Friday, February 24, 2012
Would I trade the last 10 years?
Some people would envy the heck out of me: I sit around on the government dole and play computer games all day. I could think of nothing more tedious. Work gave me puzzles and problems to solve, things to learn, people to interact with, systems to uncover, and ways of simplifying to discover, and it paid me to do so. It engaged my mind and allowed me to deal with other intelligent professionals on a regular basis. Granted, those dealings weren't always the most joyful, but that was part of the excitement too! Finding the diplomatic path to get the job done... I really loved my work.
Some days I feel so close to being able to go back there, I can smell the Starbucks. Other days I wonder how long is it going to take to get me up on my knees, let alone my feet. After the first month of pain, I was all, "Something's really wrong here." After the first three months I was wondering, "How long can this last?" After six months, I thought, "Okay, screw how long is this going to last, how am I going to eat??" After nine, I was no longer ashamed of applying for welfare. After a year, four... ten... I've forgotten what my life before was like. It's almost lost to the mists of memory. Am I even the same person? Is there any way I could be?
There's an old crone who lives in the back of my head. I like to think she's me, all ALL grown up, wise beyond my imagining. She pipes up with, "Of course not! But you weren't going to be the same you in ten years no matter what. So the real question is, has what you've gained in the last ten years been worth what you otherwise could have been doing with your time?"
And I've got to look... ten years of my career path? Or ten years of this life path? Ouch. There is wisdom I have learned that I would not trade for all the American-held debt in China. I have learned communication skills that I never would have picked up while on the job because there's nothing quite like the communication issues between doctors and patients. There is strength in me now that I wouldn't have gotten otherwise, because I certainly wouldn't have volunteered to go through that much. Dear lord, that's not sane! I know the limits of my body like some mechanics know the limits of a finely crafted engine. I may feel guilty for tapping out for the day, but I never feel I've misjudged.
When I have the energy, I do more without thinking about it. When I don't, I'll notice I've slowed down and take stock to see what's up. My food cravings are also telling, and I follow them almost religiously. (Although a craving for sushi is never justified. There isn't a day I'm alive I won't crave Japanese food.) I have a good track of my mood (or so my therapist tells me). I seem to have gotten the knack of running the machinery of me, regardless of how asplodie it is. That's something I take great pride in, though I know I can be humbled easily at any moment!
So no, I would not trade my last 10 years for the 10 I had planned, much as I still miss it so. I still would like to aim my life in that direction, because I still like eating (and Japanese is expensive!). And although I would like to wake up in the morning and know what to expect of my body. Thank goodness for technology, because I have found ways around being physically unreliable for a 9-5 job. A writer can work at almost any hour, and on the internet, no one needs to know you're still in your bathrobe.
PS - I am still taking donations for my trip to Seattle. I am at 10% Awesome!