Knowing My Place

Most of the time, I know my place. I love my place – it’s got hubby in it, and my kids, my cat, my relatives, my friends, a terrific garden and a comfy bed to snuggle into at night. It’s also got stuffed animals that like to greet me when I come home from a writer’s conference.

My welcome home from Desert Dreams – stuffed animals guarding an ice bucket with a bottle of champagne. Isn’t my hubby the sweetest?

But it’s taken me some time to get to this place. I stumbled across what I thought was a brand-new journal book and took it along to a new playwright’s workshop I take on Monday nights. Imagine my surprise when I opened it up and found notes from a scam possible job opportunity, back in May of 2010.

I read through my notes (which were substantial – I believe I went to a week’s worth of “training”). There was a lot of leadership stuff in there – really good leadership stuff, I might add, which I will re-read again. Plus there was a lot of manipulation stuff in there, too; which bugged me at the time. But it took actually trying to sell this stuff before I realized that this job was not for me, no matter how much money I could make doing it.

Which got me to thinking about another job I had, spanning four months, not many months before I checked into the scam other possible job opportunity. That was a real job, with a real paycheck and real expense reports and real work. I was good at it, too. By the fourth month, I knew what I was doing, I could handle the work with my eyes shut and hands tied behind my back, and I was absolutely and positively miserable. Part of the misery was some family issues that were happening, and I was far away from home each day. So when I quit – and that, in fact, has been the only job I have quit – I did so as politely as I could, telling them that I was needed at home and this job wasn’t the right fit for me. They tried to keep me but I held firm. More money wouldn’t have done it (and boy was I underpaid). I spent the next two weeks getting everything in order, making sure the people who were taking my accounts knew what was going on in each area, copying my boss on all the details. I didn’t want to be badmouthed about my work when I left, and I wanted to make sure that if I ever HAD to, I could go back.

I have thought about these two jobs quite a bit in the last few days. I knew I could have handled them both, but there comes a time when you should just back away. Just because you CAN do a job doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it. Not at the expense of your own personal health and happiness, or how your mood affects your family.

Writing is a job. Luckily, I can and should and do write, and even though it can be difficult at times I never feel like I’m wearing ill-fitting clothes. I never feel out of place. I am never insanely miserable.

Writing, I’m happy to say, is my “place”. (So is my current day job, which I’m lucky to have and I’m grateful that it’s a good fit for my personality.)

Desert Dreams Booksigning
At Desert Dreams Booksigning, with a part of the Arizona contingent of the Ashworth clan. One of the good writing days! (The one that voids warranties is Young Son.)

I’m thinking young people today are trying to find their own “place” almost too quickly, thereby abandoning part of the journey to self discovery for “place”. Later, they wonder why they’re unhappy. Maybe choosing your “place” too young is a bad thing?

Or maybe not enough people are lucky enough to find their “place” early in life? I don’t know. But heck, I’m happy where I am.

I guess you could say I’m in my happy place, lol, every time I sit down to write or go to the day job. Yes, I count myself lucky!

I also know that I’m a strong, intelligent woman and I’m friends with other strong, intelligent women (and men). Amidst all the change and upheaval and births and deaths and angst and incredible happiness and terrible storms, it helps to remember we are all human. What divides is is minor compared to what should unite us. We are strong and breakable; we all live, love, laugh, cry, eat, sleep, dream, bleed and die, and the earth is our “place”. Right now, it’s the only earth we’ve got.

I guess I’ve said enough. I’ve got dinner to make and more words to write. Peace out, people – and remember to be gentle with each other, even when we may disagree. Hugs!

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?


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16 Responses to Knowing My Place

  1. Laura says:

    I think there is value in having “serial” places. I wouldn’t be in the place I am today without having been in a bunch of other places, most of which seemed just fine when I was there (and a few that were definitely not ok). I agree that young people (and I was one once…) try to find their place too soon. However, I encouraged the college students that I worked with (one of the previous places) to explore options, and not think that “this is the one”. Our society has changed – gone are the days of starting a job and retiring from the same job. I’m happy in my current place, but I’m wise enough about myself to know that there is most probably another place waiting out there for me. That doesn’t bother me… It bothers some of my friends, but I’m not one to get too rooted, despite my sun sign’s characteristics. I’m always happy to hear when people find their niche – it’s one of the most positive things you can experience!

  2. Laura, ABSOLUTELY there are serial “places” in each person’s life. My place as a child is not the same place I was in when I was in my 20s. Each place has been more of an emotional one than a physical one, and not just tied to the job I currently had.

    Getting my sons to go out, embrace life and deal with the possibilities of a new place has been an immense struggle, so I know what you mean about having college students explore options. I just wish mine would, lol!

    Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Janie Emaus says:

    I’m so happy for you. I know my “Happy” place is right here, in front of this computer, writing and spending time with my characters. I just wish I could do it ALL day long. But then, maybe I wouldn’t like it as much.

  4. I totally agree with “serial places”. There are many physical as well as emotional places we’ll be during our lives and hopefully we find one that fits best. Very late in life I discovered this “writing place” but I would never have gotten here without first going to all the other places beforehand. Nice post. Thank you.
    Patti

  5. I’m not sure about places, but I can tell you my experiences, both good and bad, have prepared me for things yet to come in my life. I believe things happen for a reason and I don’t think there is anything in my past I would change. Let’s just hope it stays that way 😉

  6. “What divides is is minor compared to what should unite us. We are strong and breakable; we all live, love, laugh, cry, eat, sleep, dream, bleed and die, and the earth is our “place”. Right now, it’s the only earth we’ve got.” Such a beautiful line. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Very inspiring.

  7. It’s great being at a place you just know is “right”. I feel like I’ve been lead through each of my “serial” places through the years and they’ve each lead to where I am now. I wouldn’t have had the experiences I’ve had and the background to write about what I write without having been through the rest. Awesome post, Christine!

  8. Maria Powers says:

    Ah, I celebrated my half century of living this year. It’s interesting how much better I feel about my life and my journey to this place than I did about my life at 20. Experience makes life so much better. You just don’t have that when you are in your late teens and early 20’s. Everything seems like “life and death” because this is the first time you’ve done something. The first time you do anything is terrifying, but then once you’ve done it, it’s easy or at least easier.

    Living through your first heart break is horrible. You know that you’ll never feel this way again. The next time hurts just as much, but this time you’ve been down this road before and you know that you’ll make it through to the other side. The first time you fail at a job and either you’re told that you don’t fit or you decide it doesn’t fit for you. It’s devastating. The next time you try a job and it doesn’t work, you think, “Ah, I’ve been here before. Time to let this one go.”

    Your boys need a push, but they’ll get there. We all do. As my father would have said, “You’re making it too comfortable for them.” Yep, I left the house the first time because I hated living with dad’s rules; the main one being, “He who pays the bills makes the rules.” Of course, your boys are fabulous people and you enjoy their company.

    • “Experience makes life so much better.” Yes, that! I wouldn’t trade my 20’s for anything, for I jam-packed life during that decade; but I also wouldn’t want to relive most of it.

      I guess it’s part of the world, now, with kids not leaving home until much later than we did. I can live with it, embrace it even – I love them so much. But there are times I wish I could just shrink my world – less stuff in it – and that’s hard to do right now. There will be time. I know it…

  9. Sam Beck says:

    So much of what you said here resonated with me. I trudged through a LOT of jobs that really made me miserable, and it would be something if I could say I did it to support my family, pay medical expenses, raise money for charity, or something noble like that, but the truth is I spent more than any sane person should have on an education in a field I hated, and then I had to pay back the loans the only way I could — working in the dang field. And after the loans were paid back, I just kind of felt like everyone expected me to “keep going.” Did I learn anything important from my pre-writing career? Sadly, nothing smarter, more eloquent people haven’t said before. Do what you love. You’re going to spend a lot of time doing it, so you might as well spend your energy on something that makes you happy, not just something tolerable that has a good paycheck. The income needs are flexible. The happiness needs … not so much.

    And if you have to do something else in order to fund doing what you love? Well, recognize that job for what it is — a means to an end, not the end itself. Do it to the best of your ability, but don’t let it suck up an unfair portion of your time, identity or self-esteem.

    • Oh Sam. A lot of the time what we do, we do for someone else – like the education you got, probably for your parents. But the time wasn’t wasted, because pieces of the people you met will appear in your novels. To the novelist, no experience is wasted. Everyone is fodder for the work.

      And you’re much happier now, so that’s a marvelous gift – that you’ve learned where your place is in this world! Hugs, honey!

  10. Catie Rhodes says:

    My birthday is in February. It is a milestone birthday, and I find myself assessing where and how I’ve ended up. I’ve done a lot of things.

    Most of them, looking back, have been dumb. I’ve learned, though. I’ve learned that it is up to me to make my own success. I’ve learned that living by standards set forth by an arbitrary life script doesn’t mean I’m going to be happy.

    Just this last year, I’ve been able to finally accept that life is about the journey and what we learn along the way. To paraphrase the Beatles,in the end, it’s about the love you make. But I still reserve the right to dream really really big.

    • Catie – I think everyone does really dumb things. It’s part of how we learn. I look back and cringe at some of the things I’ve done, but the sum of my past makes up who I am today.

      And hell yeah, dream big, baby!

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