A couple of days ago I quit my apprenticeship. It was hard; I had poured so much of myself into it in the last seven months. Too much, in fact. Instead of enhancing our lives by providing a steady income it obliterated every other facet of my life. No rides with Leif, no painting, no writing (you probably noticed that) and no contact with friends.
For the first months I accepted this as normal. Basically giving my life over to another person or corporation and accepting their value of my time and talents is the very bedrock of the “steady job” as I experienced it in Minnesota. In exchange for X amount of dollars I willingly chained myself to a desk, accepted someone else's evaluation of my skills and personality and took time off only when it was approved. I wasn't surprised by it or bothered so much because, as I understood it, this was just the way things worked. This apprenticeship started the same way, which six years ago wouldn't have made me blink.
The difference is that I'm not in Minnesota anymore. I moved 4755 miles to create and experience a different kind of lifestyle. It was happening: I was training to be a cycle tour guide and learning how to help Leif manage the business better so we could live life on our own terms. I was seduced by the money and didn't anticipate the total destruction of the life I'd worked so hard to create.
No. I'm not being dramatic. I ate, drank and slept cake. For a time my sense of self was centered around this job and the unfortunate part is that I did it for free. I bought into someone else's dream for potential income and security. And then I began to accept someone else's valuation of my skills and personality. (that's right, my personality apparently needed work too) I think you can guess how things went. We can never live up to the expectations of someone else and that ate at me so much that I started losing weight, losing my hair and losing sleep.
At first I thought it was my fault, which only made matters worse. Then one day I sat myself down and thought hard...not about how I could do the job better, be a different person, whatever....but if what the job was expecting was realistic. If it fit into the lifestyle I had been working towards pre-cake making. The answer was no, and the relief that I felt when I recognized that was physical.
I didn't move 4755 miles from everything I knew and everyone I loved to have the same life I had in Minnesota. I moved here not just to live differently, but to be different. I don't want to live my life at top speed desperately trying to fulfill some one else's expectations at rock bottom prices. If I must work for a dream then by all means it should be my own. And so I'll go back to my bike riding, painting, writing, nap taking (I did miss those...), spending time with Leif and friends kind of life.
And so next week I start working for myself again. It feels good.