When I last checked in here, a few months ago, I wanted to do a traditional “taking stock of the past year” kind of post, but instead ended up writing mostly about money. We were in a tough spot at the time, having lost our housemate shortly after taking out a second debt consolidation loan in order to finally get serious about paying down our credit cards. In my post, I wondered how we would make it work, but somehow had a feeling that, in one way or another, we would.
As it happened, a couple of weeks later, the perfect opportunity turned up. Almost exactly one month to the day after I wrote that post, I started my second job that is plugging that gaping hole in our budget – and doing a lot more than just that.
I now work an early morning shift at one of the local bakeries. Getting used to waking up at 4 am was definitely an adjustment, and I’m still figuring out how to put myself to bed early enough in the evening in order to get a decent amount of sleep. But, despite the groggy awakenings, I love every bit of it. There is something about leaving the house before dawn, driving through the quiet town, and speeding down the empty highway with the radio on, knowing that I have somewhere to go and a job to do.
Not that I didn’t have a job to do before that. I do still have my other job, the one I’ve had for over 6 years now. This is the job that made it possible for us to move to the Methow, as my wonderfully accommodating employer (thanks to the advocacy of my then-boss) was willing to let me telecommute. This job also makes it possible for us to pay our mortgage and bills, and to have good and affordable health insurance (to the extent that good and affordable health insurance exists in the US in 2019). And, being mission-driven, this job also gives me a sense of purpose and fulfillment, of contributing to the greater good.
Still, something was missing. To be more precise, two things were missing. One was a gnawing desire to do work that was tangible, that involved using my hands to create a concrete, usable product (and, no, a piece of writing, which the main thing I produce at my 9-5 job, does not count). The other was a longing to be more involved in the local community. Overall, working from home is a huge blessing for me. At this point in my life, I really can’t imagine having a full-time job outside the home. However, holding down a job that has zero connection with the reality outside your window can be very isolating.
So, for now, the new job is pretty perfect. It gives me something down-to-earth to do (it’s hard to get more down-to-earth than making food) and other people to talk to – not via email or phone, but face to face, while sharing a bench. And, five mornings a week, it gives me somewhere to go. Somewhere that is not too close to home and not too far away; somewhere that feels just right.