I had a bit of an epiphany the other day. Here we are, four months into the new year. I am still utilizing my health insurance to finally get my health problems taken care of. Most of the time has simply been waiting around, killing time. I am not any closer to getting into carpentry than I was on New Year's Eve. This has weighed a bit heavy on my mind, so a rational assessment of the situation was necessary.
The initial draw into carpentry was the manual labor aspect of it. I like being blue collar, (almost literally) breaking my back for a paycheck. The appeal that carpentry had was that I would have that physical aspect of it, all the while retaining an air of creativity. I would be able to sweat while building something out of raw materials. I could almost visualize it. Sweating through a tshirt, wearing a workbelt, nails in mouth. Sean Carswell and Chuck Ragan were definitely an influence on this way of thought. However, I have realized some critical points of this foray into a new career.
Beginning a new career, I would be starting from the bottom. I'd be the low man on the totem pole. I would be someone's (for lack of a better word) bitch. Along with that comes the fact that being in that position would not allow me to have much say as far as workload and scheduling goes. To further my career as a carpenter, I'd have to take a lot of shit. And I couldn't complain without looking like a spoiled fucking brat.
I like the fact that my hard work and dedication to the meat business allows me to have the shifts that begin early in the morning and leave before the afternoon is in full swing. It's a rite of passage in a sense. I am too stubborn to give that up. I would rather tough out working in meat for the time being than allowing myself to possibly fall into a shit schedule of late nights.
I've been in the meat business for almost a decade now. I am not willing to put another decade of my life into a different career that, ultimately, is not what I want to do with the rest of my life. I can't visualize myself being a carpenter while trying to uphold the rest of my ideals. Certain aspects of my life that I am truly passionate about would, out of necessity, have to be tossed aside or forgotten entirely. That is not something I can ever see myself giving up.
The things I am passionate about are not necessarily career-driven endeavors. I write and cook, I am a voracious reader most of the time (with the exception of the last couple months). I have more faith in independent music than I do the human race most of the time. Being creative and doubly creating my own projects is kind of the means to the end. These are what I want (and need) to focus on.
There is a difference between a career and a full-time job. I told Robin this years ago and I know I took it back in a previous blog entry about carpentry. But, it seems like I am back at the same train of thought. I do not see myself as a career man. Yes, the security of a well-paying, full-time job is important. At the end of the day, it's a necessity for this day and age. However, a career can be removed from that equation. Something that pays the bills on a consistent basis doesn't have to be the be all end all of your work life.
So, it's got me thinking. I don't want to be a career writer, but I want to continuously write my blog and publish my zines. I can achieve a decent amount of success on that front without it being a strain because it's my "job". There are several avenues where I could write for a paycheck, but I don't foresee it becoming a full-time gig. Along with writing, the entire field of independent publishing is something I could get involved with as well. I would love to be the catalyst for some one getting published. Inspiring others through my writing has been very rewarding, and I don't plan on quitting any time soon.
Music has always been a huge part of my life, too. Back in the day, I taught myself how to the play drums. I ended up becoming quite the proficient drummer. So it goes some times, I wound up selling my drums to pay for a car. They had been gathering dust for a while and I saw no future with continuing to play. It was something I was sad to let go of, but at the time it was a necessity. Lately, though, I have found myself yearning for drumming. Maybe it's because of the ridiculous amount of shows I've been to in the last couple years. Maybe it's the fact that I'm close friends with someone in a band. There are plans to jam with Mike. He's a drummer by nature, but he's quite a good guitarist/vocalist, too. Hopefully something can come out of it and perhaps we'll start a band (that Robin can join, too). Playing music on the side sounds like a very rewarding experience.
Coupled with independent publication and playing drums, working for a DIY record label or an independent record store is something that I would love to do. There is a different dynamic between doing a career job and slaving away and working late into the night and exhausting myself doing distro for a store/label. Suppose I had to work until midnight packaging orders to be mailed out, I don't think that would stress me out or put me in a bad mood. It would simply be a different beat I would be pounding, something that ultimately I actually gave a shit about. You couldn't be in a bad mood working those hours while sharing good music to working class people like myself.
Another avenue for me to pursue without the stigma of a career is owning and operating my own bar. As long as I've been in the service industry, I'd like to think I know a lot of the ins and outs of inventory, pricing, etc. I know what people want, I know what people are willing to pay for. I realize that you do have to pander slightly to your customers, but you can still uphold all the ideals that you yourself hold so dear. I've spent countless hours in bar kitchens, fast food restaurants and pizza shops. I've spent even more time drinking in bars, eating out and cooking at home. Running a bar is a lot like bitching about your local music scene. If you don't like it and can't find what you're looking for, then start your own fucking band. Play the music YOU want to hear. If a bar doesn't have a Galaga machine or Old Style on tap, then you're put in the position to make it happen for yourself. To quote Field of Dreams, "if you build it, they will come."
Robin has been a catalyst for me as well. She's always supported my lofty aspirations, regardless of how impractical they may have been (or still are). Her encouragement for me to go back to school is finally not falling on deaf ears. Up until VERY recently, I swore I would never go back to school. Now, I am thinking about eventually doing so. Finishing an English major would be fantastic. Getting a degree in Communications or Business would be conducive to snagging a job with a distro or record store or owning my own bar. When I was younger, I always felt the draw towards a film degree. Even as a kid in grade school, I was part of the team that would direct and film live news feeds for our school. One of the reasons I went into the English program at IPFW was because they didn't offer hardly any field of study for Film. PSU offers an entire Film program (major or minor) and that is something worth looking into.
As you can tell, readers, there's quite a bit bouncing around my brain right now. Through research, work and thought, I will eventually get all of this figured out. If any one has any advice, opinions or thoughts, feel free to let me know. I am an open book. I visualize a future where I can be creative and pursue the things I am most passionate about.