I had a couple of conversations with folks today that resulted in a couple more items for my change list. Friend B didn’t know that Friend A and I had chatted, and what he had to say – basically, a way of getting some blind feedback from a couple friends without cross-poluting the conversation too much (so that Friend B doesn’t just say “Yeah, exactly” all the time.)
Now, a quick preface – while there are fewer items on this list these are even harder ones to deal with, and require even greater life changes. Downright radical. Under normal circumstances, I probably would have only contemplated two of them. But a discussion with The Plumber and I earlier in the day resulted in the gauntlet being thrown down by accident. We were chatting about a phrase guys have used – and mean, but never follow through with: “I would do anything to make this work.” He pointed out some scenarios – most of which I didn’t have a problem with until he got to “Would you give up what you do and get a standard job working for someone else?”
Hrm. How interesting – My knee jerk reaction was “I really doubt it.” But I am a man of my word, and I love a good challenge. Could I? Would I? SHOULD I? The Plumber pointed out it’s a difficult thing to do once you’ve worked for yourself. Very true. But the way it came across in my head was far different than he meant it – it sounded like someone throwing a gauntlet in the middle of the room then saying “Yeah, none of ya’ have the balls to pick that up.” I love challenges these days.
The in the other friend discussions, someone else mentioned the “J Word” again(and independently re-enforced what Friend A had said, too), with the twist of it being part time to make sure ends always meet, but keep my company as part-time also, putting in a standard 40 – 50 hour week.
Could presented the first problem – I can’t get a tech job worth a damn. As a software developer, part time jobs are few, and even then you usually end up pretty screwed. Other tech areas are friendlier to outside work, but there aren’t many at the moment. For other areas I’m often overqualified (for instance, I can’t flip burgers at McD’s – I have too much management experience, and managers won’t hire me. Trust me, I’ve been down low enough I explored it.) He had also mentioned “something fun, something you enjoy.”
After pondering it while we talked, I realized there’s a couple options out there – see, even if I could get another tech job, I’m not really sure I want one. I already spend too many hours a day behind a desk. If I’m going to do something part time I’d rather do something that’s much more physically demanding. Two birds with one stone – a bit of extra stability, but also higher activity levels to help burn off a bit of fat and build more muscle. And, despite being a tech guy for a living, I’m always very happy with physical labor – I downright enjoy it.
That brings me to the next question: “Would I?” Indeed – would I do something like that. Well, like I said – I love a good challenge, and I’ve gotten pretty good at challenging myself. Plus, if I did this, the rest of my list gets just a tad easier. I started making plans in my head who I wanted to talk to first, then second, then third… etc. That whole thing where there’s Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, through to Plan Z.
The last part brings “SHOULD I?” That one took deeper pondering on my own. Hm. I’m still not quite stable with the company yet – things are improving considerably. If I cherry picked my projects and then worked, say, 20 hours a week, I’d end up with some stability until they company is flat out rock solid. It would also fit my need to get in better shape (dancing and a couple other things this weekend reminded me that I’ve still got room for improvement for strength.) And finally, I’d prove to myself I could do it – if it ever came down to that some day in a relationship, I’d know without a doubt if I could do it, or if I’d let my pride get in the road and screw up badly. All round, it’s a win.
So – on with the list:
Stability: Obviously I just talked about that. I need a bit more of it – what I do is often feast or famine. If I could bring in around even as low as $800 / mo. on the stable side of my income I’m in good shape – my burst income has gotten pretty good. A little bit goes a long way in this case when you throw in the much higher dollar contract work – the contract work handles some of my long term goals, the stable income handles the month to month goals.
My Own Space: This one causes some gnashing of teeth. I hate living in an apartment – I prefer houses. But I decided to experimentally look at it from the “what ever it takes” point of view – if I look at it that way, well, it opens up my options a bit. But, if I explore diligently I could have the best of both worlds.
The problem is I’ve started paying rent on a space that I lived for free for a long time as partially a favor to the owner, and as a kindness from the owner – that part is pretty cool and all, but, it comes with a lot of downsides. The place is on well-water, and it’s filled nearly to the brim with the owner’s stuff (who doesn’t live here.) And when I mean to the brim, we’re talking rooms that are from floor to ceiling full of stuff. And it’s not “my place” really, so I can’t do much about it, and I can’t restore it or anything.
And it’s had cats in it – lots of cats. There are one left, fortunately – I found them all good homes. But the fur remains, no matter how much I clean the place – I can sweep and a few hours later you’ll find some show back up in the corners. *SIGH* With the ex-girlfriend this was a major issue – she was allergic to cats. I don’t know if I’m allergic to cats, but I am allergic to SOMETHING in this house, and I refuse to take Benedryl or similar on a daily basis. (Fortuanately it’s only minor allergies for me.)
There’s just no way I can fix my issues where I am. So it’s time for my own space. If I watch closely I can nail some pretty good deals. And if I ask a couple of friends, I might be able to land some downright amazing deals on an apartment or house – even potentially something I could buy and own myself, but might require Divine Intervention to pull off, so I’m not going to hold my breath.
A Clean House: I hate dirt, I hate clutter, and I hate chaos in my environment. I wasn’t always that way – I used to be a slob! It slowly changed over the years – I like tidy, organized areas. I like floors that are clean. Changing my work habits (IE, not working 16 hour days) makes that a bit easier since I’ve got some time. But there’s still a psychological issue here – this place, even when clean, looks dirty. I never feel it’s clean, and all the stuff that doesn’t belong to me doesn’t help at all. And of course, see the allergy issue above – just fixing THAT alone will make me a happier person, and removing chaos and clutter would make that 20 – 30 hours of time I work in the house go so much faster (if my desk gets too cluttered my productivity slips. After cleaning a bit today I improved, by my desk is still too cluttered.)
Full Independence: I have my own car, pay my own bills – the house still isn’t mine, and the house bills themselves are still paid by the owner. I want to do it myself. I like paying bills. Actually, heck, I’m extremely happy paying bills – at one point in my life I couldn’t do it at all! I lost my house, my car, etc. Now, 5 years later, I’m to the point I can do all that – and I want to. I look forward to some of the struggle involved – but the whole “stability” section of my list and pre-planning will help that a lot.
So, baring any other epiphanies, the two posts now constitute my entire list of changes I want to make. I think I’m going to have the list printed out and posted on the wall – just the title parts, not the entire long spiel. Something to remind me of what I want to change. Most of the list revolves around me being able to be happier in life, but at the same time, the list also resolves around “The Next Time” – the next time I’m with someone who’s a potential life mate, I’m ready. I’ll have already set the stage for potentially more successful relationships. You know, when I actually have one 😉
I’ve also got a friend who looked at my blog and pointed out these are some of the same changes she’d like to make to her life too! So I decided, what the heck, I’ll blog how it goes, and how I did it. Sort of like I have a Restoration Projects section of the site for Baby Jaguar and for The Beast so people can watch the progress (I really need to make a post about Baby Jaguar soon – I actually have worked on it) – and the friend who’s looking at the same issues can learn from my mistakes 🙂 (The stakes are higher for her – she’s got a kid. If I screw up bad enough, well, at least it’s just ME out on the street. If she screw up it’s much more significant.)
And so far, my plan to adjust my sleep and work schedules are doing OK, given that this is Day 1 (and I’m in the middle of two crunch-time projects.) I’m actually an hour behind my bed time – I wanted to get up at 7:30 AM, but I’ve only left myself time for 6 hours of sleep if I do that. Oops! My goal is to always have a schedule of a full 8 hours of sleep, and a wake time around 6:30 – that gives me enough time to wake up, make some food, that sort of thing before the day starts in earnest. Yes – I’ll ALMOST be an early riser. Friday will be my first planned 6:30 AM day. We’ll see how that all goes after a couple weeks 🙂