I want to say that recently I’ve had difficulty finding out what I want to do (right now, tomorrow, with my life, in the universe, whatever). But I can’t recall a time in my life where this wasn’t difficult, except in those blessed moments where I am so focused on a challenging task that wasn’t simultaneously swamped with insecurity.
That is to say, I like when I work on something hard, but not when I have to worry about where I live or if I will eat that day.
Seems obvious, right? Hierarchy of needs and all that jazz.
Fortunately in this moment of reflection I am not freaked out by the idea of not planning my kid’s future; I actually don’t worry too much about it. I am more concerned about the next three months. Three months is about as far as I can plan and still feel like my actions can affect outcome.
Net 30, or how I learned to love doing paperwork once a month
I think it comes from “net 30” and billing cycles. When I got paid on a schedule I had a disconnect that the work I was doing wasn’t paid for that week or so, not until I left and got paid in part one last time. In contrast, I am hyper-aware of how my consulting work is paid out.
When I began freelancing I simplified my billing times to all happen once a month: just track everything, and spend an afternoon invoicing everyone. Actually, that is my version of what I learned that keeps me sane. The person I learned invoicing from basically invoiced when they needed money, which runs in the face of my risk adverseness, but damn if that wasn’t how we paid rent for years…
/me reaches for heartburn tablet
Because a lot of the work I do is formulaic, and I like to be clever rather than a busy worker, a lot of my jobs are queued together and done at once, often at the beginning of a billing cycle, but after I would have invoiced. Which meant I would often do work that I couldn’t plan to use for about three months: wait a month to invoice, wait another month to get paid, and then hope I had rent to pay (sans eviction) next month. So, three months is what I plan for.
Turns out I am pretty good at this. Having a kid helps. I really don’t want to feel what I felt as a kid, and since I am totally projecting, that is probably what it is. Although, if I think about it, I don’t think having to move in a hurry is really a great experience regardless of how unconditional your parents’ love is…
Capabilities, permissions and access control; does life mimic security features, or vice versa?
Okay, back to what I want to do. How do I stay engaged in my work, but also make enough money to not be constantly stressed out. I imagine a lot of folks think this, and I don’t take it for granted that I have the capacity to think about it. But I’ve hit a wall of sorts: what do I really want to do?
A series of conversations with Susan and my belly button have shed some lights over the last few days. The big one is that I don’t need to be driven by fear. The other is that I can ignore everything I am capable of doing.
I am a capable person. I learn quickly, and have broad experiences. My life has been a series of unfortunate events surrounded by beautiful people, so I enjoy an optimism attached to humans even as I am disgusted by their most terrible actions, which in part mitigates negativity bias and allows me to know a lot while staying happy. Well, that’s my working theory at least.
So I could do anything. And that intrigues me. Why wouldn’t it? But anything is a lot, and not particularly energizing or satisfactory. Mastery has always been an important scaffolding in my knowledge, just as much as breadth of inference and cross-linking overlapping ideas. And part of rapidly learning anything quickly is getting caught up in what others do, or what becomes the mainstream modus operandi. That becomes the bar, the standard one holds their self to.
That has always be poison to me. An addictive concoction in the form of a signpost pointing to the “right” way. The correct path, if it exists, has never stuck to the map of my life. If ever there were a demon I chased, it is the elusive handbook that the rest of you were designated at birth, which was pawned off or tossed out before I was able to right my contact info on the inside cover.
And with that said, fuck handbooks for life. I obviously don’t need them, and if I do I will probably never figure out what I am missing. The key is that I don’t need to suffer their absence. If I look at the moments in my life that provide me with visceral satisfaction they are moments when I fell and was caught by the love of others and when I decided I was going to figure out my own path.
Looking at my work, my skills and my temperament, I think I know what the next leg of my path is.
But you’ll have to wait until another post to find out. ^_~