Friday, 28 November 2014

On being a dabbler

At 71 I have the privilege of no longer having to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. That is a good thing because I never did. 

Earlier gender and age protected me from that dilemma to some extent. My generation of women still grew up expecting to make domestic life the main occupation. It never appealed to me and many others, and by the time we came of age things changed, but that is another story. The main point is that society did not judge our lives on the basis of success at work the same way it did men's.

I have raised two children to awesome adults and done my bit to support the household with paid labour, but I have never really had a career of any kind. Even though I am in some ways quite clever. (Stupid in other ways. Never mind now) This was partly due to the choice to live in the boondocks, which I have never regretted. But even here I could imagine having tried harder and made something more of a success in some endeavor or other.

The truth, dear reader, is that I am by nature a dabbler.
I like doing a bit of many things and as a result became a master at none. I keep seeing people who are making a success of enterprises I might have been able to pull off.
I catch myself thinking "Why did I not do that?"

I used to be a serious student of astrology. There was a time when my greatest ambition was to become a professional.
Occasionally I come across something I wrote in that context and think "That was actually quite good. Too bad I fizzled out." I had good reasons for doing so but that is another story.

I quite enjoy giving reflexology sessions. People tell me I am good at it. I have never earned a living with it. Could this have developed into a more successful practice if I had put more effort into promoting myself?
The sad truth is that I never tried hard enough, consistently enough to do that. I also cannot imagine enjoying the 9-5 equivalent, living or no living. The size of the town provides a great excuse that is partially valid.

I love to grow things. Standing at the farmers market behind a table loaded with perennial bedding plants of exceptional quality was a favourite thrill. Yet the thought of doing it full time, having to advertise sales, being a slave to the small life forms in pots, no, too much like work.

For a full decade, after a health product made a dramatic difference in my own life, I wanted more than anything to be a successful network marketer. I still have to finish the blogs on that experience.

And speaking of blogs, I have been both gardening and blogging longer than some young women whose very professional productions I have followed. When I first started blogging (on yahoo 360) in the fall of 2006 it was with commercial intent in mind. But, as with everything else, my efforts are intermittent and half hearted.

In retrospect, the Home Support work I rolled into for thirteen years was a good fit. I loved meeting the old timers and learning first hand about the history of this community. History is young here. The parents of the people I cared for had been the first European settlers. I loved working independently but not having to do the organising bits. I suck at organising. Twenty five hours a week provided a basic income with enough time left to persue the other endeavors. 

After 13 years of it I felt the need for a break, and asked for a summer off. As it turned out, the agency was starting on a reorganisation that would require lay offs. If I agreed to lose my seniority and stay away for a whole year they would give me a lump sum, roughly equivalent to 6 months wages. I thought about it for half an hour, then decided to go for it, practically giddy with freedom.

I figured with full time effort the combination of network marketing and the reflexology business would support me. Almost, but not quite. No regrets, I would have had a hard time being a HSW in the new reality of brutal cutbacks.  I do not hurry well. But from a financial point of view retiring from steady work at 57 was not the smartest move. No months in Hawaii for us, the local Hot Springs will have to do. 

So here we are, and what do you know: the Reflexology practice is busier than it has been in years!  I feel the need to become just a bit more professional. I am investing in some extra courses, and will visit Vista Print for fresh business cards. 

Who knows, perhaps the time has finally come to be less of a dabbler.