This morning I woke up to the sound of gnawing. Tiny teeth were biting into the soft wood inside the wall of my bedroom. “What can I do about that?” I thought. If I bang on the wall I will wake Mary, and the mouse will either move to a new location or continue to gnaw after a short fear induced break. I have little control over the mice in the walls without resorting to poison which will negatively affect everyone in the house and end up with a lot of dead mice in the walls.
There are so many things in my life that seem to go this way. Parts of my life I have no control over. This is one of the reasons I want to be a writer or artist, to have control over my work and hours, but even then I would have to rely on publishers or patrons. And, I am too aware of the fact that I hate dealing with finances, taxes, etc.; all of that becomes so important when you are controlling your work and income. This also entails trusting myself not to forget important business oriented details which slip out of my mind randomly without notice. What is in front of me is not hard to remember. The little details that slide down behind the filing cabinets in my mind and eventually resurface after growing into large ugly problems. These are the beasties that I would do battle with if I were in control. Battles seem to be part of control, at least for someone like me. But maybe I would win (they have got to be easier to deal with than mice). I won’t really know until I try.
We, also, are currently renting and have been given 2 months to find a new rental. Renting is no way to have control over your life. Landlords have the control, and we end up having to move on short notice. Mary, for the most part, and I, somewhat, have been working to put ourselves in a position to buy a house. This is all part of Mary’s master plan to take control of her life: a good job (nurse) with an adequate income and a house that we own. I am fine with that as long as it is the house that is not controlling us. Neither one of us would be good at major repairs. We also need to be sure about the location, so we don’t end up having to sell a house as well as move.
I love my work with young children. But after 25 years in this occupation, I am still making a wage that I can’t support my family on. If I want to make more I have to go into administration which does not suit my skill set or temperament, and would require that I spend another 2 years in a graduate program in order to make a wage that many professionals start at. Mary however chose nursing which seems to be a good fit for her, and she will be making more in a starting position than I could make after more schooling. She is awesomely capable and confident and has finally found a profession that values her skills.
After many years of working for an agency that did not allow me to use my skills as an experienced educator, I have found a wonderful school that gives me a lot of control over the curriculum. They trust me to use my 25 years of experience to set up a program that works for the students and families. The work has been satisfying and challenging. The most frustrating part of this arrangement is that with Mary still underemployed (but nicely finished with nursing school, yeah!), my income is crucial to keeping this household afloat. This situation is hopefully coming to an end in the next few months, and I can work less if I feel like exploring some new options or writing more, or art. Although, I would love to continue for many years at my present job. Who knows? The days will be more mine to seize. A real vacation now and then would be nice.
Although we still have to navigate these last difficult months of low income, Mary will find a job. She is so excited to get out there and try her new skills, nobody even with an army of wall gnawing mice could stop her. We will arrange our lives to accommodate the changes that will come with her new job. Eventually we will discover the direction our life will take. We are hoping to gain more stability and control as we move along. I am hoping to find more space to explore options and be creative. Anyway, I am sure a life without little gnawing jaws, no vacations, and flighty landlords will help my creative process immensely.