Wow. Where on earth did the last five months go? Yikes. My apologies, dear readers, for my extended absence.
When last I saw you I was leaving northern Wisconsin after a visit with my Dad. Something happened when I got home that apparently sent me into oblivion for months on end.
It’s been a really good summer for me – I hope it has been for you, too. I took up with a new beau (post-lovely logger man, who continues to contact me every once in a while. Damn that man! But this isn’t a blog about relationships…) The new beau took me outside of my comfort level and put me on the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. I’d never been on a motorcycle before. Once I stopped being terrified, I started really enjoying it! So most weekends will find me, hair whipping in the wind, holding on tight, and flying along the roads of western Montana. I even went to Sturgis! 😮
Unfortunately my garden suffered as a result of this new found freedom a-la motorcycle. I managed to salvage a few potatoes, a bunch of peppermint and some peppers. All else was lost.
C’est la vie. There are bigger things to worry about in life right now… which brings me to the point of this post:
Formulating a plan. A plan for the future.
I spent three weeks back up in Alaska, starting on Labor Day weekend through much of September. I lived out of an RV. I hiked in the snow. I contemplated applying for a job running a sled dog yard. I longingly looked out at the fall colors that had swept through the land and wished for a simpler life. I bought a two-volume set of Dick Proenneke’s writings, boarded a ferry and spent five days traveling by ship between Whittier, Alaska and Bellingham, Washington, reading, contemplating and wondering what I could *honestly* do different to begin the processes of making a life, not just accumulating a living.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. And a lot of thinking. And a lot of math. And a lot of writing (although, just in notebooks and not on this blog!).
It’s no secret that I’m extremely dissatisfied with my job. I often say that I never have regrets, only lessons learned. And boy, have I learned a lot of lessons since becoming director of this organization. So I’ve made up my mind to leave. I’ve been trolling the help wanted ads nearly daily and submitting resumes when something of interest shows itself. Missoula, unfortunately, doesn’t have a plethora of high paying jobs, so what that means is that I need to minimize my expenses and fit into the circumstances that are available to me right here. I like Missoula, and I’m not really looking to leave right now.
As much as I adore my little homestead on the ranch, it’s time to shore up my possessions, get rid of the clutter, and move back into town. I’m considering really shaking things up with the ultimate goal of no longer having to work for a company or an organization.
This is what I’m considering:
- Moving back into town, into the smallest, least expensive place I can find for me and Bella-Boo. This means I need to cull all of my possessions. I currently live in a 900+ square foot house on endless acres. But I’m considering finding a place half that size and starting to live my life on a more human level. Well, human and dog level. As it is, my lovely pastoral life puts me nearly 20 miles out of Missoula… It’s hard to simplify when you have to drive nearly 40 miles round trip to do or get anything in town.
- Selling Suby Snowflake. Between car payments, insurance, and the ever-increasing price of gas, I spend over $600 per month for the joy of having a car. The Subaru has got to go. Plus, it’s Debt. I’ve written in the past about my views on debt. I don’t like debt. It makes me very uncomfortable knowing that I owe anyone anything. I will get another vehicle (my dream truck: a old 1970s Ford pick-up, if God’s willing!) for when the need arises. But my thought process is to get back on the bike and use that as my main mode of transportation around town.
- Minimizing all expenses. Cutting my expenses down to the quick. As I mentioned, I’ve been doing a lot of math, among other things, lately. I don’t spend a lot on extraneous things. I don’t have a TV, so cable is a non-issue. I use minimal electric, so my bill is pretty darn low. But there are definitely things I can hone down. Including my phone/internet charges. Right now they’re $60/month. That’s $60 I probably don’t need to be spending. In town I can find alternative and cheaper ways to get online… I may also be eating my way through my food storage in the coming year. Partly to roll it over, partly to save room, partly to minimize my outlay of cash.
- Quitting my job. It’s become a source of great unhappiness for me. Stress. Bad attitude. Anger. It’s not worth the paycheck to feel this way. It’s funny how the more money I make, the more complicated my life becomes. I can’t live without a paycheck, but I’m hoping some of these other steps will help minimize my need for a big one. So for the time being I’m hoping to find a job a little lower on the totem pole. I’ve often said that my current position makes me be more professional, responsible and grown-up than I care to be. It’s quickly boring holes through my soul. Time to grab the bull by the horns and start taking control of my life again.
- Experimenting with alternative income streams. It’s my ultimate dream to not have to rely on anyone else for a paycheck. Never before have I considered trying to work for myself, but now I’m starting to wonder about it more and more. I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming (along with my reading, contemplating, math and writing), and I’m beginning to come up with some ideas about how to start doing this. The more I can do for myself, the less I have to rely on the traditional job market.
I had considered starting a new blog because I was concentrating less and less on formally ditching the grid. Not that I had lost that desire, I guess I just lost focus. But when the blocks started falling away recently, I realize more and more that all this contributes to that ultimate dream of living outside the normal “grid” of society. So rather than start over, I’ll be continuing the writing on this blog, and sharing my steps along the way.