So I just had a conversation with a friend about her career. She is very focused and motivated to achieve in her chosen field. She is very passionate about the subject matter and very much wants to be a part of a niche world that is academic, high achieving, and ultimately, a world of doers. I have been surrounded by doers my whole life. I think I feel some pangs of envy or more like, should-ness, as in I really should operate like this. If only to fit in more. But, that has also been my struggle as a fringe dweller (secretly on the inside for most of the time), I just can't do it. I'm an un-doer so far anyway. All the mainstream ways of achieving I have simply had to undo. And I have tried to keep doing them, but there is a wall inside of me, and it is tall, and loud at times, and is like "uh, no way are we going to do this anymore." Let me explain...
In Kindergarten early in the year, we were well underway learning to spell Cat, and take care of the classroom bunny, and trying really hard not to eat our boogers or at least compare them publicly, and we started talking about jobs. Seriously, in Kindergarten...as in we went around the room and said what we wanted to be when we grew up, like for work. Thankfully we only made it about halfway through the circle the first day and I had overnight to think of something because y'all, I felt an enormous amount of pressure to answer this correctly (first sign that I was an odd bird?). So at night I laid in my bed imagining the best job for all the things I like. People, check, being in a car, check, seeing the sights, check, hearing lots of stories, amen to that, and freedom to do what I want, hells yes. So the next day everyone was talking about being doctors and lawyers and such (give me a break Susan, you're only saying that because Jenny did, ugh!) and it got to me and I said "taxicab driver in New York City!" It was crickets y'all, and lots of blank, slightly concerned stares. I think the teacher even frowned a little as in "ick, (frown face)"...You know the face. So pretty much from day one, I can tell you (traditional) school wasn't really my thing. I think that classrooms can be great, but I also think there's a lot of people who are really smart, like totally amazing, that do not learn well sitting in a box, having to be quiet and walk in a line, and learn audio-visually (looking and listening). In fact, I know this, I am this.
And yet, I fought to fit into this world, and all the trappings of the system for so long. I still do a lot of the time. I try to look a certain way, or get along with others, so I don't really say my truth in full a lot of the time. Because talking about the fucked-up, tik-tok, bs achievement paradigm most of us have bought into isn't a comfortable topic for most people. And most people are deep into their way of life (work, school, making money, bills, family obligations, friend obligations, gym obligations) to step back and take a look at where they even got all the ideas for this stuff anyway. The fact that most of our thoughts have been fed to us through school or media is a new concept even to me, and I don't really like the idea of me being asleep to it either. I feel happy to have been given the space and time to stop, just stop doing any of it. Without TV, media, school, work, friends, family, shopping, academia, hobbies, who would you be? What do you like? What kind of animal are you today? What did the 6 year old in you LOOOVVEE to do (dance in the rain, sing, go to big cool parks like Yellowstone and explore with your family, animals...all the time animals, play in the mud, collect shells, be outside!, talk to toads, make clay pots, yell and shout just to let off some steam? I bet you still like that stuff, I know I do (thank goodness for singing and shouting in ma car). I guess I'm saying is, what is it all for? Just to survive? So other people can acknowledge me as a professional adult, worthy of being listened to and considered? I hit The Wall Within hard a few years back. I finally got my license as a practitioner (Social Work), I checked all the achievement milestone boxes, had a thriving career (I'm way good at my job), but I was miserable. Just ick face all the way. I wore clothes that were uncomfortable, that I didn't like because that's what professional, well-respected people do. I didn't laugh and make the jokes I wanted to at work, because, again, unprofessional. I didn't do a jig in the hallway just because, because that's weird. But you guys, I am weird, like totally out-there. In college on the bus to campus, I'd see everyone with their noses in their phones, or having nice little conversations under their breath with their friends and I'd be staring at all these nice, quiet people and I wanted to just jump up and do a weird little dance, or laugh out loud, or say "you guys want to go swimming and eat a snack with me?!?" I mean seriously, that's what we really want to do! So why the heck are we on this God-forsaken bus!? Who says we have to?! I talked about this urge a few times with some of my friends, and I got the, "ok, weirdo," look a few times, so again, I just kept my mouth shut, because they were not okay with me questioning why we were doing what we were doing. Now I get it, some people REALLY want to be engineers etc. Great! We need these people (at least a few), but I just don't know that we need to spend our lives, or 150k for that matter, learning to do it. I don't really know where I'm going with all this, except, I really have to talk about it. I don't think I'll be able to stop until I see where it leads me.
Right now I'm learning all about Permaculture. Which is hard to sum-up in a nutshell, but it is basically the idea of closing the loop. From Consumerism, to Give-back-ism. Meaning, whatever you consume, you give back into the system, equitably. Also, probably just watch some online videos on it because, my mind is kind of being blown right now on this concept. It feels so right to me. Like of course everything we do should be sustainable! If it's not sustainable, like yo, we are going to burn it all down (so hard, like no more us, no more planet, no more future for our kids or anyone else) eventually, so closing the loop is a good freaking idea. Also, most of the people who practice it are those who like to slow down like me. They like the idea of waking up naturally (no car horn alarms thanks), working with (instead of against with heavy chemicals) nature to grow amazing food on their own, or someone-else's property and of course share the abundance with others and give back to their community. It's an inter-reliance on one another, a true community. It's social, caring, beautiful, sometimes slow (I like to look at it as well-thought-out), and adjusts for the greater good of all organisms (including humans). Like I said at the beginning of this piece, I really like being outside, and I really like working with my hands, so I'm excited to see where this all ends up, but if you are a weirdo like me, I hope you come along, and I REALLY hope we get to dance in the rain together someday really soon.