It's funny how topics align sometimes. A friend in New York City blogged about trying to decide how she wants to support herself, how she can make work work for her. On the other side of the world I'm wading through similar questions. Her situation is totally different from mine but the question is the same (I think): how do I want to live my life?
I have a few more people to consider than does she. Any decision I make has to work with and around my children and partner. I'm not saying that I base all my decisions on them, but anything that I decide to do must work for all of us as a family unit as well as for the individuals that make up that unit.
I've been at loose ends with two contracts ending and no new ones in sight. It's the perennial problem of dependence on grant income for work. No successful grants means no work. There are always projects on the boil, but nothing currently boiling, cooking my dinner so to speak.
I was really disappointed with myself a few weeks ago. I missed a deadline for a writing opportunity and I felt that I had failed completely. The fact that it was a simple misreading of dates, that every day had been frantically busy and that everyone had things they needed me to do for them right that minute, didn't lessen my sense of disappointment.
As I was sitting around flaying myself, Mr Blithe suggested that I (in my words, not his more tactful version) stop whinging and do something more positive. His starting point was that I should use the time that I have now, the money I had set aside to start a business, buy myself a new computer and get to work. His suggestion made sense and I was awfully tired of being disappointed with myself.
So in the last fortnight I have been setting up my new computer and printer, registering myself as a business and all the associated paperwork and trying to get myself organised.
No fanfare yet. I have some paperwork still to pull together and the need to establish myself as a presence, but there is a communications and desktop publishing/digital prepress business getting itself together. My plan is to start this as a side dish to my contract research work and see where it takes me. I think of it as kind of a plan without a concrete plan, the path-free map, or more romantically, unchartered territory. Others may call it something more akin to folly.
Doing grocery shopping this morning, somewhere between the toilet paper and the cereal aisles, Beach Boys blaring on the shop sound system; toddlers squalling and brawling; Blithe Boy reclining in the trolley chewing inelegantly on an apple, my phone rang and I was offered an interview for a really interesting short-term historical research job.
Truly at the moment, my path is not only less travelled but entirely mapless.