John Steinbeck once wrote in a novel something to extent of (and I'm badly butchering this, I'm sure) "A great change in a person doesn't happen over night. It happens over the course of days, weeks. It stews within you until it boils over." Something like that. Regardless, it is very easy applied to not only to relationships, but to jobs, hobbies and so forth.
Back when Robin and I got together, we both thought we had things figured out as far as our lives went. We had a good grasp on what was important to us then, as well as what we wanted out of the future. Some things panned out because we worked hard for them. Other things changed and mutated and fell by the wayside. This isn't necessarily a bad thing unless you forget what's important.
The day we moved into what I will always consider our first apartment, she helped me unpack what little things I had and we sat around telling stories, drinking and listening to records. Unpacking took a lot longer than it should have for these exact reasons. I knew what I wanted out of life in regards to her then, and I still know it now. I told her that day, almost two years ago to the day, that I wanted to provide for her. I wanted to make sure she was always taken care of. Like the OWTH lyric goes "You'll be safe as long as I'm alive". I still mean every word of it.
Another topic mentioned in this conversation was work and a career. I told her then that I could never see myself as a career kinda guy. At the time, I was happy clocking in eight hours a day to cut meat and then leaving. My ambition didn't really go beyond that. However, once we moved to Portland and the job I wound up with ended up consuming my entire livelihood and well-being, I changed my tune. I would rationalize that "This is my career. This is my future. This is what I will always do." It became all I could think about, and days off were spent worried sick and anxious about having to go back into work BECAUSE I FUCKING HATED IT, never realizing that the two are complete opposites.
Once I got out of the cesspool of a company that is Whole Foods, I got back to the beat that I had had with my job in Fort Wayne. It made me realize what sort of pace I had been missing for so long. I was able to clear my head, shake away the disgusting habits I had had while working at WFM. With this sort of clarity, I realized that I was happy cutting meat. The physical toll and the actual workload of literally cutting meat all day is still kind of fun. Its almost like an art form.
But, as Steinbeck said, big changes continue to stew until they boil over. If he didn't say it with those exact words, I'm claiming it as my own. I've reached the point where I can still see myself working a career, so long as it doesn't black out any glimmer of happiness in my personal and social life. However, meat-cutting as a career holds absolutely zero interest to me anymore. I want a different career, a different set of tools, a different set of rules. Something completely removed from serving shithead customers.
In an email I received from Sean Carswell the other day, he mentioned that when we he was working as a carpenter in Florida, he and the other guys he was working with (and, hell, the entire institution of Florida carpentry) revolved around people building houses that they could never afford. That's why he got out of it. It made me realize that I'm almost in the same boat. I'm cutting meat and selling customers items that I could never dream of affording. Hell, I had a customer today buy a beef tenderloin steak ($21.99/lb.) for her fucking two-year old. My jaw dropped. When I was a kid, Hamburger Helper was a treat for us.
So, with change roiling and boiling and stewing within me, I feel that I am ready to be done with the meat and grocery industry. I'm ready for a new challenge. I am going to be a carpenter. I am going to get on-the-job training as an apprentice and eventually go back to school and get a degree. I feel that not only will it be more satisfying, but it will be a lot more inspiring and fulfilling than what I do now. I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but this is something that I am really looking forward to.