So far it’s been a summer of not getting what I want. Or what I think I want. First of all – the sellers turned away from our offer on the lodge we want to buy for an artist residency project and then, the job with my union I’ve been on contract to for the last three months was offered to someone else past the summer (an internal candidate) which means I’ll be returning to my old job in September.
On the plus side, August will be a much more chill month than it would have been if either of these thing came to pass – and I’m taking advantage of that with a couple of unscheduled weekends and then a couple of shows/parties and a mini-vacation on the horizon. I do have to work most of the month, but given that my job isn’t continuing past the 23rd, I don’t have to work all that hard.
I am a bit sad the lodge deal hasn’t come together yet, but I won’t count that possibility as dead until the end of October because I think it’s entirely plausible that we could still end up with that or another property to base a residency and arts center out of. But if not, then we’ll move onto projects on our home that we need (a new roof) and want (a house length greenhouse on the south side) – continuing to make this our home to love and host people in.
I feel a lot of possibility right now, coming out of the weird few months since having Covid and leaving the “really good job” that was supposed to define my career back in April. There has been a lot of shift and bump in my life of late, but rather than derailing me, it’s helped me investigate my core drivers with a lot more attention to the details.
Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly confused about the difference between “meaningful life” and “importance in career”. As though the former relies on the latter. Consciously I know that’s not so, but I’ve been nagged by the feeling that because my work doesn’t speak directly to my core purpose, I’ve been doing something wrong. The rise of the gig economy over the course of my adult life hasn’t helped. The mantra “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is tricky. Even as I recognize it as a craven message of a system advantaged by people moving around trying to find the job they “love” while never staying long enough to demand a pension plan or unionize their workplace, it also makes me feel deeply insecure about the fact I don’t “love” my work.
But the fact is, there is tons of work that I do and love – it’s just not the stuff I get paid to do! And that’s what I’ve been thinking about a lot lately – how I can continue to dial into my core needs and drivers to make a meaningful life within the context of the workaday – at least for the next five and a half years until I get to retire and pursue my interests fulltime. The pursuit of Hummingbird Lodge and the union gig this summer have revealed to me that at my root I am inspired by projects that convene community, and am endlessly curious about the human condition (and problem-solving it). This last year has also shown me that all-consuming paid work is not for me (and ultimately is bad for my health), because I have so much of the rest of life I want to explore.
I feel really excited to have remembered these things about myself because it means that I’m ready for the next opportunity – whether it be another location for the artist residency, or a collaborative fibre arts project with some friends on the island. I don’t really know where things are leading at the moment, but I have a lot more tools to evaluate my life direction when the next fork in the path appears. That feels like more self-knowledge than I’ve had in a long time, and for the first time in forever I don’t feel dictated to by what I “should” do or driven by another’s definition of success. So you know, we don’t always get what we want but if we try sometimes……
We get what we need.