When the physical therapist told me last Thursday that by the time I go in to follow up with him later today I would be feeling much, much better, I was dubious. Hell I was pretty dubious yesterday… I don’t know what that was about, but I am glad it was short lived.
So it would seem that I am in fact, on the mend. Things are still fuzzy and I would not try to run – or even jog at this point – never mind ride a bike or drive, but despite the involuntary swaying that I still experience, the world seems a bit more stable. I even managed to accompany the wife on a berry picking adventure in the hills last night.
So now begins the slow re-adjustment to life in a more or less normal world, and so far that is as halting as my steps as of last week. Having one’s perspective turned inside out and backwards puts a whole new spin on life… sorry about that, that was awful. This time last week I could barely walk unassisted, today I am supposed to try to accomplish work… as in for my job. And I thought I had a hard time taking that serious before.
My job. That is something I have hinted at numerous times in the past. I have also noted that I prefer to keep that world and this world separate, and I still think that is for the best. It is really tempting though, especially in my current state of mind. But I will be stern and resolute and talk rather, about jobs. No, not the dead guy.
I value having a job and many days I genuinely like the job that I have… not most, but many. That said there is a part of me that simply hates the idea that I have to have a job. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am all for work, work is a part of existence. All things must work, that is exert energy in some manner, in order to survive. But this thing we call “job” or “career”, kind of sucks in my opinion… or more properly it sucks that we kind of have to have a job. I know, sounds whiny, and I guess at the heart of it, it is. But again, while being independently wealthy and not having to have a job does seem reasonably attractive, that is not what I am getting at. With the staggering function of my brain at the moment, it may take some time for me to actually get at what I am trying to get at, pending that I ever get there at all… bear with me.
I used to do all sorts of work, as in I have had many different jobs; landscaper, fry cook, mechanic (well more mechanic’s assistant really), laborer, baker, lab technician, to name a few… and now, well, nevermind. Anyway, most of those were the result of me taking what came along in an effort to keep me moving on. I never really sought after a career. I never knew what I wanted to do… still don’t really. Problem is there are so many things to do. Yesterday a friend and fellow blogger wrote some good stuff (which she is often wont to do) about school and work and life (you can read that here). She talks about never having truly existed outside of school and trying to manage the reality of staring down graduation with no intention of continuing on in the immediate future. For her the world is wide open now… in a sense. But that can be daunting. School/work = structure and familiarity, and that can be a good thing. Kind of makes me twitch though.
Ugh, alright, this is already not really going where I intended. Part of the problem I guess is that I do not really even have a solid grasp on how I feel about this topic. When I was “working” for a living, that is slogging away at some sort of random job, making a paycheck, life was… well, yeah, you know. At some point I started feeling like I had exhausted the possibilities, or more likely my patience. I was wholly unsatisfied with the life I was living and decided to go a different direction… so I went to University. Actually that is not quite right. The first time I went “back to school” I enrolled in two classes at a Community College in San Luis Obispo, CA. Beginning drawing and Introduction to Philosophy. I actually really enjoyed it and was doing very well, but then got accepted for a job in Denali NP and my sister and I pulled anchor and headed north.
Years later I found myself here in the ‘banks unable to find consistent work and so opted to try school again… Introduction to Ski Mountaineering, Beginning Photography, French 1, and Tae Kwon Do… seeing a pattern yet? Clearly academia was not really in my sights, nor was a career. I liked the learning part, that was cool and exciting, but purpose and direction? Pshah, who needs that?
So, enter round three. An offhand comment by a friend while looking at some of my photos (something along the lines of “you could be a photojournalist”) got me thinking. I had left Alaska… again, only to be reassured that I did not like it, nor did I have much patience for “outside”. So back to the ‘banks, this time with the sole intention of “going to school”. I officially declared a major in Photojournalism. Still not academia per se. I bet you can guess what happens next.
So I had signed up for a Physical Geography class because, well, I liked the sound of it. I liked the idea and I wanted to learn more about it. The professor was AWFUL!!! A bit of research into the department, in an effort to take a different class produced the knowledge that there were only two professors in it and they had restraining orders out on each other. Perhaps not such a good environment for learning, but I HAD to get out of that class. Unfortunately we were already a few weeks into the semester and there was not much open. But…BUT, I found one that had a seat left. Cultural Anthropology. It was taught by the same Prof. who was teaching the Ancient Civilizations course I was taking and thoroughly enjoying (Photojournalism major remember). So I contacted her, got permission to join the course, and that night changed my major to Anthropology without ever having taken a single photojournalism course.
And the rest, as they say… oh good grief.
OK, so fast forward a bit, and now I have both a degree and a career… of sorts. I have thoroughly enjoyed most of the experiences I have had since that day back in 2005. There have been many great adventures, many rewarding experiences, many good times, but lately I keep getting this nagging feeling that it is, and has been, awfully self serving. There is something that has nagged at me for years about the value of doing this sort of work to the greater good. I am certainly a strong proponent of preserving history and culture. But somehow, much of the part I play in it of late seems soooooo pointless. It often seems too great a stretch for to me to say that what I do most of the time for my “job” positively serves the greater good in any meaningful way. I have lost faith in it… at least in my part in it. It serves mostly to provide me with a paycheck, and while that is useful, necessary, and greatly appreciated, it is far from inspiring.
Then there is the “you only get out of it what you put into it” mantra and while yes I understand and acknowledge that, I have such a hard time giving a hoot about any of it that I struggle to put much of anything into it. And this is what brought this whole business around just now. I am supposed to step back into that world after this past week’s adventures and I really could not care less just now. Alas.
Now don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that there are scientists of all sorts out there, doing great and beneficial work that serve largely to benefit the greater good… just not me. Not now. Part of that, a big part I expect, is directly tied to my loss of faith in the overall pursuit… at least in what I have in front of me. A report needs to be written about a project that got done because it happened to be funded. It was an interesting project and involves some interesting questions, but somehow I have a hard time caring about it. Hence, I have a hard time writing about it. Wah.
One of the things that made me wary of getting into photojournalism was the idea that if I was going to be successful I would likely have to work for a newspaper or magazine or something and that may very well entail interacting with people… you know, like interviewing them and such. Then I got into anthropology and got really interested in studying people things, but was again wary of the cultural aspect of it because, well, there were again likely to be people involved. So then archaeology seemed the next best thing and for awhile it was. Study people things without the people! Win! Thousands of broken rocks later I stopped caring and started to ask myself, “well, yes, but what about the people?” and you see, there is the rub. Scary with the people, boring without them.
So this current project has a healthy mix of both and I simply do not know what to do with it. But I am getting dangerously close to talking directly about my job here, which I said I was not going to do.
I had a thought last week sometime in the midst of my fuzzy, world spinning existence that related to all of this. I am interested in people I thought, they are curious things. I like history and anthropology, especially in investigating patterns of behavior. Perhaps I could look into sociology and just analyze statistics relating to how groups of people behave… but then I never really caught on to statistics either… *sigh*
I kind of just want to be a farmer now.