According to my pock-marked memory, my dad held at least 5
jobs, sequentially, during the time I was growing up. Every few years, he
seemed to move on to a new job, eventually landing someplace he retired from.
My mom variously was engaged in the following classes or
special effects make-up
Mary Kay-style beauty product sales
part-time make-up artist
The closet became filled with half-finished projects and tools of a trade long abandoned.
My dad also told me a few years ago that he rarely finished
projects he began around the house (the wallpaper all done, except for that
spot there; the fireplace paint stripped, but not re-stained) because of his
own childhood lesson that if you finished something it could be criticized.
And I wonder what of this I’ve “inherited” through observation.
I’ve realized the Fulcrum idea only works if I’m earning more per hour and
working fewer hours. It doesn’t, and won’t work, if I’m only working fewer
I feel a little afraid today. Afraid that the time I’m
intending to “buy” for myself will be eaten up by odd jobs in order to cull a
I guess I mention my parents’ work habits because I’m afraid
that I’m like them. And can certainly see the seeds and small shoots of their
behavior in my own.
Molly doing theater. Molly doing all organic cooking. Molly
in a band. Molly wanting to take math classes, tutor kids, fly a plane. Molly
quitting another job. Again.
I’m not sorry I’m doing this.
It’s funny. Last year, playing bass in a band, I said I was
finally living out a teenage dream I’d never let myself have. If I were more
honest with myself then, I would have studied theater in college or engaged in it
then. I would have tried the magpie
lifestyle then. I would have held odd jobs, instead of the immediate office jobs.
I would have been a mildly responsible but creatively
engaged young adult.
But, I wasn’t. That wasn’t my experience, and that wasn’t
allowed. Coloring outside the lines was not allowed in my house. Or so I
I thought last night about this past year+ since returning to
work post-cancer. About how I’ve been doing the things that a teen and
20something would do. It logically does
follow that my professional work pattern would change, if I’m sort of going
back to live the kinds of experiences I’d aged myself out of then.
And perhaps I’ll do them differently than I would have at 20
or 25. Perhaps trying to live outside of the lines at 33 is easier, or more
grounded. I don’t know. But I do see that I seem to be veering toward a life
that a lot of young people live, as if I’m reclaiming a lost youth, a lost
innocence and curiosity and naïveté.
Is it “fun” to
about to launch into the unknown? Well, yes and no. It’s fun to feel engaged in
the creative world and think outside the box. It’s less fun to know the
realities of salary requirements and health coverage and car payments and also
try to think outside the box.
I don’t know. I don’t know what will happen. I know I have
more work to do, more actual sitting down and developing a plan to do. And I
think I’m going to have to reach out for help from folks to help me hold the
space to do that.
It’s funny. (I keep on saying that! But, this all amuses the
observer part of me, I’ll tell you!) Over a year ago, I sat with two women who
helped me form a game-plan for alternative classes I could facilitate.
About 6 months ago, I sat with a different pair of folks,
who helped me develop a different plan for an alternative after-school program.
I’ve been dipping my toe into these waters, and have subsequently thrown
my arms up into their faces and said, But I don’t know, I don’t know enough and
it’s too hard and I don’t have the tools.
I’ve abandoned this line of thinking as many times as I’ve
lit the fires in the eyes of my friends, who’ve said, Molly, this is totally
So, I guess it’s time for me to dig my notes out of the closet like my mom’s half-finished quilts. Time to breathe
deeply and let myself live the life I’ve consistently told others I want to
It’s also time for me to call those friends back in and have
them hold my hand as I sort through those notes and make moves in this direction. Because, as I’ve said
before, Sometimes I need someone else to hold the lantern of hope.