Waffling: That's Me
Gorgeous spring time in Henry Coe State Park
There's an interesting difference between the North American definition of "waffle" - as in "waffling" - and the British definition.
Waffle - North American: fail to make up one's mind.
Waffle - British: speak or write, especially at great length, without saying anything important or useful.
Those Brits are HARSH! They don't mince words. Recently, I've been waffling in the Northern American sense, and I've been wondering if perhaps I'm waffling in the British sense.
I haven't written a post in about two weeks. At first, I had a good excuse. I went backpacking for a long Mother's Day weekend (all the photos in this post are from that trip). Then I had a full week of being super busy at work AND at home after work. In fact, we never once ate a meal at home last week; it was all dinners out because of various activities going on. So I was busy, for sure. We also got some bad news about a relative's health and have had added stress in our lives.
But I'm also waffling right now because this is what I do.
I've mentioned before how hard it can be for me to "choose" between a traditional and non-traditional career. My friend and life coach, Jessica, talks about values and how people form their lives around their values. Many people place a great amount of value on having a steady income ... even if they don't LOVE what they do. It's more important for them to bring home a steady paycheck and have a stress-free life, at least financially.
Me (on the left) and my new friends Serena and Jessica roaring outdoors!
Others place a great amount of value on living their life with purpose, passion and freedom, regardless of how much money they make. It's a cliche, but we all know money doesn't buy happiness (money may not BUY you happiness, but if you are already happy, it makes life a hell of a lot better!).
The luckiest among us have jobs that bring in a steady, appropriate amount of money and they also are passionate about what they do. I want to fall into that bucket. I place great value on both the steady, secure income and the passion. And that's the main reason why I waffle so often.
I am not in a position to quit my job to do what I love. It's just not possible right now. I know people can ditch their traditional jobs to do something they love and make good money. These people are all over the internet selling you eBooks and seminars and webinars showing you how to do it.
But the irony of a lot of these super successful entrepreneurs is that they AREN'T doing what they love anymore! Instead, they spend all their time trying to make money telling you how to do what they did ... and since they are so busy doing that now, they aren't doing what they did in the first place that made them so happy to begin with!
There are a ton of bloggers who made some money blogging, and now they blog about blogging and how to make money blogging. They never blog about whatever they originally blogged about, so clearly they needed new revenue streams and didn't make the income they wanted just blogging about cars or food or football, or whatever. I don't want to be like that.
I recently read an article on the (fabulous) She Explores website that felt inspirational somehow. I'm not sure why, really, but it spoke to me. It's an essay by Betsy Dionne, entitled, "Where Are All the Career Women in Adventure Writing?" Betsy talks about loving her office day job and spending her weekends as a major, epic outdoors warrior. While the title of her essay suggested the article would be about the lack of "traditional" career women who write and publish stories about their adventures, most of the article seemed more about finding passion in what you do 9-5 AND being an amazing weekend warrior (and not having to chose between the two).
Betsy is one of the lucky ones. Even though she sits behind a desk most of the time, she is passionate about her career, so being a weekend warrior is very fulfilling for her. All of Betsy's days are generally good days, no matter whether she is at work or rock climbing in the desert.
Pretty wild flowers at Henry Coe State Park
Reading essays like this, which are rare, makes me waffle. Most essays are about finding ways to love your job and be happy - even when you aren't - or about ditching your job to do what you truly love. I want financial security. I want money to travel and update my backpacking gear and buy kayaks and Stand Up Paddleboards. But I don't want to sell my soul to the proverbial devil (i.e., a desk, computer and unhealthy chair) to do it. I feel like becoming a financially-successful life coach, freelance writer and adventure guide will always be difficult and iffy. Will I bring in a steady income? Will I be broke some months, wondering how to pay the mortgage? How long will it take me to find that success? And who suffers in the process, other than me (hint: it's my family). How stressful will that all be?
Is there a 9-5 job out there for me? Lord knows I've tried many of them and haven't found that elusive "one". But maybe it's there somewhere.
I'm possibly about to be offered a job. I didn't look for it; it fell into my lap. I can't go into any detail yet, as it's far from a done deal, but suffice it to say that it might be that unicorn of a job. I would make decent money and would not have to worry about bills. I would travel a lot. I would work from home. I would have the freedom to make much of my own schedule, leaving time to take Atticus to school in the mornings (like I used to) and hit the hills for a trail run before starting work. If I got all my work done for the week, I could take a long weekend without having to worry about how many vacation days I've accrued. AND, I would be a big boss. Lastly, it's essentially a startup with the possibility of shares, equity, etc. that could pay off big-time in the future.
If I were offered this job, and if I accepted, I would be able to continue blogging for sure. But I would once again be ditching my plans to spend the majority of my time working outdoors and creating my own gig-economy type of job: a little of this, a little of that. I would have less time for freelance writing. I wouldn't become a wilderness guide.
Frog Pond in Henry Coe State Park, filled with...frogs (and fish and dead trees).
Even though I haven't been offered the job, I am already trying to figure out if I would take it. Would I regret it and end up leaving ANOTHER company in a short period of time? It doesn't feel good to ditch an organization less than a year after I started and I just did that to my last employer. Makes me feel icky.
Would I find happiness, long term, doing it? Will I feel like I have enough time on the weekends to play and hike and try new outdoor activities? Will I travel too much and get sick of it? What will my friends and family think of yet another 180 degree turnaround in my life plans? I spoke to my mom about it all yesterday, and I could sense her frustration with me. Who could blame her?