Sunday, December 8, 2013

Revisiting rebellion

The more I change, the more I stay the same. I still have dreams some nights that I'm back in high school (sometimes a teenager, sometimes an adult) arguing that I cannot jump through the hoops necessary to graduate. Back then, the hoops were represented by gym credits. (I didn't even take gym at the time because of my fused knee.)

Beware. Life is full of hidden gym credits.

I was laid off my part-time office job at a local small business a couple months ago. This was no surprise, as the friends I worked for had told me about upcoming changes. They knew I was doing more traveling & writing, a time-investment in future paid work. Plus I'd be eligible for unemployment benefits.


I drove to Workforce first thing Ithaca Friday morning as part of The Deal to keep receiving my $91/week.  The similarities to certain trips to guidance counselors when the ship of my high school education was sinking were not lost on me. But I felt much more able to handle it. 

I was supposed to bring a resume. Ahem. I've never had a resume. I almost made one for the sheer entertainment value of listing my jobs: movie theatre ticket & candy sales, McDonalds fryer, boarding stable manager, riding camp counselor, cleaner-of-barns-full of cows, horses, goats, sheep, & all types of poultry. Exercise rider at a small time track. Standardbred groom at ditto. Barista, nursery worker (potting plants), bookkeeper at a feed mill. Owner-operator of a riding lesson/horse training stable. 

There's more, but enough time wasted. Which was my point: I've wanted to be a published writer since I was approximately six years old, and thanks to life's little curiosities, a mere forty-something years later I'm closer than I've ever been--as well as closing in on a career as a speaker. I have something of a "platform" online, which is critical as well as being the equivalent of a writer's & speaker's resume. All I was hoping for was a few months of my ninety-one dollars a week benefits to go with the rest of my scrimping & saving & child support.

Alas. The hoops are still with me. And I jump through them no better than back in Lexington High in 1979. These took the form of faithfully-kept job search records and applications for full-time minimum wage ($7.25/hr) jobs I  1) didn't want  2) couldn't keep due to my brain's resistance & claustrophobia  3) probably couldn't do physically for an 8-hr shift without falling down a time or two (I did clean a dozen stalls this weekend, but in a couple hours, and not without falling, though softly)  and 4) couldn't make a real living at.

And in the case of the aspiring entrepreneur hoping to soon be self-employed, who declines to job- and/or tail-chase in favor of full-time self-investment?

Forget it. Working on a career of self-employment that doesn't include a certain list of programs, education, courses and boxes-checked is a no-no. Rack up those hours looking for work, or forget unemployment.

Hello attitude, my old friend. You've come to save me once again.

I was polite. I expressed civil dismay (and my counselor privately agreed with me, which was more support than I ever found back in school) and took my leave.

Lately, I've felt that my inner teenager is disgusted with who I've become in middle age:  hesitant to ride, slower, weaker, OLDER...  But driving home on Friday, she was fist-bumping me and cheering me on. It's good to know I'm still living up to her expectations. 

Onwards. And may the hoops be ever in your favor, which is to say, bypassed altogether.

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