Dilemma

Work has always been something I struggle with. I’ve never been happy at a job for long. Work is important to me and as a result I have always found it important to be happy doing it. So I’ve had many jobs at this point in search of the right fit. I’ve also struggled with the fact that I have never figured out exactly what it is I want to do. I believe I can do anything my heart desires, or I can at least TRY to do anything. So if I believe in myself that much, my abilities and my motivation, then why can’t I figure it out?

Cut to today, I’m settled into this job now with the City. I’m permanent which gives me the opportunity to become a Union member. It’s an admin role which isn’t exciting but it’s easy. The pay is decent. The hours are what I need. Plus, it’s around the corner from my house. Stability is dialed in at this point which is a HUGE asset in my eyes and something I’ve been looking for in my search.

But guess what? I’m not happy.

Let me be honest about something. While maintaining the infrastructure of the city is one of the most important (and grossly under appreciated) jobs one could have, it is not something I am passionate about. I mean, I’m finding it interesting right now because it is so out of my wheelhouse and foreign that I’m learning a lot but nothing that I learn along the way will create passion for me. I knew that out of the gate!

Things are improving now that I’ve been asked to go full time but the majority of my time up to this point I have not been used to my full potential. It’s important for me to feel like a necessary member of the staff (isn’t it for everyone?) and even with things on the up, I often feel in the dark and minuscule. This, in turn, has often left me thinking about why I am taking time away from my life when I so frequently leave the day going, well that was a waste of my time! Part of me is also torn thinking, if they want to pay you to do nothing than take advantage! I’m just not that type of person at the end of the day. I am here to help. I am here to contribute. Hopefully this piece keeps improving as my hours increase.

The part that has been tugging at me the most is that the work environment isn’t progressive. When I worked at the nonprofit agency I grew a lot in relation to nondiscrimination. I worked there for 3 years and there was annual requirements for training opportunities that included Equity & Inclusion and Pronouns, for example. Keep in mind the type of work being done there had so much to do with that. What I’m doing now is shockingly different. But I enjoyed the challenge of growing in that way. It is important to me, especially as a parent, to consider everyone’s color and everyone’s lifestyle as I go about my day. As I speak, as I make decisions of my own. To be thoughtful and live with intention. My workplace now isn’t making efforts to be anti racist or inclusive without obvious judgement. When I say this I am referring strictly to the everyday conversations that go on in my particular department. I don’t want to give specifics because it is my current place of employment, my livelihood but it bothers me deeply that I’m in a situation now that feels like a cultural regression.

It’s disappointing to be in another work predicament where I’m not only unhappy because I’m not being challenged intellectually, but I’m morally being tested. I also feel like because I’m in my mid to late 30s now and should have my shit together.

I need to put some serious thought into this.

Positive:

I know that I’m happier (happiest, possibly) doing non profit-type work. Helping those who need help. I came to live in the PDX area for an opportunity to do this.

Negative:

That is a bad choice of employment if I’m looking to make money without a major degree to back me up. It’s also a LOT of work for a small amount of money.

Positive:

I’ve always wanted the stability of a substantial retirement fund and benefits that I can afford that will actually take care of my health. And who doesn’t want to work city hours and holidays?


I was hoping the city job would be somewhere I could settle down. Maybe it’s just this department. Maybe it’s just this city at a snuggly population of 12,000. Too small town mentality? There aren’t a lot of other departments to choose from and not a lot of positions overall. You know, now that I’m in as a permanent employee, I can transfer to any Government agency within the country and keep all the perks. Not that I want to leave Oregon. Maybe I’d find something more fulfilling within the city of Portland? But then I’d have to deal with traffic and that alone makes me think, never mind! I can walk to work right now! The County offers Mental Health services. Maybe I need to keep my eye on that?

Is there a way I can have it all?

I don’t know. There’s always a compromise, I suppose. Fortunately, this dilemma isn’t one that needs to be decided upon immediately.

Unidentified Emotions in an Uncertain Time

My duplex neighbors moved out today. They popped over to say their goodbyes which was sweet. I’m thankful they did that. We watched them pull away.

I keep thinking about them and feel a sense of sadness. I’m surprised by how I feel about it. I feel more about it, in general, than I ever imagined I would be, that’s for sure! We weren’t very close. We never hung out really. We’d visit, though. We were friendly with one another. We’d keep in touch. They lived next door for maybe 3 years and had a daughter during that time. My husband and I would joke that the elephant was awake because you could hear her running around the house from the second she woke up to the second she went to sleep.

Anyway, as I said, I’m surprised by my feelings so I started to think about why I care so much. It seems odd to me considering the very minimal relationship we have with one another. Maybe if I write it out I’ll be able to process it. I think there is an unnecessary depth to many of my emotions. Follow along as I analyze:

I’ve noticed that since I’ve been home full time with my son, I take comfort in knowing what’s going on in the neighborhood. I don’t live in the nicest area but it’s quiet overall and I generally feel safe <knock on wood.> I notice when someone is gone longer than a work day, for example. I feel a tiny amount of unease until everything is back to normal. I like when, as far as I can tell, everyone is home. The energy of the neighborhood stabilizes. It’s weird, I know, you can say it! So I think my immediate neighbors moving out is making my comfort level, the energy, unstable. Who is going to move in next? Most of us have rented in our life and have experienced shitty neighbors. Now that I have Lincoln I only want safety and security for him… and for my family. If you’ve read my blog, you know that I don’t have a lot of support in my life. A lot of me feels like that is why I appreciate when my neighborhood is as it should be. I don’t know if that correlation makes sense to you but in my head it makes sense. Stability within my immediate surrounding comforts me because I don’t have stable relationships? When I write it out like that it doesn’t make sense. I don’t know…

This fact also gives me a sense of hope about new neighbors. What if the next neighbors are the people my husband and I have been waiting to meet all this time? Like, our people that we have all these things in common with and they have kids and they’re of similar age and… you know what I mean? It could happen, right? Nick and I are generally very social so we find it unfortunate that we haven’t gotten close to anyone in the almost 5 years in Portland. Maybe it’s our time! Well, please pray for us that this will happen. We deserve to have some people! This leads me to my next thought.

Our neighbors are now the second to have lived there since we’ve moved in, who have bought a house. This pandemic has me stressed about many things but renting and being at the mercy of someone else’s control as far as the roof over my head is far from ideal. Maybe we should buy a house too? I’ve said time and time again, “I’m never moving again unless it’s into my own house!” Then whatever happens and there I am renting again. So that is something I’ll look into. There are many things I need to inquire about to find out if that is a step we can even take but what a fun (albeit stressful) journey that could be for us! Anything to welcome more stability is worth it to me. How bittersweet would It be if ALL of these things worked out (unlikely) and I had my new friend crew living next door to me finally and then I moved away. I like this area though so ideally we wouldn’t move very far. I digress, this is all fantasy anyway.

Speaking of the pandemic. What a bizarre time we’re living through, right? We’re like a month and a half in of isolation and I don’t see life going back to normal anytime soon… or ever for that matter. I don’t know that anything will ever be the way it was before. I’m sure it also has something to do with how I’m feeling about my neighbors. It’s just another thing on top of a pile of things. Can life just be predictable and constant and sunshiny and sparkly for a minute, please?

Oh, one more thought occurred to me regarding this. Wow, I’ve been really triggered, huh? How many times have you worked somewhere and connected with someone, or people, and then never spoke to them again after you, or they, left that place of employment? I think every job I have had I’ve made some great connections that I was so thankful for. They got me through! Very few of those connections do I still speak to. None that I can think of do I speak to on the regular. Some I will check in on for the rest of my life. My point is that it is so unfortunate that this happens. It’s a chapter in your life, that job, that is made up of all kinds of memories and the people that helped create it are left behind. This is like that. These neighbors have become part of my every day, inadvertently. They decide to move and it’s out of my control. I will most likely never see them again.

I guess that’s what social media is for… we can forever keep in touch without actually keeping in touch?

A new chapter starts.

My Hunt to Success

I have been wanting to write about the theory of success. I find it interesting because it is a topic that means something so different depending on who you are as an individual. I wonder, though, if it all comes back to the same meaning, in some form.

The meaning I’m referring to is career and money. The career piece has been such a focus for my happiness. The money piece has been an unfortunate accessory. Explore this with me:
the-cs-to-success

Growing up in a smaller town, the gap between who has money and who doesn’t is much less than the gap here in Portland, for example. This has to do with the population, the cost of living, etc. It is incomparable, really. Money went a long way in Coeur d’Alene, ID! Financial stress doesn’t equal the same there as it does here. We had food stamps and state financial support when I was young and living with my mom. It provided everything we needed without child support money coming in and her working as a bartender. I started working when I was 15 or 16 so I could have, and do, more things. Crank that up Ten-fold in Portland, with no end in sight! Regardless of the finances we had during my upbringing, I always felt the culture in my town was that you were expected to find a steady job that you could commit to, get married, buy a house and have children. That was considered being successful. Easily satisfied in my eyes. Many people I know are living their best life within this culture.


I’ve always searched far and beyond for something more. Searching for a meaning, my purpose, whatever that is. I’m still looking, and probably always will be.


One thing I’ve learned along the way is that I’m not scared to work hard for my money, and it is very essential to living my most successful life. My journey has been about not settling for less. If I find a job making decent money where I feel fulfilled about the work I am doing, that is my starting point to success. From there, the rest will work out. This is the hardest part, and I haven’t wanted anything holding me back from finding this, therefore forcing me to settle with a life I don’t truly want.


I’m the only member of my family, at this point, to graduate from college. I did so while working full time. An unfortunate thing about this is that because I had to support myself while obtaining my Bachelor’s degree, and chose not to live off student loans, I didn’t get to fully experience college. I studied online in my hometown. Although I was successful, I think if I would have had the opportunity to be on campus I could have worked an internship, or had exposure to some experiences that I missed out on as a result. Now I’m 8 years post graduation and I feel like I never really figured out what I want to do with my life. I currently work at a large non-profit and I think I’m getting closer to where I want to be, but I’m still not there yet. I always hear the voice of my mom from a time right after I graduated high school when I was talking to her about being unsure of what I wanted to do. She told me how weird that was… to not have a focus. I thought at the time, and still think to this day, that it is absolutely not weird to be unsure of what you want to do out of high school. I’m starting to believe she was right at this stage in my life though. Why can’t I figure out what I want to spend my life doing? This is one situation where I sometimes think about the opportunities I could’ve had if there was a little more money to rely on. Maybe it wouldn’t have changed the situation at all.


When I first started in community college, fresh out of high school, I was still a bit more traditional in my thoughts on where I would be in the near future. I thought I would be married and have kids by my mid-to-late twenties. I wanted FIVE! I enjoyed college. I enjoy learning. I was lucky in love, young. Thank Goodness! Once I was settled in love, looking back, it seems like the financial part has been a big struggle for us, together as a unit, and a common focus for how we envision our future. We never had a wedding because we didn’t have the funds to do what we wanted. So we eloped! Then went to Hawaii. Kids became something that neither of us even knew if we wanted together. We longed to be able to provide a better life than we had, as most people do. It takes so long to save up money that it never seemed realistic. We’ve moved around a bit in search of jobs making better money than the one prior. We eventually dropped everything and moved to the Portland area without jobs or a place to live, knowing that it would be our best shot at success, career-wise.

Drone___72DPI
The longer life goes on, the more I’m learning that it doesn’t matter what I’ve done up to this point because I’m still fighting for the same thing! Now kids are sounding more attractive despite not knowing how things are going to turn out financially for us. Maybe finding a steady job isn’t the worst thing in the world. Stability and comfortability. I wonder if I have gotten so used to searching that I don’t even know when to stop. I just want to be happy and that is actually the most successful thing anyone can do, isn’t it? Searching for something that I can’t put my finger on is starting to not really make sense. It feels like a fight, actually, which is a feeling that I am all to familiar with. Maybe this content, settling idea sounds awful because I have NEVER experienced it. Will I still be able to do all the things I hope to do someday? Will I be able to provide a better life for my kids than I was given? Maybe it’s time to find out!