I am taking a break from the heavy topics today and just musing on my own life for a change.
Summer is winding down and I have not done one single thing that I really wanted to do, hell I’ve barely been to the beach and I live minutes away from the beach. While I may not have done a single thing that I wanted to do, I did the one thing that I had to do and while I have pushed myself to the brink physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. There is a certain joy in accomplishing the almost impossible.
If you have been visiting this space for a while, you may recall this post I shared in late April, where I (along with my board of directors) made the heartbreaking decision to shut down the agency that I have led since 2008. At that time, my professional world seemed to be closing in on me, hell I was two pay periods away from no longer being able to make payroll. To say it was a shitty situation was an understatement.
Without getting into the minutia, no sooner than I made that announcement that help started to come in from places I never have could have imagined. This summer has been a journey in pushing myself for the greater good and actually surprising myself. This past spring many well-intentioned people suggested that I shouldn’t beat myself up, if the doors closed, after all what could one person do? Well I believe that any one of us has the potential to affect change far greater than what we can imagine if we are willing to go in hard.
While I may have been the boots on the ground managing the logistics, I want to take a moment to thank many of you for your support of youth programming in a state where many of you don’t even live in. Thank you. We are not completely out of the woods but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow we wrap up another summer of programming and start planning for our fall programming. This is far more than I expected in late spring.
However after a summer of working harder than I have ever worked and running my body ragged, I am tired. After 16 years of non-profit, human service work, I don’t have many more years of this field left in me. Watching hardship day in and day out for years on end has officially started to affect me, you can’t see what I have seen and not have it effect you. I know too many colleagues who have ended up in the bottom of the bottle because when your line of work is to lessen human misery, it is hard to leave it at the office at 5pm.
Lately I find myself wondering, what the hell am I going to do? I am about 25-30 years too early for retirement unless the universe decides my life contract should be canceled early. I will take a pass on that one. However I am not independently wealthy, so I still need to earn my daily bread but with most of my career spent in the non-profit sector, I have been a little clueless about my next steps. But let me tell you something, the truth is if I could do anything, I would write and talk for a living, yes, I would. I am officially middle age and I am ready to live my dreams for a change or at least give it a try but the problem is I have no idea how to make that happen. I mean, I blog, and while I love blogging, my audience is limited and it doesn’t exactly pay the bills. I have tried pitching publications and that’s been a bust so far. On the flip side I have been a columnist for nine years for a local publication and I am happy to announce that in January 2014, you can pick up a copy of Avital Norman Nathman’s The Good Mother Myth by Seal Press, where you can find a snazzy essay written by a certain black girl in Maine. The Good Mother Myth is a collection of essays on motherhood and there are some pretty serious writers who have contributed, so I am honored that little ole me, queen of the comma splices actually made the cut.
Anyway I don’t have to figure out my next steps today, I have pretty much set a goal of 18-24 months to transition out of my gig and hopefully then I can start the next leg of my journey. This fall I will get back on track with my yoga teacher training, which is more for my own personal edification though maybe I will start teaching…I think yoga could stand to have a little more diversity within the teacher pool.
In the meantime, here’s hoping I can squeeze in some summer fun, though it looks like once again we will be taking a pass on the big things like an actual vacation…vacations are so overrated. Maybe the key is to create a life so dynamic that I never will feel the need to escape from it, maybe the goal is to craft a life where there is a little bit of vacation in every day.