Sunday, July 20, 2008

Crossroads

NM
What do you do when you are faced with a huge life change?


Sometimes we have no choice in the change. Cancer, car wreck, floods and fires. But what happens when your brain starts thinking,


'There has to be more to life than this. There has to be a better way to live. A way to enjoy time with my family without having to live on the street to do it.'


I really like my job. I really do. Every time the tones go off I know that I will be helping someone. Sometimes they really don't need much help. Sometimes they don't really want help. Sometimes it is life or death. Sometimes just death. Every call is different. Each has challenges different from the next. I'm good at it, and I have the satisfaction of helping out my fellow humans, even when the shifts are rough.


Still I am feeling like I am missing something. Adventure. Domesticity. Simplicity. The feeling of being centered. I don't know.


The Wife and I have a pretty good relationship as far as marrieds go. We are best friends. We communicate well. We make a great team when we are doing projects together. Yada, yada, yada. Our biggest and about only concern is one that the majority of people on the planet have.


Money.


Don't get me wrong. We aren't living paycheck to paycheck. We have food, clothing, shelter and such in abundance. But we have been working to live lately. Jobs take up the majority of time, followed closely by sleep. Vacations have been non existent. Little trips here and there are about all the time we have together as a family. Farmers Market. Go to the park. That sort of thing.


Now we are both starting, or ready to start, side businesses doing things we love to do. Me in my shop and garden. The Wife organizing for others. But we are playing it safe. Staying in our jobs because we have grown accustomed to our paychecks and our medical benefits.


So what sort of faith would it take to step off the ledge completely? Leave behind the comfort of the known for the seriously unknown. On this path we are on, we know we will not starve. We know we will never get rich. We know we enjoy most parts of the job. We know that the schedules stink sometimes. We know that if we get sick or injured, we're covered. If we just did our businesses, we would need to get insurance somewhere.


A life of comfortable, balanced, semi-struggle wondering what if...

Versus a life of extremely hard work and challenges, with no guarantee of success. Possible financial failure and living in the poorhouse in our old age. But possibly exceeding our wildest dreams and having money, doing something we love, and having time to live.


Do you leave a job you really like that is secure for one you love that has no givens? Are we too old to really contemplate the possibilities?


When The Wife has changed careers, she has only been successful. I tell her she's got the Midas touch with that. I have had quite a few jobs... some went well. Others... not so much. When my brother and I toured around selling our CD's and giving concerts we had some really serious fun, but not serious financial success. We made enough to get by and have insurance and eat and stuff. But we were never going to be financially secure doing it. Supporting a family would have been a struggle. And although I'm sure if my Bro had gone solo, he would have done better (he's got more musical talent in his pinkie than I've got in my whole frame) this was before the days of American Idol, which back then he could have cleaned up at.


Anyway. We are crunching numbers now. Trying to do the math of the money to make the best choices we can. If it were just the two of us, it would be an easy choice. But having three and four added on... well... we need to provide for them. Grr. To many options, dangers, rewards, possibilities both good and not good.


How do you decide when you stand at the crossroads? At some point we will just have to set out and see where the road leads... one way or the other.


More Later.


3 comments:

Sharon said...

Having the benefit of hindsight, I am most happy with my life choices. There was a time when we, too, considered making such major life changes... actually pulled up stakes and moved to CA, but never gave up jobs to face the unknown, given the choice. I have always felt you can satisfy much through avocation while maintaining a vocation that will assure your family will not suffer. If those avocations become lucrative enough, then is the time to give up security. I can hear you say, "Oh Mom..." But I just wanted to put my "2 cents worth" in. I know you two will not make any rash decisions concerning your futures... all 4 of them!

Anonymous said...

If you did pack it in and free fall, unsure of a safety net, I don't think you would regret it. And your spawn would learn to take a chance once and work hard and hope for the best.

There is something to be said for having security, that is for sure. But at what price?

If your thoughts are truly this unsettled and restless...perhaps it IS time for a change. You don't necessariy have to go whole hog and quit the jobs and dance inside the fire, but you can take a small risk, and then a bigger one, and if fate would have it, the biggest one.

You will never ever regret the things you do. You will only regret the things you don't.

Trust me.

Sister Steph said...

I only have the benefit of "mid-hindsight", but I can tell you from my brief experience that at least the first 10 years of parenthood disappear in the blink of an eye. (Once the child sleeps through the night, that is!)

We siblings have been fortunate to find spouses who are supportive of our artistic temperaments and dreams. I know you will find a way to continue to realize your dreams without jeapordizing your future. You make a great team and have a really well balanced sense of perspective.

Not every leap can carry you upwards, and it is important to have a safety net when you have kids (childhood passes too quickly and braces and prom and college are really right around the corner!). But I have confidence that you as a team have the tools to make the perfect decision for your family.

You also have the added benefit of having supportive clans (and a Bobbi nestegg) so you know you can never end up truly homeless or without recourse.

As a wise writer once put it:
"This is just life in progress -
a work of the great Master's art..."

love you!
Steph