Friday, September 30, 2011

How Do You Do It?

A few weeks ago, after a customer commented on my new tattoo, I realized that I am growing up to be the person I wanted to be when I envisioned growing up. I have tats and piercings. I go to college and frequent my favorite coffee shop. My pants haven't fit my waist since I was seven, and I have the body to pull off LOW rise jeans. There are a few things that still don't work with my 15-year-old version of my 34-year-old self, but I'm getting there.

One huge component is how I live and raise our kids. I live a very modest life. My rent is my biggest bill and I gladly pay it because I love the home I have made this house into. The kids go to a laid back "hippie" school, it's a Steiner school, for anyone who wants to know. They are versed in all forms of art, music, drama and get to play in the sunshine, rain, snow mud and anything in between. They play sports and Number 3 is joining the Earth Scouts this month. I work only three days a week and go to school five days a week. My loans pay for most of my expenses right now. I weighed the consequences of taking out so much money to the benefit of being able to concentrate on my school work and, most important to me, being able to be with the kids.

My friend emailed me today and asked for advice. She is thinking about quitting her job and working from home. She's scared to death and asked for tips on how to do it. Without too much thinking this is the advice I gave her:

Sheer will, perseverance and faith that you can do it. Honestly,  I'm not sure how I do anything anymore. I just believe that I can, take what comes and own it; good or bad. That doesn't mean I don't struggle, cry, scream, give up or complain, but at the end of one of those moments, I wipe my snot and remember that I have felt like giving up before and it's all worked out.

Most of the time, my plans are basic, not thought through. I'm not sure if that's good because I don't have expectations or bad because if I don't really have a plan, then I really don't have a back-up plan. Except I do have a back-up,  I suppose. It is faith in my convictions, faith that, once again, I will be okay, faith that I am supposed to be where I am right now, no matter where it is. This isn't based in religion or God, just belief in magic, I guess. The magic in me.

I guess what I am saying is super-cliche, but follow your heart. Do what's right for you. In my case that meant breaking apart my family, losing my home and my car, leaving my friends and living without running water for 7 months. And that doesn't include what I have done to keep my relationship with Tris thriving. I believed that leaving [the kids dad], so many years ago, was what my heart was telling me to do. I believe that doing everything in my power, without giving up myself, is what I have to do for my romantic relationship. I believed that moving to Flagstaff was the best choice I could make for my family.

On my hard days, and I do have them, I remember what I believe. I make a list of the things I am grateful for and do not pause to mourn the things I have lost in my journey. If working from home is what you want to do, I support you. You may have to make a list of the things you are willing to give up to make that dream come true, but if you are willing to put them on the list in the first place, then you are probably willing to part with them. Simplifying my life was the best thing I have ever done, but that is just me. I know you will take the next step in the direction your life will take, just be willing to accept whatever direction that is.

Oh. And I make my bed every day because there is subtle satisfaction in doing one little thing for myself, even if the rest of my day is devoted to everyone else. (I learned this from my friend, Katy. In fact, she practically made me make my bed every day. Now, it's a habit and I relish in the fact that I get to slide into tight sheets every night. )

I retyped this mostly for myself. This is what I tell people and what it probably true, but from my perspective, I am only doing what I have always done. Maybe it's ordinary, maybe extraordinary, maybe it's just mi vida loca. Anyway you see it, I make my life the way I want it because, to me, there is no other option. I hope you are realizing your dreams and not letting fear hold you back from the reality that could be yours if you just jump. So plug your nose, when you are ready, and be prepared for whatever temperature that water is when you hit.