Make Work

It would be a lot easier for me to get motivated and advance my farming dreams if I really hated my job. But, the truth is that I don't. I don't enjoy it by any stretch, but I don't dread going there and for all intents and purposes, it's a fairly pleasant environment. I do enjoy the sense of purpose that I get from having somewhere to go every day and doing things that other people see as helpful. I like putting my English degree to work while proofreading and editing. I like the people that I work with. But in the large spans of down time in which I have nothing to do, it is hard to keep my mind from wandering to the dangerous questions. What am I really doing here? What is my purpose? How is the fact that I spend nine hours here five days a week contributing to or advancing my own life goals? How is my being here making the world a better place? (and even more dangerous) Am I just being complicit and contributing to the industrial capitalism that I'm trying to distance myself from and is that okay?

I'm a secretary. I work for a doctor in a research lab. For the first time in 11 years, I have health insurance. My response was to go on an orgiastic spree of office visits. In the last month I've been to a general care practitioner (after not having been to the doctor for at least 14 years), a chiropractor (it's been at least 6 years), a GYN (the one thing that I've always done yearly), and an acupuncturist (my first time). Of all of them, I got the absolute worst care from the general care practitioner. I left that appointment not having learned anything, not having any of my questions answered, and basically feeling as if I had completely wasted my time. I told her that my husband and I were planning on trying to conceive in about a year and I asked what I should be doing to prepare my body. Her response was, "Oh, nothing. I mean, you can take prenatal vitamins, but that's about it." No advice about how I could improve my diet (not that she had even asked about my diet), no advice about physical activity level, no cautions about BPA or phthalates or other toxins to avoid, no guidance about resources available to me at that very hospital as far as midwives and birthing/prenatal classes (of which there are many). No guidance at all of any kind. Except to take a pill. And we wonder why we are getting sicker and sicker with each generation.

The best, and most holistic, care came from my chiropractor and my acupuncturist. Both of them spent two full hours with me in our initial visits (if you subtract waiting time, I spent a total of 15 minutes with my gen. pract.) and asked me a variety of questions about a variety of topics. I left both of those appointments feeling like I had been heard, that at least an attempt had been made to answer my questions, and that I had been, well, cared for.

But, I digress from my point about my job...

I think a majority of my feeling of stasis is coming from the lack of any feeling, good or bad, that I have for the work that I do every day. When I spend nine hours just sitting and doing minimal tasks that don't challenge me, it really shouldn't be any surprise when I come home and find it hard to get fired up and actually get things done that I do want to do. It's all inertia. Part of my solution to this is this blog. I'm typing this on company time. Not that I have anything else to do. If I wasn't writing this, I would be staring at the wall. Literally. I spend a lot of my work day reading the news and researching everything you can imagine (the game that I play when my husband and I get home from our respective jobs is to outline this research for him, "Today I learned how to harvest flax!") But, writing here, I hope, will help me to stay engaged during my working hours and to help me move beyond just reading about these things and to start implementing the changes I want to make into my actual daily life.

Case in point:

I ordered hard red winter wheat this morning, with the hope that it will get here before the weekend and I can plant it as a cover crop in my backyard garden (I ordered from Paul's Grains in Laurel, Iowa. They are wonderful and helpful.). I know nothing about planting wheat. I am not exactly sure how I'm going to harvest it or how I'm going to mill it, but I am really excited to try it and see what happens and I really can figure out the details as I go. The worst case scenario is that I'm out the money that I spent on the wheat berries, but seriously, what would I have spent it on otherwise? Frugality is good (and I do love to be frugal!) but at some point, I think one has to just dive in and actually spend money in order to take a chance on learning something new. Maybe spending the money that I earn at this job in ways that make it possible for me to eventually leave it will make being here worth it after all.

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