Sunday, March 8, 2009

Still trying to make up my mind what to do when I grow up

I'm having a Weird Day. Well, actually it's been a Weird Week. I went up to San Mateo on Wednesday, and am going up again this week. I'd say I'm getting too old for all those long days, but I'm not. I guess I'm just lazy at the moment. The past two weeks have been really stressful, and I'm finding it difficult to manage life in the midst of stress. Like the huge piles of mail that seem to be mating and having children every time I step away from my desk.

So I tried to spend this weekend just chilling out. Went to the video store and got two movies, made a big batch of Italian Wedding soup to graze on all day, have been reading, napping, etc. I must get to the mail pile at some point, but it will still be there tomorrow, and I'm not going to mail any checks on a Sunday night, so I'm just going to listen to Bruckner and deal with it tomorrow.

The thing that made today Weird, though, was that I watched a wonderful movie, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, which I highly recommend. But the building that one of the main characters lived in is the building I used to work in, on John Adam Street, WC2H, near the Charing Cross Station and the bend in the Thames. It got me really missing London. I'm really struggling to figure out how I'm going to get back there. When I first had to leave I was all full of optimism. I'd get my MBA and would find a company to sponsor me, or I'd just start a company, or I'd become a famous writer, or I'd get married to a British man, or something simply because I had to be in London. It's where my soul is supposed to be. When I would go back on vacations I'd send postcards to myself, reminding myself of how happy I am there, and warning myself not to get lazy and complacent. (On a side note, the first time J and I went to London, he said he was amazed because I was like me, only totally different. It was like me on steroids or something. He said I was happy and energetic and alive in ways he'd never seen in me before).

Which now, seven years later, it appears I've done. I keep trying to believe that everything happens for a reason, and I'm on a Path and I'll be led back there when the time is right, or I'll just figure something out and the heavens will open up and everything will be magic again. But the chances of that happening, especially next year if I get pregnant, are getting more slim. So I give myself pep-talks. Ok, this is the year when I really figure my sh*t out, right? No more being Lazy. Whatever it is - marketing for libraries, freelance marketing, who the heck knows - whatever it is, I'll do it This Year. And another year goes by, and I've not done it.

I don't want to just have another pep-talk with myself. I want to cause a transformation in my thinking, Landmark-style.

So rather than thinking about what I want to be when I grow up, I think I need to focus on the lifestyle I want, and then create something that fits within that.

The first thing is mobility. I want to be able to spend summers in the UK, and the school year in PA. And I would like to travel to CA on a regular basis. I want my child to be fully aware of, and engaged with, the larger world around him/her, and to experience it firsthand. I want him to be both a cricket and a baseball fan. Thankfully, with the internet, that is possible in ways it never was even fifteen years ago.

Second, I do not want to have to travel for work a lot. I want the travel I do to largely be pleasure. I travel for work a lot now, and I'm growing weary of it. A few times a year, maybe even once every six weeks or so, that's ok. But not every week, or even every month.

Third, I want to work for myself so that I own my time. Whether that means having some consulting gigs, and then having clients of my own, I don't know. And I don't mind hard work and long-ish hours. But I want to control those hours.

Fourth, goshdarnit, I want to make a good salary. I won't hide it. I'm good at what I do, and I need to learn how to charge for it properly. It's one thing having a salary, like I do now, and quite another to say up-front to a potential client "I think this is what I'm worth" and give some number that seems huge to me, but probably isn't so bad to them.

One good thing about the economy right now is that everyone is hunkering down and it's giving me a chance to plan and think and come to some decisions so that when things turn around - and they will - it will be good timing. I need to get on people's radar now, so that in a few years they'll hire me and I will make this dream-life thing come true.

I'm too young to be giving up on my dreams, right? I mean, everyone is too young to give up on dreams, but I'm particularly too young. And then I can watch movies with buildings in London and not cry inside.

Besides, this whole Getting Back To London thing has become the Story of my Life, and it's getting a little bit boring to keep repeating. So I've gotta stop it and just figure it out already.

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