sweat & fears

To mark nearly a month of my new employment, I decided it’s time I settle with my current edits and recap my time with a post I started only four days in. Sorry for the delay, but I’ve just been so busy livin’!

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I’m sure I speak for many a girl when I say that starting a new job is the perfect opportunity for a personal rebrand. Wearing that chic little number you were getting too lazy to put on at the last place? Accessorizing with that cute new pair of sandals for the hot summer weather or the sparkly necklace you picked up at Target? Girl, pleeeease. Of course! That’s what new workplaces are for!

But sorry to burst any bubbles because apparently that sort of rebrand – psyched as I was to fire up a little prairie dress/bohemian style/Ree Drummond/Joanna Gaines action – is for the birds. At least for now.

What I hadn’t necessarily planned on in my sugar-plum visions of new employ was how much time I would be spending down on my hands and knees, pulling weeds for hours on end in 95 degree, 80% humidity weather and sweating through every thin layer of clothing I had on. Talk about Ehw.

This may sound like misery and hard labor to some, but me? I’m actually loving it. Plus, just for a short time before we’ve cleaned all the rooms for residents, getting all sweaty in the morning meant perusing the halls of the farmhouse, picking out just which of our five bathrooms felt like the perfect candidate for a refreshing shower, and freshening up into a new outfit that, granted, would likely get sweaty all over again. I perfected this routine by Day 2 out of pure necessity.

You see, what I’m realizing as I get deeper into my job is this: We’re all built differently – made to feel rewarded by certain activities or duties. That’s why there are so many different careers out there. Sitting at a desk, which was the only job I thought possible, was not rewarding for me. Answering phone calls, taking countless repetitive pictures so I could maybe sell a piano on Craigslist? Newp.

But this. This, y’all. This is something different. Strange as it may sound, I have felt so rewarded these last few weeks by the simplest of things. Chores that I don’t even do in my spare time at home – like weeding. And weeding. And cleaning and weeding and walking around in circles trying to find all the air filters on a multi-building property. I’m COVERED in bug bites from kneeling down in the grass and dirt. My shoulders are still a little burnt from the sun. I’ve worn at least 2 if not 3 different outfits every day this week, simply because the last pair I had on got too dirty or nasty for me to stand. (This is not like me.) And I’ve laundered and folded more pillowcases than I can count. But I feel so good when I get home. So. Good.

And wait! There’s more!

Get this: GONE is the stress. Gone are the anger and frustration that I’d come to believe were a part of my burgeoning struggles of a work-life balance. Gone are the headaches, the boredom, the inability to function in a stale environment. Now? Now I am freedom. My thoughts, my actions, my emotions, my duties, my days – I am, for lack of a better word, free.

And that may be one of the best parts.

Yes, I have responsibilities. Yes, I have a long to-do list. And yes, sometimes I must sit (or stand) and work on my computer. Sure, somewhere along the road something is bound to get those stress levels back up and rolling. But that will only be some times. And all of it will be working this business towards a goal that I’m legitimately stoked about.

Seriously, there is so much gratification in the feeling of being worked, not only mentally but physically. I get to do something a little different every couple hours, getting all 10,000 Fitbit steps in less than a work days’ time, staying on my feet, brainstorming for what’s to come and never having to wonder if someone’s looking over my shoulder, testing me. This is what a good job is made of – at least for me.

Now I know that I said I’m working at a Writers’ Colony and I’m sure you’re wondering what the heck all of this has to do with it. Like, shouldn’t you be writing, Heather? I am right now, aren’t I? In the meantime, I’ve been so happy just being busy preparing this old farmhouse for years of writers to come. And when I get a break, the inspirational space is all mine to enjoy, as well.

I feel so full, so complete, so fulfilled, and so liberated. And sure, this is not the average job. But apparently that’s exactly what I’ve been needing. Apparently I kind of like doing housework – in the event that it’s preparing for the bigger picture. And right now, it’s like I’m planning for a big ole party to start. How crazy is that?

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Jobs are a weird thing. We let the status and perception of what we do define us, especially because we’re usually spending most of our lives in the office. But what if we lived in a world where we just didn’t care? What if we chased a dream – even if it didn’t look kosher and felt like we were just at home on vacation getting the necessary shit done? What if we did something a little out of the box – just because it makes us happy? What about that?

I feel like a science experiment, y’all. I mean, I can’t even stop talking about it.

I feel like a whole new me – like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can just be and do and live. Sure, there’s going to be a lot more to do on the long road ahead as we prepare for this property to open. And with that will come struggle – more sweat and more fear. But that will just be something new, something to break up the days, something to look forward to rather than dread. I mean, the real fun of working at a Writers’ Colony hasn’t even begun yet!

I’m even finding myself taking new risks and rebranding in a way I didn’t think possible. In my first week at the Colony, I read the poem I posted here at my very first Poetry Open Mic. And nervous as I was, I came out of it feeling so accomplished. I even received compliments from people I didn’t know. (Sorry, well-intentioned-but-sometimes-unbelievable close friends 😉 You matter, too. )

Then I capped off that first week when I met a very inspiring Yogi/Writer who hopes to lead a retreat at the Colony in the next year. Before she left, she had us down on the ground yet again as she photographed us in various yoga poses and attached them to an affirmation that we’re to carry with us over the course of the next calendar year.

I’ve never known a community of writers. I’ve never thought much about the environment in which I’m able to write or the tips and tricks that will get my brain going. Suddenly, I know that I’m going to learn so much as I’m surrounded by these inspiring mentors, not only as Assistant Director of the property, but as a fellow writer. My life is opening up to so many possibilities that I never could have dreamed – and the way I’m living is changing too, day by day.

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So when choosing my annual affirmation, the first word that came to mind – of who I am right now and who I hope to be – was Freedom. Based on the last three weeks, that doesn’t seem so hard. Now fingers crossed we just keep that train rolling.