I now have two options. One, stay here and look at it for what it is- a way to get paid doing whatever i want during the day whilst only occasionally having to answer the phone and pay an invoice. Or I can quit. Quit to do something that I want without concern for what others might say. So what if I want to work as an assistant in an art gallery, or as a barista or as a bike messenger (nod to Trev) All of those things are ok as long as they fund the 3 The's of my life: The rent, The baby fund, and The travel account. If Rhys and I have a roof over our heads, savings for babies and for travel that should be sufficient. All the rest shouldn't matter.

I am of the belief that you can be fiscally savvy as well as world traveller. Throw Mom into the mix and its perfect. And reasonable. People have always said that I am a free spirit, a dreamer, an idealist. But why do those things come with slightly negative connotations? Can’t you be a dreamer and still somewhat responsible? I believe the answer is yes. Hopefully what all this means, or at least is starting to mean, is that I am free to do what I enjoy, free to not have a career...free to be a window washer.

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