Once More Into the Breach
All indications are that it is time for me to return to the world. The election is over. I've said what I have to say, done what I could do. Time to get back to not-quite-living. The inner pressure to be able to describe in one or two words what I do is growing, though very few jobs I've had since I left teaching could be summed up that easily, or if they could, reliably brought casual conversation to a screeching halt: "I run a gay and lesbian resource center" or "I edit articles on astrophysics" worked like a great deflective shield in many social situations, pivoting flummoxed inquirers back over to the brie, thinking But she doesn't look like a homo! or Astrophysics? WTF is that? Is she really smart or, like, a fortune teller? My inner dominatrix tells me I should be making money--bringing home some bacon--because that's what we do here in America, that's how we stake out our worldly claim. It's been a scary and enlightening experiment to step off the fiscal compensation scale and see what really gave meaning to my days. Who knew I liked solitude so much? How can I explain to anyone what was gained by not adding my anxiety to the traffic jams, my ego to the petty office politics, my energy to the Great Insurance Caper? I would recommend the experience to anyone. We don't spend nearly enough time doing "nothing."
Although, truth be told, I did quite a lot this year. I traveled and spoke publicly, transcribed a long series of historical documents, educated myself about the real nature of the political landscape, read widely, lost the weight I gained trying to nurse myself through each day with Skittles, wrote and sent out a complex article, started blogging, began a certification course in astrology (I told you she was a fortune teller!), and met some of my neighbors for the first time. I figured some things out about myself. I was peaceful. I liked my life.
The thing that is going to be tricky now that I value what I bring to the working world is that I am going to be far less willing to settle for a bad script. I have so often been amazed at how little our jobs actually ask from us in terms of ability or experience, even as they drain us of all energy. It's amazing how little of the work in the world is getting done, given all the hours we put into it. Maybe that is because the coin of the corporate realm is time and not people. I like to imagine there is someone out there looking for a colleague or employee who is smart, conscientious, compassionate, fair, articulate, multifaceted, and engaged; someone who can write, speak, organize, mediate, teach, counsel, manage, lift, edit, create, advocate, synthesize, coordinate, respond, cooperate, research, and learn--someone who wants to make a valuable contribution to the world but has not yet found a place to do it. Salary is negotiable. At this point in my life, it's not about the money.