Tuesday, July 31, 2007

it's good to have goals

Getting paid once a month puts a serious strain on a body, you know? Especially since I had lots of unexpecteds this month like car repairs, a gajillion doctor's appointments, prescriptions, etc., and because I had two dog-sitting gigs cancel. But, these things happen. I was hoping that I'd have saved $400 by the end of the month, but I actually ended up with $100 saved. I'm kind of disappointed, but really it's much better than I've ever done before. Normally I'd be out of money after the first week or two. This time I made it through the month, and actually had something to show at the end of it! That's progress. And, I have to remember that it's not all going to happen overnight, right? So, I'm trying to let go of the disappointment, and concentrate on the fact that this is probably the best I've ever done--and, that's despite the unexpecteds that came up (and, inevitably will).

So, I've mentioned several times about getting my finances in order and trying to save money for something specific. And, I've talked to several of you, dear readers, about my goal, but haven't discussed it in this forum. But, I think it's time. I think that saying it aloud (er, typing it aloud?) will help me keep my eyes on the prize.

So, here goes. I've long struggled with what I've wanted to be when I grow up. And, for the past, like, eight years (ugh) I've been an admin-type. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, and it's a living (albeit a meager one), but it's certainly not my life's dream. But, the problem has been that I just didn't know what my life's dream was. I'm interested in lots of things. I think I'm fairly smart, and pretty motivated when I'm involved in something I care about. I've gone back to school a few times, but never finished a degree. I've been embarrassed about admitting what I do for a living. I've longed to do something that not only provided me with a decent living, but also was a conduit for creativity and passion. And, again, I just wasn't quite sure what that was. I dream of being a socio-political essayist, a zoologist, a political activist and organizer, a nature photographer, a novelist, a movie reviewer, a restaurant reviewer, an actor, a therapist, a professor...basically something real, you know?

And then, and then, and then? And then I started getting really interested in food and nutrition and agriculture and cooking, and a few months ago I had a friend over for dinner, and she asked if I'd ever consider possibly doing some personal chef stuff for her. And, I did consider it. I started considering it then, and I haven't stopped. I know that I'm not really interested in opening a restaurant, but the idea of going into someone's home and really discovering what their needs are and creating delicious and nutritious food for them sounds amazing. And, so I started talking to people about it, and discovered that a friend had started doing just this thing in NYC, and that another friend was going to start doing it in York, PA. And, my mind was whirring with possibilities. And, so I started talking details, and thinking about how I could best do this--without a culinary degree, but with a lot of passion and a growing knowledge and ceaseless curiosity.

So, I started formulating a plan. And, then talked about it with my beach girls in June, and one of those girls, my dear, dear Dra, proposed an idea that I just fell in love with. She said that I should come to the Land of Plenty (aka California), and start up a small business doing exactly what I wanted to do--all vegetarian, organic, local, seasonal cooking for personal clients. And, I'd been thinking about heading West, but wasn't quite sure how I'd do that. Maggie suggested Portland, but I just kept thinking of and longing for the Bay Area and Northern CA, and 3000 miles is a long way to move to be kinda, sorta near where you want to be. But, it's expensive to move to the Bay Area, right? So, Dra made me an incredibly generous offer--I could stay in the "in law" apartment adjoining her house for about six months while I got on my feet in exchange for doing some cooking and some baby/dog sitting for her family. She even thinks she might be able to help me drum up some business.

So, with both elation and terror, I started making these plans. I started with, literally, no money, and that's why I went to see the financial counselor and have been working on saving money. I'm hoping that I'll have met my savings goal ($3500.00) and will be ready to set off by spring. I'm hoping March-April-May-ish. And, luckily, Dra and her family are being really supportive and flexible with the date. And, I opened up my mail on Saturday to find a t-shirt from Dra emblazoned with the statement: I HELLA LOVE OAKLAND. I can't wait for that to come true.

This is HUGE for me. I've been in Pittsburgh for almost ten years, I've floated along happy with my wonderful friends, but discontent, broke and aimless with regards to my career for, well, ever. But, I'm going to change my life. I'm going to live the dream.

So, I'm trying to do everything I can to generate some extra cash (dog sitting and some other projects I have in the works) and trying my darndest to save. It helps to have a big goal.

I'll miss my friends and the life I have in Pittsburgh--it's largely been a good ride, but I'm really ready for the next challenge. So, if you have any tips or words of wisdom or cash-paying gigs, let a sister know, alright?

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disclaimer: i have no idea who this woman is, but that's the shirt:
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Anonymous said...

live the dream, potato. live the dream.

A said...

You can totally do it.

Nat said...

Will queer life as we know it (at least in Pittsburgh) come to a grinding halt? Or a sluggish, stagnant crawl through the muck? *BIG SIGH* OK, OK, I know I should be supportive: be the dream, sister!

Ashley said...

Ohmygosh! That's AMAZING, Ehrrin! That sounds simply phenomenal. Go you.