20 Jobs in 20 Years, make that almost 21

"I'm tryin' to tell you somethin' 'bout my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
And the best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously
It's only life after all, yeah"
-Closer To Fine, Indigo Girls 

Welp, that didn't pan out. It's not too soon to laugh, it is too soon not to feel embarrassed. I thought I had found the hail-mary that was going to fix things. Fix it all. We'd vetted details because remote positions, while not unheard of, are scam-saturated. It seemed legit, down to the offer letter. In today's climate of growing telework, and my desire and need for a unique solution, I am more willing to risk for that real deal. My motto is always I'd rather risk than not.

I'm embarrassed because my ego is bruised. I'm embarrassed because I ignored my kids for a week that was honestly committed to other things. Mid tirade of self-beratement, I realized the bully on the playground was me and I needed to fight back. Kick in self-grace. Muscles I'm working out to build up and exercise in real time. I woke up today a human being, surprise. Shit happens, thanks Forrest.  

Gen Y'ers have the position of remembering times before and since the advent of screens that contain the minutia of our lives within four rounded corners. The association I get by saying that is when my mom would tell me about the party phones in relation to how when I was growing up, there was phone in every room of the house. "Didn't always use to be like that." And fondly, "Your Aunt Joyce was always on it." 

My first job ever was during the summer of my junior year. At a surgery center, I sorted mail, filed patients records, sometimes walking across the bridge to the hospital to deliver X-rays to radiology. My pay, a whopping $6.50. 

I took a pay cut for my next job, one that to this day rivals my favorite. A shelver in the children's department of the county library. For hours I would sit in the stacks, reading - err - shelving books. You might catch a glimpse of that magical place in the Sundance movie Columbus, along with other sights from my heartland home.

Customer service. Building engine heads. Running a paper mill cutter, managing to leave with all my fingers. Caring for disabled clients. A university bookstore clerk. A van driver. A waitress, thanks for the tip.  A university RA, which stands for Resident Advisor, of 70 excited and scared and confused and searching-for-their-souls girls, nuff said.  A medical lab tech testing blood and bodily fluids, also nuff said. I field-dressed deer for hunters at a check station, for their exchanged contribution to science, which allowed us to age the population. As an oil quality control tech, I created blend combinations for the boiling vats from the sweet smelling, raw materials delivered directly via rail. I reared insects. I loved doing it. I tested insects. I ran a robotics storage unit, plated chemicals for downstream product development. I tested bunker fuel - you gotta be right folks - or they'll come for you for making a tanker unload millions of gallons needlessly, ain't cheap. I put out car fires, ran up stairs with hose, crawled through fire-filled home 'burns' for training as a volunteer firefighter. I collected cookies off the line for Dolly Madison. I wrapped gifts for Cracker Barrel patrons.  

Two of the jobs I held in those twenty years took up a decade. Seven of those years I designed suits for the coolest, though quite demanding and picky, sort of runway clientele of all, Robots. I loved every minute of the trailblazing madness. But rearing insects and reading, I mean, shelving books, remain my favorites, the dearest to my heart.  

While the pay sucks, the greatest roles I have are as wife and mother. Doesn't mean I don't want to quit sometimes, still waiting for those vacation benefits to kick in. Today, I love being a patient for university doctors to hone skills and learn empathy. After experiencing over a decade on a journey of doctor-stumping pain, seeing tens of doctors and bleeding hundred-thousands out of pocket, this is a conversation I am excited to be apart of. And I cherish my role as a donations coordinator and board secretary for a local homeless ministry. 

Jobs come and go. Our hats change with the seasons. Our hearts expand, our character is shaped. Our jobs make a life. They can make it interesting or challenging, they will make us what we let them. 

Writer is my career. It is my calling. Since he meet me, Joe has been the most steadfast and staunch supporter, telling me it's what I'm here for. I don't deserve his support but I'd be nothing without it. So often I am fumbling in twisted branches, damp leaves smacking me in the face, rather than looking out over the beautiful forest landscape. I should trust what he sees. As I have constantly ignored my husband's counsel, half hearing with a "Yeah yeah yeah, but I got this," I have had some fun side gigs and questionable adventures. 

The sun was out today. I got the kids donuts. I'm cleaning the house. I should have done it a week ago. 

Onions and Elephants

Meditation Moment