Sunday, October 31, 2004

Mini Mid-Life Crisis

Okay, so I am not quite ready for a midlife crisis, so perhaps for the purpose of not sounding like a stupid Big Chill character, let's just say that I am struggling with some identity issues.

Maybe it's the change in the weather and the fact that it is All Hallow's Eve? Whatever the reason, I am having one of those "who am I?" and "what do I want?" attacks. The questions are hounding me - I've spent many nights struggling to fall asleep, thinking about all the things I want to accomplish in life.

I know, it's impossible to do everything - I also know I have a terrible habit of never finishing what I start. That stubborn resolve has kept me moving through days like these, stoically ignoring those nagging voices that keep telling me I'm not following my heart.

Part of the problem is my belief that "following your heart" is selfish, some melodramatic ideology preached by new agers who have no ability to be accountable or commit. After carefully analyzing the messaging behind the New Age movement, I have found it to be every bit as delusional and self-absorbed as any other religion.

So now I am left with this void and a lack of belief in anything, really. I suppose that is why I identity as pagan, because it's as close to the earth as you can get with spiritual expression, and there's no dogma in it. It's sort of a "build as you go" spirituality which I can appreciate.

Anyone, getting back to the issue at hand (can you tell I am stalling?)...

As some of you know, I have been quite interested in the environment, deep ecology, and animal work. I have always been drawn to the earth because being in the wild is the only thing that gives me pure peace of mind and emotion. During a rough childhood, I spent many hours absorbed in coaxing feral cats out of barns to eat, catching frogs in the pond, picking wildflowers in the fields, building forts with my brothers and sisters in the woods that lined our property. Some of my best memories were of camping with my siblings under the stars, basset hounds in tow.

As I got older, my sense of place was more defined. I felt connected to the desert - Arizona felt like my birthplace even though it was far away from my actual place of birth. The canyons and the warmth of the Southwest... I miss the desert. I miss the sense of being at home there.

I have been struggling with many decisions as of late. Do I stay with being in a business with Rick? Do I look for a nonprofit, salaried position? Do I take a better paying job for the next couple of years and save up enough money to travel again?

If I do some of these things, there will be consequences. Like anything, there's a trade off. On one hand, working with Rick has been a positive experience. Building a business together can really test the depths of your love. It's hard work, but has provided a lot of valuable experiences and has taught me innumerable lessons. In addition, I have picked up many news skills I would have never acquired otherwise.

On the other hand, there's no time for anything else. The line between work and home is blurred.

Rick and I have had many heart-to-heart conversations about my role in the business, where I see myself eventually. No matter what the conclusion, it's a tough decision. There's a part of me that really knows I belong in a nonprofit role - particularly contributing to an ecological or animal based project. I can feel it - that's what I need to be doing.

So - this is the tricky part - how do I go about it without feeling like I am ditching the business? There's a feeling of guilt associated with what I want versus what I believe is expected of me.

I am unsure what to do... As you can tell, I am sorting out my life right now and am taking the opportunity to use this journal as, well, a diary. Hah. I need some direction.



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