Being all of the things
April 12, 2014
I got my cosmetology license when I was 16, through a vocational program offered at my high school. Then I decided I wanted to go to school to teach. Motherhood, lack of financial aid knowledge (seriously, I wish someone had just told me how easy it was to fill out the forms. I didn’t even know there were forms) and actually working in a salon and as a substitute teacher put an end to my college days back then, but not to my career.
Or, should I say, careers. I was a Tupperware lady, an Avon lady and an Usborne Books representative (more than once). I had my own business publishing newspaper-style birth announcements, I self-published a local newspaper for parents (Yakima Family Times) and my ex husband and I ran a small chain of restaurants. At another time, we also ran a business renting out a camera crane to the motion picture industry in Southern California. I have worked as a waitress, a used car salesperson and a pre-school teacher in 2000 and again in 2012. I helped a friend start her business training people in social media marketing and I worked as a web designer and in social networking. I once painted thrift-shop furniture and made a crazy profit at resale.
I’ve gone back to school two more times with the intention of finishing college, for the first time in 2010 (pre-law and digital journalism) and currently for business marketing management.
Most of my life’s income, though, has come from writing. Even when I was pursuing a law degree I envisioned myself writing for a living. I wasn’t entirely sure where I wanted to focus. It might have been business law; helping small businesses owners navigate topics like choosing a legal entity, dealing with various restrictions and staying out of expensive troubles. Or it might have been family law; helping with adoptions and wills, child custody issues and power of attorney for elder care. I just wasn’t sure. I’m still not, and I wonder if part of me will ever go that route. Studying with kids around is difficult, so it won’t be any time soon.
Currently, in addition to the writing and the striving toward previously mentioned marketing degree, I am a Passion Parties Independent Consultant. I was recently certified to teach Hoopnotica hoop dance and fitness classes. I still get income from my old days as an affiliate marketer and niche blogger. I also sell children’s toys and novelty socks on Amazon.
In the future, I still see myself finishing law school. Visiting with my parents reminded me how much I’ve always thought it would be fun to get into real estate. I also have fantasies about working in an office where I get to be dressed for work every day and have coworkers to interact with and meetings to go to and lunch at restaurants (all in the same day). I also imagine myself painting or whipping up amazing things on my serger and selling them on Etsy.
I’ve always been good at sales and retail has always looked like a fun environment but I can’t imagine it being enough to support all of my kids.
While they’re growing and breaking things and wearing clothes every day and wanting stuff and eating and costing me money on a daily basis I need to stay where the money is and writing is all I really know. The great thing about writing is that I can bring all of my other interests into the mix. This week I have written about stomach flu, WordPress security, content management systems, gluten free living, homeschooling, educational assessments, child development, breastfeeding, corporate thank-you cards and marketing on Pinterest.
In the future, maybe I will finish law school. Maybe I will dive into real estate. Maybe I will travel the world as a speaker and write a book and perform in local theatre and do hair on a movie set and hula hoop on the back of an elephant in the circus. Maybe not that last one, except the costumes look like so much fun.
Some people say that life is short. Having just returned from my Grandma’s funeral, it might be easy to agree. But when I listen to the stories of her life and reflect upon my own story and that of those around me, I can see that it’s really very long. There really is time to do a lot of things and I plan to do them all. The secret, I suspect, is not forgetting all the things you want to do.
I think for a little while I forgot that I was the one who got to decide all the things I’d do. I think for a while I believed that being a mom meant that I had to set aside what I wanted in life while kids were growing. But that’s not true. Now might not be a good time for taking an office job or traveling the world for business. But it’s a great time to read and learn and study and surround myself with stories of women who have managed to be all of the things they dreamed.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day tasks of running a household. Without a man around the house I find myself doing ridiculously difficult things like repairing washing machines and hanging new doors and taking out the trash. These things aren’t on my list of life dreams by a long shot, but it’s starting to occur to me that they’re contributing to my overall development as a human being. One day I’m going to be smart enough and wealthy enough to hire someone else to do this shit.
Until then, I will be all of the things I can. One day I will look back at life and see all of the things I have been. I hope that when I’m old my kids are inspired to follow all of their passions to create a life that allows them to be all of the things they want to be. I can’t imagine how boring life would be if I’d only followed one route forever. Life has so many awesome experiences to offer. I want them all.