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I Want a New Drug

February 26, 2013

I want a new drug. One that gives me drive. One that gives me energy. Ambition and passion. One that takes away the doubt and the lethargy. One that takes away the regret and the sadness. I want to wake up energized and excited. I want the day to go by quickly because I’m so busy and active. I want to end the day feeling like I’ve accomplished something.

Maybe it’s not a new drug. Maybe I need someone else to take over my mind, body and soul. Like a freaky Friday kind of thing. Someone with drive and ambition and goals and a plan. I need someone else to take over for a while and straighten out my life. I want to go into hibernation and have someone else figure all this out for me. I want to lose consciousness and wake up feeling refreshed and new with all of my problems solved.

A personal assistant. That’s what I need. Or a life coach. I just need someone to tell me what to do. How to do it. When to do it. I’m lost. I am at a crossroads. A moment that will change my life. I have to do something. I have to decide something. Not doing anything, not deciding will be a decision itself.

I am in a unique position right now. My job is low-paying and temporary. I have no future there. I have no respect for my boss and completely disagree with everything he’s doing. I’m biding my time there. My kids are grown. I’m single. I have very little money. I have nothing to lose. It’s a unique opportunity. I’ve never been in this position before. I’ve had someone else to take care of since I was 18.

When I was in college my peers were going to Europe for the summer, taking jobs across the country or joining the Peace Corps. One of the reasons I couldn’t cut it in architecture was that everyone else was practically sleeping at their studio desk. I left every day before 5pm, picked up my daughter and played mommy/student/fiancé. Now, I can leave everything behind and do whatever I want. And I have no idea what in the hell to with that opportunity.

Then there’s the money. I am earning the same amount that I’m receiving in spousal support. That support ends in 28 months. And I’m not exactly living it up. I’m really not making ends meet. So I have 28 months to more than double my income. If I don’t, I don’t know what will become of me.

I’m a photographer. I’ve worked for daily papers and for the Associated Press right after Katrina. On the Gulf Coast I was one of a handful of professionals and I could hold my own with the others. In Lafayette, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a phenomenally great photographer who has books published and a strong foothold on the client base. I’ve done weddings before. I like working weddings. I saw a portrait from a local musician’s recent wedding. It was amazing. I don’t know if I even know how to take a photo like that. I could take some classes on photoshop, buy some studio equipment, get a new camera, go to a workshop or two. I could spend all the money I have on these things and gamble that it will lead to a career that I can live off of.

I’m a graphic designer. When I worked for the small city on the Gulf Coast, they were so ignorant of design and branding that everything I did was amazing and professional. I blew them away. Lafayette has some of the best designers and most successful ad agencies in the country. I interviewed for a few positions. I couldn’t touch what my competition brought to the table. I could go back to school and hone my skills, take some classes, buy the upgraded versions of the software, spend all the money I have and gamble my future.

I’m a writer. I’ve done more than just the self-absorbed rantings of this blog. I used to cover city council meetings. I’ve written feature stories about artists and other citizens. I’ve written editorials about local politics. Again, that was in the small pond. I could use my free time to keep writing these blogs, work on some book chapters, delve into my past and hope that one day I might be able to turn it all into a book and make some money.

I love history. I desperately want to get my master’s then doctorate in history. Nothing would give me more joy than to spend years reading and researching and studying and writing about the history of anything and everything. I’m particularly interested in the Cold War and the history of the world’s religions. I could dedicate myself to studying for the GRE, get into graduate school and spend the next four or five years working towards a doctorate. Then I could teach. I don’t know if I would like teaching. I don’t know if I would be good at it. In the meantime, I’d still run out of income. School costs money and you can’t make much while you’re studying. If I got any degree here, I wouldn’t be able to teach here. I’d have to move. Not that I’m against that, but if I’m going to give up my friends and family, I’d rather it be in Guatemala or Bali or South Korea than somewhere else in the states.

Or, I could just screw all those passions and go a technical school for radiology or pharmacy tech or paralegal studies or healthcare coding. I could get a boring, 9 to 5, inflexible, corporate-run job and hope I have the discipline to stick to it day in and day out. I could follow my passions in the evenings and on weekends.

It’s all a crap shoot and the truth is I don’t know how to make any of my options work. There’s no guarantees. Everything involves risk. I’m not sure I’m cut out for this. I’m scared to death that I’m going to screw this up.

I need a new drug. I need a successful visionary to take over for me and figure it out. I want to go to sleep and dream wonderful dreams and wake up in an exotic foreign locale with tall, dark strangers waiting to meet me so I can photograph something or teach them English or U.S. History. That’s not going to happen is it? It’s up to me. I have to be the one to do something. Or do nothing.

When my daughter was under a lot of stress she called me for advice. Like so many young mothers and wives, she was overwhelmed with work, parenting, trying to eat right, run a household and continue to be an artist with ambitions and goals. “You can’t do it all.” I told her. “Something is going to give. If you don’t decide what it is, the universe will decide for you in a way you don’t want it to.” A few days later she broke a bone in her ankle while hiking. She was laid up in bed for weeks.

I’m in the same position. Something has to be done. If I don’t do it something is going to happen or not happen that will take care of my future for me. I’ll wake up one day with no job and no more spousal support and I’ll find myself back at my Dad’s house, right where I started 16 months ago.

I’ve been rereading this book that a friend of mine gave me years ago. At the time I considered it one of those hokey, self-help, women’s empowerment books that I usually find insufferable. Reading it now, it seems  like the entire prose was written just for me for this very moment in my life. In one chapter the author says that when you know you have to change something about your life, “a celestial clock starts ticking…..like a time warning that says, ‘you have so many days to do this.’ If you don’t,  your angel’s going to do it.”

I can hear that celestial clock ticking right now.

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From → Rantings

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