Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Friday, December 10, 2004


I'm done with worrying about what choices I do and don't have. After an hour with my therapist this week, I realized that it's all semantics, anyway. If I feel stuck, I have to unstick myself. And so I've spent the past few days considering options and setting goals. A pretty impressive number of goals, if I do say so myself. (And yes, before you ask, I do know that excessive goal-setting, especially when coupled with a possibly inflated sense of your ability to achieve said goals, is a sign of mania. Shut up.)

Here's the deal:

I think I could achieve the best-possible balance between goals and reality by trying to freelance once again. (I've done it twice before, so I know the downsides quite well.) It would let me be home with the kids, but still bring in a nice amount of cash, if things work out. When I would be in a position to actually do this is still up in the air. But having it as an ultimate goal for now, barring Baroy getting a six-figure job that's in a secure industry, seems the most realistic thing to do.

So, I need to start. And I think the first step I need to take is to figure out how much money I really need to make if I were on my own/freelancing to keep us afloat. How much would health insurance cost us, especially with my mental health issues, and N's medical history, filled with cardiologists, endocrinologists, x-ray series, pneumonia hospitalizations, failure to thrive diagnoses, and more? Will it be possible to even get us insured? Or will the whole concept that I can work towards working from home fall apart right there?

I need to figure out how much money I could bring in by freelancing. This would involve a conversation with my boss. She knows I'm unhappy, and I think--though I'd make no guarantees--that I could work a deal with her that would allow me to do an awful lot of work for her each year. I obviously can't have this conversation with her until I'm a lot further down the road, but on the other hand, I can't get too far down the road without having the conversation. So it's a little bit of a Catch 22. The good news is that she's a friend, and she understands me, and so I really could talk to her about it in the abstract without saying that I'm actually giving notice or that I'm planning on giving notice any time soon. I don't think it would hurt me to talk about it. I doubt it would help, but then again, you never know.

I need to figure out how much money I could save by not working in an office. You know, gas, lunch expenses, work clothes, that sort of thing. Plus, I need to figure out how much money I can cut from our budget and still be able to work freelance. Like, for instance, cutting out Em's twice-a-week aftercare, moving N to a near-by preschool program and maybe cutting him down to three days a week if I don't have that much work right off the bat, etc.

Of course, I also have to think about what I'd be losing, such as my killer 401K plan, and free college educations for my kids. That, right there, threatens to sink the whole ship. But that's what this is all about. Weighing options. Considering. I haven't decided to quit my job. I've just decided to stop whining about it and try and see if there's something I can do about it. And if I can't, well, then I can't. But at least I gave it a shot, right?

As part of all this, I also started thinking about what I want to be when I grow up. Yes, I know, I've made it pretty clear that I'm a writer, and that IS what I want to be. Which is a nice thing, all around, especially since I've developed an incredible network of people who can keep me busy if I eventually do decide to take this leap.

But I needed to be more specific. And the more I thought about it, the clearer it became. I want to write more books. And I want to do more writing of a personal nature. And so, toward that end, I did two things yesterday. I revisited that book-series proposal that's been languishing on my hard drive for a couple of months now, and I vowed to keep at it until it's ready to be sent to my eager-to-see-it agent. And then I started writing a book. A memoir of sorts. Its working title? Prey: The Story of a Stalking.

Now, if you're wondering, no, I have no delusions of grandeur here. I will work at it, as often as I can. And I will, if and when it's completed, send it to my agent. But I've made myself no promises about it, beyond that I'm going to give it a real shot. Because this is the kind of writing I want to be doing. This is the kind of writing I think I could be very good at. Tamar disagrees with me and my pronouncements that I'm not cut out to be a fiction writer, though I yearn to take a shot at a novel, but I think I have a pretty good idea of what my talents are, and what they aren't. And while I can write well, I can't create well. So this is my compromise. A self-indulgent compromise, to be sure. Putting effort into a book aimed at a market so overly saturated with similar offerings is not-quite-but-almost pure lunacy. Still, if it gets it out of my head and onto paper? If it works as catharsis and nothing else? I think I'll consider it a choice well made.

And so, there you have it. Perhaps my most mundane post to date. But it's a plan. It's not a 'pity me' whine. And it's not a 'beat on Baroy' request. It's just some thoughts about ways to get me from point a to point b at some point in the future. With my husband by my side, and with my family intact. Because without that, point b isn't worth diddly to me.

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