I have just made a mid-year resolution. I am going to stop saying that I need to get a real job. If there is anyone who knows about jobs, it would be me! Some of us can’t count as high as the number of jobs that I have had. A friend told me that I should title the book I am writing (in my head anyway), “Everything I Needed to Learn, I Learned in my First 128 Jobs.” Back in 1984, my friends were working for big companies climbing the corporate ladder of success and I felt like I needed to join the club. I moved from Vail, Colorado, back to Cincinnati, in order to get a real job. After two and a half years of windowless cubicle life as a buyer at General Electric, I realized I was not a real job kind of girl. Thirty years later, I continue to relearn the lesson over and over. Until today. Until this resolution.
I know how empowering a resolution can be. About ten years ago, I made a resolution to stop using the word worry. The power of intentional thinking is amazing. It was difficult at first to stop using a word that completely permeated my thoughts and speech. But once the transformation was complete, my outlook on life truly changed. I no longer worried!!! Yes, I had a tendency to be – er- concerned about things, but a conscious eradication of that little word truly did change my viewpoint. I’m not going to lie. I’m not a total success. My husband will sometimes say that I rue too much. But, and importantly, he does not say that I worry!
Among other things, I am a gardener for hire. This time of year, I leave my house in the early morning with a jug of ice water, a cooler full of wet washcloths and ice packs, and a change of clothes. Some days, I do rather live in my car, crawling in the back or ducking into a park restroom to change out of sweat-soaked clothes into a cleaner pair of soon-to-be sweat-soaked clothes as I move between homes doing gardening chores. The wet wash cloths come in handy for cooling and for taking what my mother always called European showers. Sometimes, like tomorrow, I have to leave a gardening job and head to a tutoring job where mud stained shorts, face, and arms would be frowned upon.
The other day, I was working at an organic farm alongside an educated young man who truly forages for his food (berries and mushrooms, roots and greens found along his route) when the topic of real jobs came up. I confessed that I felt like maybe it was time that I got a real job. “Don’t you put in a good day’s work?, “ he queried. “ Aren’t you using your body to work the land, aren’t you dog tired at the end of the day from doing real work, doing work that makes the world better? Are you selling something that people don’t need?” He delivered a dissertation for the next fifteen minutes. Okay, he wouldn’t shut up. He annoyed me but I realized how right he was. I am doing real work. I have always had a good work ethic, and I need to do what that young man didn’t do: Shut up. Work. Sometimes Real hard. Be glad for it.