There is a part of my Life that I have been keeping from you. I allude to it from time to time, but I haven’t really shared much about it…until now.
Evolutionarily speaking, I am one of the weak members of the herd. Middle-aged (ouch,) chronically ill and in pain much of the time. I am no longer a productive member of society the way I once was, working as a Pediatric nurse. All I’m saying is, if I were a bison, I’d easily be in the second wave to get picked off in the hunt…Of course, the job I do every day is complex and important: the raising of two good humans with complex medical issues (at least, that’s what I tell myself.) In one afternoon, I dealt with a potential concussion (not mine, and it was) two migraines (one of them mine,) the destruction of property and subsequent punishment, two different grade levels of homework, and large amounts of bright red blood from an unknown mouth source during tooth brushing time. Try putting that on a resume.
But I hit 40 like a brick wall, and I have been on a “finding my purpose in Life quest” over the past year or so. I think many people who have been displaced from their career have similar thoughts, be it through parenthood, illness, injury, job loss, or even retirement. Those of us who live in the nebulous world of disabled-ish from conditions where we juggle spoons are no different. We may look like we’ve got it all together, and we may be volunteering for the PTA, running businesses from home, or have active social lives and hobbies, but often full-time employment (FTE) is extremely challenging for us (having to be beholden to a schedule instead of getting to choose when we feel up to work.) If we have the luxury of not doing FTE, we don’t. If we have to do it, it uses up a LOT of spoons. If you are one of those people, I genuflect in your general direction. Us parents, well, we are always on call, but we also have the greatest motivation. Our kids have a way of dangling the emergency spoon in front of us when we are out. I have run on fumes more times than I can count.
The happy ending to my seeming mid-life crisis, is that for now, I have found my groove by embracing my role as a homemaker and homesteader in training (HIT. More on this to come in future posts…) And a new category has been born on my blog henceforth known as DI-Why?, because why on earth would someone like me dive into gardening and canning when I can’t hold a 9-5 job, and we hire a cleaning service? (For the record, it’s only once a month, but hey, scrubbing tubs and vacuuming uses up a LOT of spoons!)
I have given up the dream that I will be contributing financially to my household in a significant way. My health is so unpredictable at this point, even maintaining my consulting business has been difficult. Writing, though fulfilling and hopefully “helpful” to some of you people, doesn’t make me any money yet (but if you like what you read, please keep sharing! More eyeballs means that Ads can be sold.) So, I began looking for ways to spend less money, and found that my position in the home gave me the advantage to learn some new skills. There is a reason that poor country folk have been continuing the traditions of growing and canning their own food while others have long abandoned it: it saves money!
For health reasons, I have not compromised on the quality of food that I feed my family over the years, relying on stores like Whole Foods, Wegmans, Trader Joes, and Farmer’s Markets during the growing season. But, dang! We spend a crap ton of money on food. I have balanced it out elsewhere: I shop for our clothes almost exclusively out of second hand stores (as you might remember from my post Bring Sexy Back.) So maybe my extended time at home is not a prison sentence, but rather an opportunity to learn new skills and tip the scale even more in the save category.
Like all things, I find that I do best when I take it little by little, step by step, and make few changes at a time. There is a large learning curve when it comes to growing food, and messing up canning can lead to all kinds of issues. I’ve wanted to do this for years now, but I was scared to death of poisoning my family (side note, I’m not as scared of that now that I am actually doing it. I think if you mess up, everything just gets moldy…it’s pretty obvi…) I will be sharing my wins and whoopsies with you as I go. So, lest you see this category and wonder why – it is me. I am a hippie. I am a health nut. I am a homemaker. I am living with chronic illness. I am looking for ways to save money. I am looking to build my skill set. Most of all, when I do it, I am happy.
I can’t wait to share more about it with you. Do you have any mad DIY skills you wish to share? Tell us about them!