Indecision . . . questioning . . . what is the “most good?”

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Image from pixabay.com 

Hi everyone!!

In case you didn’t know, I was out of town for about 11 days, from March 1st to the 11th.  Went to Boston for my dad’s memorial on March 3, and then went to Florida for a conference and to spend some time there on my own.  Since returning home, I’ve been pretty busy!!

Florida:

I LOVED Florida!! I met a lot of really nice people (one guy even gave me a big piece of finger coral which I now have sitting on my desk to remind me of my time there.)  I visited two animal sanctuaries while I was there and individual  posts will be forthcoming about those.  One was Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary in Punta Gorda, Florida (Gulf Coast side), and the other was Journey’s End Animal Sanctuary in Deland, Florida (Atlantic Coast side).  I met friends in Sarasota who I first met online via Twitter so many years ago! They were super supportive to me during my going through a divorce, so it was so nice to finally meet them and give them big hugs, and meet their kids and their dogs.

Always value the friends you make online.  For me, I think I have made some lifelong friendships that way.

I also went to a humane education conference, which was enlightening for me.  Many of the traditional humane education positions include working at an animal shelter, and with groups of kids, running things like camps and birthday parties.  I think I’ve been pretty honest on here before about my wanting to work with kids, as in, not so much.  So I need to rethink what I want to do with my humane education part of my life, going forward.  There are so many ways to use a humane education background so I’m not worried that it won’t get put to good use.

Indecision:

Many of you know I took a HUGE pay cut when I left Harvard Law Library.  HUGE.  60K HUGE. In addition to taking that cut, I can no longer put as much into retirement (of course, I no longer will need as much since my priorities as to what I need to be comfortable have changed). I also get much less time off, and the health benefits through my current company are not great.

I’ve been struggling with the notion of discontinuing the formal schooling of humane education and trying to get positions just based on what I already know and my background of experiences.  I’ve been told by a few people that I don’t need to do anymore school.  So, most likely, this semester is my last.

No education is ever wasted.  I have learned so much during these past two semesters, especially regarding how I communicate about certain issues, and my word choices.   My teachers have asked us to respond to tough questions, and they are so supportive.  I wish I had had them earlier on in my life, because I think my career path would have taken a much different path.  But….you can’t change or shape the past, only your future, so onward and forward!!

You can’t change or shape the past, only your future, so onward and forward!

Determining “most good”

I’ve been struggling with the idea of how I can do the most good for animals.  Is it by working with them directly?  Or by working at a job that  pays more but might not be necessarily working with them in a hands-on manner, or with an organization specifically dedicated to improving the rights and lives of animals?  I know, only I can know the answer to these questions.

I have seen law library jobs posted (including one at my former employer, Harvard) which I know I am qualified for.  Obviously, they pay more than one that has me working directly with animals.  Working at a job like that again would help to engage the intellectual part of my brain during those hours when I am working for my paycheck and can make a positive impact on my bank account balance.  I could help to donate more  money to causes about which I care.  All of those details are positives.

I think you know when you are doing the “most good” when you are excited to do something every day.  A lot of people say that you don’t have to change the world for all animals, as long as you change the world of a few.  Well, I think I’ve done that for some, but I also don’t feel like I’m way near the completion of improving the lives of many, many animals.

Quandaries:

There is this difficult psychological hurdle to get over when considering returning to a former type of career.  While I know that all life experiences are learning opportunities, a small part of me thinks that by returning to such a life, I’m giving up on my dreams.  Admitting defeat.

The rational side of my brain knows that if I were to go back to being a librarian, I’m not giving up on my dreams.  I’m just making a trade-off.  I might be able to help a larger number of animals if I can donate more, financially, to the cause of animal welfare.  And I will still be able to volunteer on my days off.

But, will I be happy?  Read on, below. 🙂

Trusting my Intuition and Making Decisions:

I have spent some time talking to good friends and a trusted teacher.  She asked me a question that really helped me think.  She told me to imagine that I had interviewed for my old job, gotten it, and was getting ready to return to Boston.  How did I feel?

I hesitated for a bit.  My intuition knew the answer.  My brain just felt hesitant in saying it.  But once I said my answer aloud, it was like I was giving myself permission to say good bye to a portion of my life.  The answer was “I feel like I have a pit in my stomach.  That’s how it makes me feel.”

I also told my professor that as I see jobs listed for animal sanctuaries or shelters, I get excited about applying and the possibilities that are out there for me to explore.  And that tells me something about myself.  I just can’t go back to a job that I once held, without knowing I have exhausted all avenues of finding the right place for me, first. Does that make any sense?

The long and short of it is that I will never be  a rich person, not in the monetary sense.  And I think I have finally made peace with that.  I just spent the past 6 1/2 hours today volunteering at a spay and neuter clinic along with so many other people who had given up their free time to provide a much-needed service in New Mexico and so many other places. It felt amazing.

You know something else?  I didn’t feel like what I did today at the spay and neuter clinic was work.  The time flew.  To me, that’s how I know I was doing what I needed to be doing and what I am meant to be doing.

I didn’t want to leave but knew I had to, as I have homework and freelance work to do today, and maybe get a visit in at the gym or a run at the Bosque.  (I’ve begun work with another transcription company as a legal transcriptionist.  It’s a small company, which I like.  The CEO even called me last week to welcome me aboard as a contractor and in his words, to collaborate on projects.)  I like that when I am working on a new transcription project, I’m always learning about a new topic.

Looking forward:

I have an interview this week via Skype for a position I think I am well suited for, and for an organization that is rapidly growing, so I like the idea of the potential growth something like that can include.  I’m not one of those people who needs to feel like they are always moving upward in a job to feel like they are successful.  But I do like the idea of being able to contribute a lot.  So WISH ME LUCK!  (And if it doesn’t come through, then I know the right place and job is still out there, waiting.  The right place is out there.   I just have to have hope that we will find each other.)

And thanks for reading as always, and being patient these past few weeks since I last posted.  Now that I am back in ABQ, for now, anyway, I will try to get back on track with more regular posting.

Have you ever had to make a decision between taking the safe route or finding your way to a destination unknown? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decisions, and other words that start with D

I started writing this post about a month or so ago. It’s funny how some blog posts seem to pour right out of me like a thunderstorm, and others are like so many of the storm clouds I see around where I’m living right now. They hang around and you think something’s going to happen, and you get excited thinking about it all day long (that is, if you like storms like I do), and then at the end of the day, nothing, nada, zip. Just a bunch of dark clouds.

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Dark clouds like this are common during monsoon season.

So… I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. About what I really value in life and what I think is wrong now and what can be fixed, etc.  I think for a bit there, I was fighting a relapse into depression.  I was avoiding going to see a doctor because I was worried the visit would cost me several hundred dollars since I have a $750 deductible with my insurance plan. I’d been rationing my prozac supply so it could last as long as possible. But the 20 mg is just not enough, I know that now. I was beginning to feel more like when I was first officially diagnosed, right after my husband and I split. It was not as severe, but it definitely didn’t feel right, or good. So I started taking 40 mg.

I also decided to go to a nurse practitioner, thinking the office visit would be less than seeing the doc in charge. I also asked for a new prescription for Wellbutrin. Using the two in combination worked for me in the past. I remembered how I used to feel confident about myself, and even happy.  It’s been a few weeks now since I’ve been on the 40 mg and the wellbutrin, and the combo seems to be working well. A few days ago, on a drive home from Flagstaff with a friend, I looked out the window at the nighttime landscape and remembered, “this is what it used to feel like. When I was confident and felt at peace about stuff.” It’s just that it’s different now. Now I’m living that part of my life I was only thinking about doing, then. 

If you’ve never experienced clinical depression, you might wonder how I knew. What were the warning signs? Well, I knew I was relapsing because I’d been starting to feel stressed about one item, and then my mind would let loose and start stressing about other things. It would start what I can only describe as a spiraling effect. Anti-depressants like Prozac help in that they help your mind to take a moment to say “wait, stop, think about what is really going here…think logically, not emotionally.”  The Wellbutrin works with another part of your brain, because sometimes Prozac, in helping you to calm down and think, can also make you feel kind of blah. (At least for some people.) So Wellbutrin helps to counteract that. You can feel more pleasure in your life. It’s not a happy pill, though. You still have to do the work on yourself. I was also finding that I wanted to just go to sleep at night, or I was having problems getting up in the morning. The idea of working out in the am just sounded exhausting. I didn’t see any point in doing anything.

So that is one decision I made. I acknowledged what was going on with me, inside, and decided to do something about it.

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I try to enjoy this view as much as possible. There is an overlook at my apt complex – that’s the southern end of Lake Powell below.

Debt. Well, yes, I have it again. A credit card balance. I did have two – I decided to take some money out of savings and pay off one of them – the one that was accruing interest. And that credit card has gone into the freezer. It is encased in a HUGE block of ice in a mason jar. The other card has a zero percent interest rate for 21 months, so now it’s time to chip away at it. I’ve also put a savings thermometer on my wall so I can track my progress. It’s posted right near the door so I see it everytime I leave for work.

Other decisions have not been so cut and dry and not so much set in stone. Yes, I know I want to leave this area by the time my lease is up, if not before. But as to where I’m going, thas been in flux. When I first started writing this post, I had decided, “that’s it, I’m moving back east.” I was so decided that I even posted about it on facebook. Because, you see, that’s how I hold myself accountable (usually.) I put it out there and then feel like I have to follow through with it. But here’s the thing. That’s the kind of thinking that got me into a lot of trouble with certain decisions in my life. The idea that because I had started law school, I had to finish it, no matter  how miserable it made me. The idea that I needed to stick it out in my marriage when I was so unhappy, because that’s what was expected of me, and what I expected of myself, because that’s what you do. You stick things out and make them work. 

I’m realizing now in life, though, that things don’t have to be set in stone. Decisions can be made and decisions can be changed. I don’t have to have everything always figured out and planned ahead of time.  And just because I decide to change up on things doesn’t mean I am a quitter or a failure. I don’t know why I have always been so hard on myself. I just have.

I’m realizing maybe the southwest isn’t so bad after all – maybe it’s just the location where I am now, or the fact that it’s such a small town and such an extremely different from where I spent so much of my life, that has made me feel like a fish out of water. I said to a friend recently, I feel like in this town, I’m just a visitor. I don’t feel like I really, and truly, belong here. So I’m going to try out other places in the southwest, even if it’s just with a few trips. I’m going to road trip to Albuquerque when the season is over (at least that’s the current plan) to check it out. It looks like a city where the cost of living is a lot less expensive, the food is amazing, the winters are a lot milder than back east, the city is surrounded by beautiful mountains, lots of running and hiking trails, there are universities and colleges (and therefore, more options for jobs should I go that route) and a lot of diversity. I know not everyone likes it there (Jen, are you reading this?!) but that doesn’t mean that I won’t.

I’ll be honest, folks. I am SICK and TIRED of living in expensive places where I spend so much time worrying and working to pay rent.  Yes, I know there will be shitty areas of town wherever I look, as there are shitty areas of town in any city in this country. As long as I can afford to not live in a horrible section, and feel safe when I sleep at night, I consider that a positive. In fact, I will look for the smallest place possible, because as you know, I don’t like a bunch of extra crap in my life. If I question getting something, I just ask myself, “Do I want to move this in the future?” That kind of question really helps you to prioritize possessions.

I’ve decided to get back into working out regularly. A friend and I individually used to work out 5-6 days per week, and neither one of us can stand how we feel. I’ve begun running again, and just the other day, bought myself some new Hoka One One Running Shoes (the Clayton model, to be exact.)  And I made sure I could afford them since I’ve worked so much overtime lately. I’m headed to the gym this morning to run on the treadmill a bit, and then do some weights. Tomorrow, I’ve been invited to go canyoneering which is exciting and terrifying at the same time since it involves rappeling and I do have a fear of heights. But I’ve pushed through that kind of fear before when I learned how to do top roping, and I remember the feeling of confidence it gave me afterward. I need to continue pushing myself out of my comfort zone. And I really do want to see other parts of this area where I live. It’s not safe to go hiking by yourself in the desert, which is why I’ve felt constrained and unhappy, not being able to do it before now. So, I’m glad to have the opportunity to do it tomorrow. If you see another blog post from me, you’ll know I’ve survived. 🙂

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I leave you with this pic of Max, one of the loves of my life. He’s a bit of a drama queen, as you can see from this photo. ❤

Anyway, again, sorry for the long delay in posts. I hope I haven’t worried some of you with my silence.

 

 

 

So many choices of RVs!!

There are just so many choices of RVs out there that at times I feel myself getting overwhelmed. Everyone tells me I’m in that exciting stage of things right now — the dreaming and research stage. And I agree, it’s definitely fun. But I seem to be changing my mind from month to month as to what I want. However, I think I have narrowed it down a bit by making one decision: I do NOT want to drive some huge, honking truck like a Yukon Denali or other. I just don’t feel comfortable driving such a large vehicle. Not to mention the gas that it would use on a daily basis. So…wanting to drive (at the largest end) a mid-size SUV like the Nissan xTerra helps me to narrow things down. (Very good if you are decision-impaired like me to have at least one decision sort of taken out of your own hands.)

A week and a half ago, I took a comp day from work so I could drive around to RV dealers. There is one RV dealer in all of New England who carries an expandable trailer called the Trail Manor, and they are on Cape Cod, about 90 minutes away from me. So that was the first place I went, thinking this could be the perfect solution for me. It’s lightweight (even the 2619 model has a dry weight of 2300 lbs), and doesn’t cause you to use more than one extra gallon per gas per 100 miles (or so they say.)  Because it’s an expandable trailer, you can have one that is 19-20 feet when rolled down, and 26 feet of living space when opened up. Great for me and all the furballs, right?? Well, maybe.

In a Trail Manor, I kind of feel like I’m camping. My friend, Dan, of WanderDano fame of YouTube, asked me if I thought that was a good thing or a bad thing, and I said both. At the same dealer, I checked out a more traditional travel trailer and was amazed at how much more permanent it felt. And I seemed to be drawn to that. Plus, there seemed to be a lot more storage, and many more electrical outlets. Granted, I’m not going to use every electrical appliance I own all at the same time, but unless I was missing something, I only counted four in the Trail Manor. The smallest model, the 2417, didn’t have a plug in the bathroom (what could they be thinking?) but the other models did. I’m a girl. I might need to have a plug in the bathroom, you know? 🙂 That, and I have to admit, storage is a big thing to me. From all that I have read, whatever storage you have in an RV, you never have enough. And, I honestly didn’t see a whole lot of storage capacity in the 2417. The larger models, the 2619 and 2720, I could picture maybe having enough room for all my stuff. (You have to remember, it’s not just my stuff, but that of the furballs I will be taking on this new life with me. For having such little bodies, the stuff you need to take care of them can really add up over time. Not that I am complaining, trust me, I’m not!)

So, the feeling of camping I mentioned? I like the idea of camping, but I also like the idea of permanence, even if it’s just what I am living in and carting around with me, at the same time. I thought about it, and I realized, my life is going to change in so many ways next year. I won’t have the same 9-5 job to go to every day. I won’t be living in this part of the country. If I do seasonal work, my surroundings are going to change every few months. And I’ve always needed a bit of security in my life. Ok, maybe more so than most.  That’s why the whole idea of changing my life is so exciting and at the same time, terrifying, to me.

The folks at the McD RV dealership were very nice and didn’t hover over me the whole time I was sitting in the RVs, trying to picture myself in them, long term. Not so much at the other places I went to. From there, it was on to Camping World of Berkeley,  where I was disappointed that most of the travel trailers were locked. Yep, I’m assuming that they, and most dealers, do this so you have to go ask a salesperson for help. And I didn’t want that that day – I just wanted to look inside, see the setups, see how stable or not-so-stable they felt as I stood in them. I was able to get into one trailer at Camping World, and really liked what I saw. Then I found out it was over 5000 pounds, dry-weight, so I high tailed it out of that one! No use falling in love with something you’re not gonna marry, right?

So my trip to Camping World took all of, oh, 25 minutes, and that included my trip to the ladies’ room upon arrival to change out of some of my layers. (The weather is fickle in New England, a day can start out cold and warm up like you wouldn’t believe, even at the end of September.)  I then went to a place called Campers Inn, where I was able to get into one, count it, one, travel trailer. And with my friend Dan’s help, I realized it was not even on their website, so I had no idea of how much it cost. Every single other trailer was locked, and even though some of the employees saw me, no one even bothered to ask if I wanted or  needed help. So, that was another quick visit.

I then went to Bradford RV, which was just a few miles down the road. Again, the same thing. Everything locked. Except that this time, the salesperson saw me try to open the door to an ultra-lite (by Forest River) and came out to greet me. He asked me a few questions, and some look that I can’t describe came over his face (albeit briefly) once he asked if my budget was under 10K, and I said yes. I think at this point, he thought he was being generous in showing me two different RVs, one a 16 foot model and one a 17 foot model, the cheapest of which was 12K, brand-new. He hovered the entire time, so I probably spent all of ten minutes there. He checked over the inventory of their other location to see if they had any used RVs in my price range, but no such luck.

At this point, it was somewhere around 3:30ish, so I decided to go to one more RV dealer before heading for home. My zipcar was due back at 7, and I needed to give myself a good buffer of time to get back to Boston with the rush hour traffic. (Yes, rush hour begins around 3:30 in these here parts, and yes, in case you are wondering, it does suck. Big time. Part of why I am looking to move from the big city!)

Finally, there was a dealer willing to talk to me as if I had a brain in my head, in Plainville, MA.  He spent a lot of time with me discussing hitches, amps, 12v batteries, etc.  (And when I wanted to take pics inside of a trailer, he said “you don’t need me in this picture, I’ll get out of your way!”) I went to this dealer because I knew they carried the R-Pod and I really wanted to see what they looked like on the inside. It’s one thing to see the pictures but another completely to see them in person. We talked for a while about them, and how I wanted a smaller travel trailer but that the R-Pod was definitely out of my price range.

So he showed me a 2000 Fleetwood Mallard 19N (click here for some stock photos of the same model) that was 19 feet long, and I really liked most of what I saw. It was a bit dated, but I expected that (designs on the mirrored front of the cabinets over the bed). It didn’t have a sink in the bathroom, which I admit, I want. I don’t like the idea of having to leave the bathroom to wash my hands in the kitchen sink, or to brush my teeth in the kitchen sink, all the time. That’s just me. But other than that, I liked it. And the price was right–$5,950, and they would be willing to store it for free for me until April. So…why didn’t I jump at it?? The weight. Its dry weight was already 3897 lbs, and with full tow capacity, the dealer estimated it would be about 5600 lbs. Meaning I’d need a vehicle with at least 6000 lbs towing capacity, and honestly, I’m not comfortable with having an engine working so hard. So, when push came to shove, and Dan helped me with my pro/con list and talking over my priorities (he let me come to all my own conclusions), I decided to not go for this one. The right one will come to me, he keeps assuring me. I believe him. I’ve just got to get better at the patience thing. As in, getting some….the only thing stopping me from going out and buying an RV right now, is: where do I put it?? 🙂

I have to admit…I’m really loving the idea of a molded fiberglass travel trailer like a Casita or a Scamp these days…yes, I know they are smaller, but they are lightweight, and there’s no unfolding to do, and they’re white on the inside (white is a big thing to me, I hate the look of all wood, especially dark wood.)  Whenever I sit inside of a travel trailer, I try to imagine where each of my animals would feel most comfortable, and where I would put the litterbox(es), so that I wouldn’t trip over them. My friend Dan suggested I take a bunch of stuffed animals with me and throw them all over the place to get an idea of what it would be like with all the furballs. He may just be onto something, LOL.

I have to admit, every time I go to look at RVs, it’s like another part of the dream is becoming real, slowly, oh, so slowly…I’m getting there…

I know that some of you out there are RVers, so I’d love to hear your thoughts (and even if you’re not RVers, please feel free to comment.)

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