When I started this blog, the theme was “I Sold My Pearls To Do It,” and it was my intention to write about the choices I’ve made and the goals I’ve set that defy convention. I liked this theme because it’s the unconventional choices I’ve made that I’m most proud of and that I find most interesting; they’re the ones that have shaped my life most singularly. I have made some poor unconventional choices, for sure, but for the most part, defying convention, for me, has been about having the courage to leave a defined path, to color outside the lines, to stand out more than to fit in, which is where I think the most interesting parts of life are lived.
But sometimes—in between making big life choices and actually attaining long sought after goals—there is a lot of doing dishes and vacuuming and procrastinating and completing work projects and going to physical therapy and surfing the internet and drinking coffee and sleeping and clipping toenails and washing clothes and reading and writing and having sex and taking walks and visiting with family and dining with friends and waiting in waiting rooms—you know, everyday life. And while there are a lot of good, honest, true, and even interesting stories in all of that general life stuff, it’s easy to loose the connection. It’s easy to forget how all of that everyday activity is related to the big choices and the big goals, which is why I’ve been sweating this blog lately—and by sweating it I mean ignoring it in all demonstrable ways while silently stewing over it in the shower and in bed before I fall asleep.
So, I’d like to refocus. There are a lot of choices I’ve made that have not been highly conventional. Selling the pearls I received from my now-deceased great uncle, pearls he gave as Christmas and birthday gifts over many, many years, and trading them to purchase a small boat when I was 14 was one of the early choices. But there have been many others including a nearly three-decade’s long career that includes all of the following titles: babysitter, surfing store shopkeeper, house painter, waitress, ski coach, ski instructor, ski patroller, whitewater raft guide, tractor driver, trail crew member, condominium check-in center manager, windjamming schooner cook and deckhand, magazine intern, magazine advertising coordinator, grad student, on-hold advertising writer, outdoor education coordinator, tutor, high-tech sales associate, IT business analyst, program manager, consultant, consulting manager, marketing manager, and writer. With my two degrees in English, I never went to law school or became a certified teacher, and the fact that I ended up working in the tech industry was more due to geography (living in Seattle) than any aptitude or proclivity. I was quite good at some of these roles, and I was awful at others. I was an excellent grad student, and I was the most forgetful waitress to ever carry a tray. I’ve also surely left out a few jobs, but most of the colorful ones are on the list.
Anyway, in the coming weeks and months, I’m going to try to explore—and refocus my writing—on some of my unconventional career history, unconventional life choices, and unconventional goals. I’m going to try to post shorter pieces a little more frequently. And if I’m lucky, I’ll also get better at not ignoring the everyday, precious little life activities—and will instead improve at making connections between the tiny little things of today and the big stuff out ahead. Things like my stellar partner and me building a big boat and sailing off to who knows where!
I’m also extremely, intensely, and passionately interested in your opinions, so I have two questions for all of you highly awesome and fascinating friends out there who haven’t yet lost all patience with me:
- What’s the most unconventional life choice you’ve ever made?
- What’s the oddest or most unconventional job you’ve ever had?
Feel free to answer one or both and to share as much as you’d like about the impact of any of your unconventional decisions.
To the unconventional life! Cheers!