22. Discontent

Mexico was wonderful and difficult at the same time. As a result of slowing down and spending some very thoughtful leisurely time with John, I am even more dissatisfied with my life than ever. I am unhappy with where we live, having to work, the color of my house and society in general—we came home to news of the San Diego school shooting.


After all the color in Mexico, my dirty white walls are dreary, drab and boring and seem to represent how I feel about life overall. I miss the warm weather and cool ocean breeze; the indoor-outdoor living spaces. I miss walking everywhere I want to go. I miss the complete simplicity. No, Mexico isn’t paradise, but the contrast makes me question things about my own life that I have already been questioning. Namely, why do I live in one of, if not the most expensive, crowded cities in the U.S.—and one without summer at that?




John and I went to a client meeting this morning—a former client of mine. It’s fun to be working together with John—this is a first. It made me wish we could make a living doing this. (I’d have to think that one through, but at the moment it feels nice.) I’m excited about the work; about working. On the other hand, I still really don’t know what I want to do. Something I’ve been seriously considering since Mexico is to get a part-time job working with a landscape gardener. My summer right out of college I worked as a gardener and housecleaner and there was something about the simplicity that I loved. I loved the hard physical work; I loved all that time to meditate; I loved the sense of completion. I have been thinking about Catherine’s comment about her job at Crate and Barrel and how it served a purpose for her. I think gardening for the summer might be the regenerative break that I need. It makes me really excited when I think about the possibility of spending the next several months working outside; contained days; using my body—truly stepping out of the race. It almost feels illicit. I’ve decided to “interview” my neighbor who is a landscaper as part of my work series and as a way to explore the idea before I decide if this is really what I want to consider. I am beginning to look at my interviews as an exciting and valuable tool for my own personal exploration. I even began to think that instead of someday trying to write a broad book on people and work, I might use my interviews as a book about my own personal journey.


In the meantime, thanks to Catherine, I have two conversations scheduled for job information in the museum world and a lead I had given up on at the Oakland Museum finally emailed me while I was away that she can meet the beginning of April. I am going to pursue all these leads before I decide about gardening. John is supportive of me working part-time as a gardener, can see it, and thinks it would be great for me. I think I also can see splitting my time between being physical and outdoors with writing. After this initial push to create a website for our new account, there will be a small amount of ongoing work, so I will have at least one steady client.


Harley is wonderful and has been doubly affectionate since we returned. After all the dogs in Mexico, John and I were ready to go down to the pound, but now that I’m home, I think I can hold off a little longer. There was one particularly cute puppy that would race down the beach to greet us. A dog is definitely in the future.


I will note as a final comment that it was also disappointing to come home and have John and I immediately distracted with our old worries, busy with our long lists of things to do, crabby and no longer connected. It was discouraging to see how quickly that happens.


p.s. While we were there we became good friends with this couple we met who live in Portland. We also met another woman who lives in Sayulita now, but used to live in Portland and considers it the only place in the states where she would live. All these Portland people as I’m trying to figure out my life felt like a sign. I am definitely feeling my familiar “pull up the stakes and change the scenery” impulse and it’s a little overwhelming. The urge can feel so strong and desperate, and yet for the first time in my life, I’m not free to act on it as I please. I can’t even really talk about it because I don’t want to freak John out. It’s a very personal thing, and yet I’m not making decisions that effect just me anymore. This is actually a huge issue I’m struggling with. Not sure why I made it a post note.