My son recently sent me a link to a USA Today article entitled, “For Some, Hard Times Are a Gateway to New Careers.” I think he was gently trying to nudge me out of my funk, to help me stop feeling sorry for myself and to think about what I’d really like to do with the rest of my life. Of course, that’s my interpretation of it. Sean’s gift is he’s an eternal optimist. My gift is that I can read what people are thinking. Or so I think I can.
I haven’t shared too much of my story, and I won’t go into it at length here, except to say that seven years ago I unexpectedly found myself in a position where my secure life was not so secure anymore. My marriage was ending, my financial parachute was gradually dwindling and I was informed that I needed to figure out how to support myself. Wah.
I’ve been in denial for those seven years. I didn’t want to think about it. It was too painful. I was too scared. My self-esteem was non-existent, excuse after excuse. I liked my life as a part-time massage therapist, mom and tennis player. Okay, that last description was how my daughter described her Mom when she was in kindergarten. I realized right then that I had a pretty cushy life. Everything had been provided for me. My day consisted of playing tennis and deciding what to make for dinner.
So fast forward again to this morning. I’m reading this article about people who unexpectedly find themselves out of a job. Instead of it being a negative, they turned it into a positive. They went back to school and learned a new skill, they took chances and fulfilled their wildest entrepreneurial dreams. They became nurses, piano teachers and professional dog walkers. Professional dog walking? That’s a career? Apparently, at least one person makes $75,000 a year at it. That’s a lotta biscuits.
I currently have two jobs. And they both make people very happy. Problem is, they don’t necessarily make me very happy. Don’t get me wrong, I love being an LMT, but after ten years, my body is not loving it. Too much kneading, knuckling and elbowing. Ouch. So, last summer I started another little business. I invested in vending machines. Quarter vending machines to be exact. I know what you are thinking… Loserville. Well, not exactly. I own fourteen machines and have some very lucrative placements. It’s true what they say about location being everything. So, I’m a candy maven. And nuts. And small toys unsuitable for ages under 3. Please children, listen up! Do not choke on your superball or tiny little jesus ring. I can’t afford a lawsuit.
These jobs are wonderful, but they are not supporting me. Especially in the lifestyle I want to be accustomed to. But for now I’d settle for enough moolah to pay for room, board and a nice place for my dog and I to play fetch. Which brings me back to the point of the article. What would I really like to do for a living? Who would that person be? I’ve thought long and hard about it. Don’t you dare laugh at what I’m about to say. In my heart of hearts, my wildest dreams, I would like to be Dave Barry. Ok, I sorta like being female, so let’s say Erma Bombeck. Remember her? Only the greatest humorist that ever graced the written page. I loved her. She had the perfect ability to tell a story, with a point and a chuckle.
Well, I am a realist. I’m probably not going to make much money writing. Notice I said make much money. I’m holding out that someday, somewhere, somehow, I might become a published writer. I actually have a bet with my son, Sean. We made it a couple of years ago. The first one of us to get published, in print, and get paid for it wins and has to take the other to dinner at the establishment of their choice. Blogs don’t count. Online magazines don’t count. It has to be something you can pick up and read. Book, magazine, coaster, whatever. You must get paid.
This post really hasn’t dealt too much with what I’m actually going to end up doing to support myself, more with dreams that I have to be able to support myself. In the meantime, I’m going to try to improve my writing skills. I’ve signed up for a community college class titled, “Writing Funny Memoirs.” I’m going to try to improve my storytelling. To make an impact on my readers and maybe, just maybe, elicit a chuckle or two. Stay tuned.