I'm really okay with not having a job to go to and having the time to write during the days, smoking my cigarettes, and deciding what I want to truly do with my life, jumping up sporadically to do laundry, housework, or go snow-shoeing, but it's been a bit of a mental struggle to be okay with it. I have worked every day of my life since I left home, in some fashion or another, knowing and feeling it was never okay to just sit around and laze around on my bum (which is what I would rather do!) I have also never had this much sit-around time.
(Click on the various photos for fun facts.)
I go to my French course, take bassoon lessons once a week, and play with the youth symphony (above photo is of the conservatory), but those are in the evenings, so the day time has seen me grow more accustomed to spending time on the computer, reading, and practicing. I've always scoffed at these kinds of people--the person I am being right now--who don't have day jobs on account of some artistic excuse, but even if I could let that go (or change my position on it--after all I am artistic and idealistic,
what use is there in denying it?), there's the whole question of what I am contributing to the overall well-being and betterment of my own life and consequently, those lives which surround me when not bringing in money, not furthering my education (save for some mastery of the French language), or doing anything of worldly substantial value.
Blown glass museum in La Baie
It really speaks to the idealistic side of me, the side of me that is tired of taking on 'petty' jobs (even to help myself reach the ends to the means), when I say they're not really helping me. It's idealistic, if not a little deluded, to say such a thing because I did learn a lot about myself and others, even my capability to encourage others, be a better leader, be better at serving others with all the other jobs I've had; and I am not above any job or any person. These were jobs where the most education involved was a high school diploma (which is what I have, so I speak carefully) and those with more were the kids coming back for summer jobs, yet off to bigger and better things.
What hampered things somewhat was the locale, isolated, left to its own devices, the closest neighboring city being four hours away, and the dwindling population/reduced number of choices of available jobs, never mind higher education. (Where I was, they tried, but it didn't coincide with my music, and I just couldn't relent, no matter how much the locals raved.) I'm sure that added to my experience dramatically because when I think about the differences between a thriving big city and a small, northern, isolated bush-town, I am almost convinced that my options would have been a little greater in number and the chances of feeling good about a means-to-the-ends side job (the job that helps me get through school or advancement of any kind) would have been higher, even if only for the difference in size and despite overall economy.
But none of these jobs were entirely fulfilling because I was not maximizing... something. My intellect? My capacity to understand intricate instructions? My craving to be challenged? I had some level of those factors in all of my previous employments, but even when I rose to the occasion, there was always someone else who was there first, who did it longer, who did not appreciate that some newbie coming in could keep up, or something wrong with the way I performed a task. In fact, I realize how much I had compromised the ways (and manners) in which I thought, acted, and talked after experiencing conversations and interactions with others outside of the place where I was living. I could use the language I used once upon a time (the one with the "big words" that I was made fun of), I could talk about abstract concepts without getting the Glaze-Over or the Old Stink Eye, or even worse, the good, old change-the-subject tactic. Even getting back into music and sitting under the conducting of a professional with other professionals (yes, these kids are professionals) reinforced the 'maybe I used to be smart' thought with "oh, effing sweet! I know what they're talking about!" and brought me the relief of a thousand years. I'm really not crazy and over my league after all--I'm just who I am! I really am that person! This kind of stuck my idealistic theory in the ground like a general with his flag that I do need an educated job.The worst thing about these realizations, though, is that I sound like a complete effing snob. A real pretentious snipe! And this exactly the reason I hunkered down and took on jobs that I felt were a little humiliating. I had no more qualifications on paper that could land me a higher-paying job, I was not (and still am not) above any job, and at the end of the day, I was damned lucky to have any job, regardless of position on the globe and with respect to global economy. I have ex-military brothers qualified to get into law enforcement of land security/patrol-type jobs who struggled to keep their jobs when the economy took a dive. I remember my mom agitatedly reminding me that I was not above any job, too, when I was pregnant and young. Maybe it was just the situation and my attitude that gave her a little panic about my idealism, or maybe it was a plain lesson in life, but it has stuck with me all these years.
At the end of the day, though, snob or not, unreasonable or idealistic, those jobs were not fulfilling. Or at least not in a way where I could go home and leave work at work for a general majority of the time. And let's face it, I'm 31 years old. I'm too old to be fluffing around. Getting another job like that, here, seems counterproductive to what I was trying to do by coming here in the first place. It seems like I'm waiting for the perfect job to come to me, rather than going out and looking for it, even though that is not entirely, exactly true. I've always been of the mindset that a person has to make their life what they want it to be, rather than standing around waiting for it to just fall onto their laps, although I haven't necessarily practiced it. But in the end, after all the go-get-it, dive-in, make-it-happen Cazares attitude to life I've had, after 7 months of feeling self-conscious about what I've done or not done to significantly add to my life, which I will share with my girls, I know I'm being groomed for something even in spite of seeming like I'm not taking all of the grooming into my own hands. While it doesn't feel like it now, I know I'm learning something about life and how I'm going to go about it on my terms, without apology, exhibit the strength I'm trying to teach my girls about going after what they want (living what I preach), and not relenting to what others would have them (or me) do, like I did before. I've had so many new experiences, met so many new friends, and such a healthy outpouring of such different mindsets (keep in mind, I spend my whole adult life in that small town, forming a shell of collective, amassed opinions as my own guide for how to live there) that I feel refreshed and more installed of the real me than I've felt in years.
And now I'm here where I get a chance to rest and see the gray clouds and talk about them, as well as wrap up to go do some housework, which is just as relaxing as writing because it's productive.
Ice-breaking Coast Guard boat (La Baie)
Le Pyramide de Ha! Ha!--made of yield signs
The bridge in Chicoutimi
La Petite Maison Blanche--one of the only little houses to survive the 1996 flood in Chicoutimi;
The Saguenay Symphony played its season premier opener here last summer
Overlooking the Chicoutimi River