Thursday, December 1, 2011

Career Number 4 Secured. Now What?

Well, now isn't this a bit awkward?  Here I am blogging about my quest to find career number 4.  And, I've found it.  It involves my passion, my experience, and community interaction.  I have goals for advancement and a development plan in place to achieve them.  I obviously can't blog about my work, so now what?  What to do?  Oh, what to do?  Suggestions?  Click "Comment" and leave your suggestions below...  Do you enjoy my ramblings?  Then please, what shall I ramble about now?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

CN4: Young and Old

Career Number 4,  you have eluded me for months now, but I have my eye on you.  You shall be an enticing blend.  I envision working with both the older (those with more refined, balanced characteristics that come with age and maturity), and the younger (the more lively, straightforward, and occasionally rough around the edges) generations.  Career Number 4, you are so close... I can almost smell you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Finding Fraser: Gas and Time

From the archives.....

Gas and Time   (first blogged July 2008)

We spent the weekend up at the family cottage, 4 hrs away. Well, by my driving time it's 4hrs, but it's only 3-3.5 by my husbands. This time, I did the drive home so hubby could sleep, as he's woking the back shift this week. Anyway... I had recently read (I believe in Readers Digest) that a lady was religiously getting 600-630km's per tank of gas, driving at 120km/hr. Now, I've heard many times that driving between 100 and 105 gives you the best gas mileage, but I'd never heard a true testimonial on just how big the difference was. So, as I was saying, this lady averaged between 600-630kms on a tank of gas. By reducing her driving speed to between 100-105, she increased her distance covered to 770km's! Needless to say, being an unemployed soon-to-be student and mother of 3, I want to squeeze that tank as much as I can, and was determined to do just that! So, by adding 30mins to our drive, I saved almost a quarter of a tank (approx $20)coming home compared to how much gas we used to get there (at hubby's 120ish). Wow! And for a mere half hour! I must say, I certainly don't make $40 an hour, I'm slowing down.

During this drive, with hubby snoring next to me, I had plenty of time (30 mins more than usual, I might add! :P) to think about what it was that I would be missing by spending the extra half hour in the van. Hmmm... nope. Nothing.
While doing some research on "Intentional Living" recently, I came across a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke:

"…have patience with everything unresolved in your heart, …try to love the questions themselves… Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them…. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

and I was thinking about the essence of this quote on my drive. Why rush to my destination to get to nothing 30 mins earlier and completely ignore the 3.5 hrs ahead of me? Why not slow down, look around, and actually live during the next 3.5 hrs? Was there something so important awaiting me at home that I need to effectively lose 3.5hrs, only to save losing 30 mins later on... 30 mins I knew would be effectively wasted anyway? Having been raised as an athlete, I constantly have my "eye on the prize", (even when others vehemently swear I have no focus whatsoever) and am focused on the finish line. But I'm not an athlete anymore. And if there's a trophy waiting for me at the finish line of my life, great. But can I and I should I really ignore life in trying to get to it?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Flying together in a synchronized wave..."

Wow, when I wrote about hundreds of birds flying together in a synchronized wave, choreographing music in the sky, (The Cricket Won't Stop Chirping, Oct 6, 2011) I never imagined it would look quite like this....


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wine Tasting for Beginners

So, you want to go to a winery, but you’re intimidated by the potential presence of the wine snobs?  Relax!  You can do this!  Everyone starts somewhere, and you have made the wise choice of doing a little bit of research to make your day less stressful, because really, there should be no stress in wine tasting.  There are three main steps to get through when going on your first wine tour; 1) Choose the wineries that you want to go to, 2) Choose the wines you want to taste, and 3) Decide to make (or not make) a purchase.

Choosing the Wineries:

A lot of first timers will choose to go on an official guided wine tour.  These tours are a very good option for several reasons.  First, they eliminate any need to pre-plan a route as most tours come with a set itinerary of wineries that they visit based on day of the week and time of day.  You merely book with the tour operator and they do the rest.  Second, they eliminate the need for a designated driver.  And third, they keep you on schedule.  There are also defined limitations to tours with an operator as well.  The most glaring is the loss of flexibility and control over your day.  For that reason alone, if you have access to a designated driver and are a bit of a control freak like me, I recommend planning your own tour.

If you decide to go it alone (with friends and a DD, of course), your next job is to choose the wineries you intend to visit.  You can plan on hitting 3-4 wineries in one afternoon, depending on the number of wines you sample at each winery.  Is there any winery that you’ve been dying to visit?  Do you have a favorite wine that you would like to re-sample?  Is there a particular area of Niagara you would like to visit? (Grimsby? Jordan? Lincoln? Niagara-on-the-Lake? Pelham?)  Once you have a general idea of where you want to be, choose some of the medium size wineries to start at and get your feet wet.  Going to the medium sized guys gives you some familiarity with “the process” without feeling intimidated by the potential marketing and sheer size of the larger wineries.  Finish the day at one of the larger wineries, perhaps with a light meal on their patio.  Save the smallest wineries for your second or third time out.

Choose the Wines you want to taste:

You have selected the wineries and are about to walk through their doors into a delicious new world.  Once you go through, we all know that there is no turning back.  What next?  Once inside, there will be the inevitable wall of wine for sale.  Many choose to peruse this wall, aimlessly wandering about, waiting for someone to guide them.  Don’t be that guy/gal.  Once inside, do a quick scan of the room, note any wine promotions that may be of interest, and make your way to the tasting bar/counter.  At the bar, your server will provide you with a “tasting menu”, the list of wines that are available for tasting that day.  Not all wines are open every day, they could never maintain quality tasting that way.  If you have particular preferences on what you drink and they are on the list, ask for them.  If not, ask the server what the winery is known for or if they have a “signature” wine.  Don’t be afraid to let them know you are a beginner, they will be gentle.  When tasting, don’t gulp, please sip.  But don’t worry about swirling or gurgling or assessing the bouquet, etc.  That will come with experience.  Beginners aren’t expected to do that.  Relax!  Your server will walk you through the rest of the tasting process.  They will talk about foods that pair well with each wine, whether they want to drink it in the summer on a patio, or with a big fat steak, etc.  (Note: Prepare to be hungry by the end of the afternoon.  Planning a stop at a local grocery store to purchase various cheeses, smoked salmon, and steaks on the way home is an excellent idea.) 

Deciding to Make (or not make) a purchase:

Once you have finished tasting, your server will ask if you want to purchase any of the wines you tasted.  If you decide not to make a purchase, you will be asked to pay for your tastings, told to come back soon, and sent happily on your merry way.  If you decide to purchase one (or more) of the wines you tasted (or ones you didn’t taste, too), your tasting fee will normally be waived.  You will pay for your bottles, and again, be told to come back soon, and sent happily on your merry way.  Obviously, the goal of the winery is to sell you wine, but most wineries are very respectful of the large amount of tasters that come through their doors, and there is little sales pressure.  If you have no interest in purchasing any of the wines you tasted, there really is no need to do so.  On the other hand, if you can envision yourself repeatedly enjoying a particular wine, there is no better time to buy a case of it!  (Frequently, wineries will throw in some sort of small freebie if you do.)

Once you are taken with the notion that you want to visit some wineries, there really is no reason not to go.  If chance or good planning lands you in the Niagara region, take advantage of the opportunity.  Book a tour, or choose a few wineries on your own, get yourself through the front door and taste!  There are 81 wineries in the Niagara region, each with its own unique flavour or location.  Take an afternoon and explore.  If you are still unsure of yourself or how to get started, I would be happy to walk you through the process!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Want to love what you do? Do what you love!

The best employees are those that are highly motivated.  That motivation can present itself in many forms.  For a lot of people, it is the pure desire for a paycheck.  For others, it is praise of a job well done.  Some, however, are intrinsically motivated by the pure fact that they LOVE what they do.  They want to get up in the morning and get to work because they have found the career that suits them.  These employees are the ones that can have the biggest impact on a company, not because of their education or their connections, but because they care about what they are doing.  These are the employees that commit themselves to a job and take ownership.  While they may not be the fastest or the most educated, they are bound to be the most reliable and effective.  They are the ones who, when faced with setbacks, will power through.  When times are tough, they will be the people you look to for your own motivation. 

They key to loving what you do is to make sure that you are doing what you love.  If you have the opportunity to turn your hobby into a sustainable career, do it!  YOU will then become the intrinsically motivated one.  YOU will find that you are committing yourself, taking ownership, powering through setbacks, and people will look to YOU for their own motivation.  Ironically, as a result of your newfound intrinsic motivation, that will be secondary in importance to you.  What will really matter is that you are loving what you do because you are doing what you love.

 ***(Please, don’t take this as advice to suddenly quit your day job.  Time, patience, and persistence can be required to turn your hobby into something SUSTAINABLE.  In the end, it will be worth it, but make sure you do your homework first!)***

Finding Fraser: Hypocritical Romance

From the archives...

Hypocritical Romance    - Thursday, August 16, 2007

All kidding aside, I'm a hypocrit and just found out.

I was recently polling some friends and family on what they considered to be "grown-up romantic". Let's face it, I'll be 30 next month. The days of puppy eyes, hand written love poems and all other things gushy are behind me. Even when I do find Fraser, it's not going to bring them back.

I needed to bring myself into the reality that, Fraser or no Fraser, I'm a grown up now. No matter how many layers I peel away, scars I shed, or trees I climb, I am a grown up. To accomplish this snap to reality, I did a poll. I got lots of the expected, "Honey, I'll take out the garbage" "Honey, I got KFC for supper so you won't have to cook" "Honey, let's watch a movie after you put the kids to bed," etc. But I also got this: Romance is...

"doing special things for your special someone that you don't really have to do but you do them because you know they'll appreciate & enjoy them. It makes them feel special.:)"

Bingo. Slapped in the face by my own sister.

How many days/months/years have I walked around hoping I would be romanced? Far too many. How many days/months/years have I walked around trying to figure out how to romance my partner? Far too few. My job is to figure out the best way possible to show him (not tell him) that he's special, and appreciated. That doesn't mean I go out and wine, dine and candlelight dinner him. It means I actually take time out of my day to stop and think about what it is that would make him feel like he's the most important person in the world. Then I'm supposed to do it. Have I done that today? Doubtful. Do I know how? Well, I think I know where to start. Am I afraid he won't notice? Terrified. If he doesn't notice, will I try again? Hopefully. If he does notice? Then maybe I'll get romanced too.

Ah, and there lies the crux. Selfish and hypocricital. I think human nature leads us to want to be special and appreciated. But the point of doing these special things for your partner is supposed to be purely to show THEM how much you care, not to want it in return. So, knowing that you want to be romanced in return, do you not romance at all, to avoid the hypocritical crux? Or do you just give in, and light some candles?

Monday, October 17, 2011

The "Mac" Legacy

Inspiration comes in many forms.  I am lucky enough to have married into a family that has a very firm grasp on that.  EVERY member of my extended "Mac" family will whole-heartedly agree that Inspiration comes from those you choose to surround yourself with.  Now, different members may interpret that differently, but they ALL (and I'm talking 26 first cousins here, plus all of the married-in's like me) look to each other whenever they are in need of a laugh or a shared tear.

I was six months pregnant with my first born when Grandpa Mac passed away, 10 years ago today.  While I only knew him for a short time, I see the difference he has made in this world every day.  My extended family has been molded by his leadership, dedication, and ultimate devotion to family. 

Whether it be unfaltering dedication to bid euchre, fishing for damn nuisance sun fish, or crazy talk around the campfire, Grandpa Mac is always there.  Thank you, Grandpa Mac, from every generation.


 (Yes, family, I realize it's actually Mc, but I didn't want it to be "Golden Arched" in reference)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Everyone is Inspired by Something.

Everyone is inspired by something.  A lucky few have figured out what their inspirational triggers are.  An even smaller few have developed ways to harness that inspiration and feed off of it.  My family is competitive.  I grew up competing with everyone in everything.  I ALWAYS had a goal and I usually missed it by “just that much”.  Now, I know that every time I see a child achieve their goals in any type of competition, I will cry tears of joy to celebrate their success.  I was once at the hockey arena watching my childcare providers’ eleven year old son win the league championship.  The parents of the children on the team smiled and applauded.  I cried.  I was at the national science fair awards ceremony for my adopted teenage daughter several months ago, I cried when she won her research scholarship to Israel, of course, but I also cried when other students whom I’d never even met won their dream awards as well.  Yes, I am an equal opportunity crier. 

Just yesterday, my son participated in the regional cross country finals for his school board.  The top 90 students from 95 different elementary schools across the region were competing.  I was so proud for him to come in 26th.  Just moments before his race, however, came my true moment of inspiration.  Ten minutes after the girls race had apparently ended, the bicyclist that trailed the final runner in the race came into view over the crest in the hill.  Beside him, in an awkward combination of running, walking and hopping, a young girl was bound and determined to ignore her disability and achieve her goal.  The course that had just moments before been crowded with teachers and parents that were eager to wish their boys well was suddenly cleared.  This little girl received the largest and loudest standing ovation.  Everyone present was buoyed by the courage it took to finish the race when everyone else had come and gone so long ago.  Parents, teachers, officials, and other competitors applauded her effort and her spirit.  I cried. 

With Career Number 4, I have a new goal.  It should be fairly obvious.  When everyone else has come and gone, I intend to finish the race.  Missing so many things by “just that much” can do severe damage to your self-confidence.  But it can also serve as inspiration.  I have been given the opportunity to try so many different things in life, and have had the support of so many people, encouraging and allowing me to attempt so many things.    Just as the coaches and organizers of the cross country finals had faith that including this young girl in the regional finals was the right decision to make, so many coaches, teachers, and others have had faith that including me in their teams, groups, organizations, etc. was the right decision as well.  That is something I will always carry with me as personal inspiration.  Being at a crossroads in my career, I am now competing for employment.  Every time I rewrite my cover letter for a particular position, I am competing for an interview.  I was raised to compete.  I am competing again.  This time, instead of watching others succeed and win, shedding tears of joy to celebrate their victory, I would like it to be celebrating my own.  I will finish this race, even if by "just that much".

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thankful for Happiness

My book of recommendation for October is most definitely, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Not everyone needs, wants, or has the ability to take on something so ambitious as to spend an entire year "test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier", but thankfully, Gretchen has done that for us.  Now, we can each look to her experiences, take a few small nuggets of inspiration, and grow on them.

To me, the biggest lesson held within the pages of Rubin's book is that it is actually okay to want to be happier.  We are often left feeling like there could be more out in the world for us, even when life and circumstances have blessed us with many things.  Just as frequently, we are told (either directly or indirectly, by society and ourselves) how guilty we should feel for wanting to explore those opportunities. 

Well, guess what?  My name is Dana Nokes and I am very thankful for the many wonderful people, places, and opportunities I have had in this life.  But I want more.  I want to write.  I want to inspire.  I want to travel.  I want to entertain.  I want to enlighten.  I want to teach.  I want to grow.  I want to make a difference.

I am thankful for my current happiness, but even more thankful for the freedom and ability to pursue dreams and goals to become even happier.

Career Number 4 should be, um, happy?  (yeah, that doesn't really work, but oh well.)

By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Top 10 things everyone MUST do in their 30's

What are the top 10 things you must do in your Thirtys?

10 - Play with food -  Try to cook your way through any cookbook (Julie & Julia style, of course...), or atleast dabble in "sustainable living" (you know, live local, buy local, eat local)

9 - Buy a Feng Shui book - attempt to Feng Shui your home and quickly give up when you realize your chi just ain't cutting it.

8 - Join a gym -  quit the gym, and then complain about how much you need to go to a gym.

7 - Drink wine -  even if you don't like it.  (And if you like it enough, you can relocate your entire family and career so you can live closer to it...)

6 - Manage your childs sports team - I could have said... "Dabble in Politics", but really, what's the difference?

5 - Run your own business - A legal business would be a bonus... you know... Partylite, Scentsy, that kind of thing.... but, who am I to judge?

4 - Two words... Man Cave.

3 - Two more words... Road Trip! - Ok, a lot of people may think this should go in the "twenty's" category and that "travel" would be more accurate for thirty's.  But... too bad.  make your own list.

2 - Change your career -  atleast twice.  (Make sure to blog about it atleast once... don't forget!)


1 - Buy a mini van - That's right!  Everybody, parent or not, needs to own a minivan.  If you managed to escape your twenty's without one, now is the time to pimp yourself out, soccer mom style... 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Cricket Won't Stop Chirping

The cricket won’t stop chirping.  In the crisp autumn air, sweet with the scent of dew, I stop to listen to the beauty of nature.  But, I can’t hear it.  The cricket won’t stop chirping. I see the tree branches swaying and long to hear the melodic sound the maple leaves make as they hurry past each other in the wind, only to hurry back again, in a never ending cascade of sound.  But I can’t.  The cricket won’t stop chirping.  The gentle plink of dew droplets, slowly tumbling to the ground, thankful for anything that slowed their descent.  But I can’t.  The cricket won’t stop chirping.  Hundreds of birds have passed by, each on its own mission, yet flying together in a synchronized wave, music choreographed in the sky.  A few yards away, the gentle ripple of the river, restlessly fighting with the rocks that have refused to budge in haste.  I want to listen to the beauty of nature around me, but I can’t.  The cricket won’t stop chirping.

It may well be that what you are looking for is the very thing standing right in front of you.  Does that mean that I stop searching for career number 4?  No.  But neither will I dismiss the validity of the “influence” that I can have in the various roles I embody on a daily basis.  Thank you for being my tree branches, maple leaves, rain drops, and birds in the sky.  

Career number 4 should be focused on my community.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Finding Fraser - Setting the Onion Precedent

Several years ago, I began a blog, Finding Fraser. A few weeks ago I was overcome with the feeling that I had grown older and wiser, and therefore took it down. Here I am, barely weeks later, reminiscing about onions and other things oddly referred to whilst I desperately sought Fraser. Guess what? Neither my thoughts nor my purpose have changed. I am still me. While I may no longer be searching for my "original self" as I had been, I am still on a quest, looking to create a bit more of myself everyday.
Finding my thoughts and banterings just as twistedly relevant to my life circumstances now as they were then, I will be reposting several of these entries over the next little while.

Here it is, the first of firsts, my original blog post...

Setting the Onion Precedent        -        Monday, July 23, 2007

Don't you hate it? Starting something new on just the right foot. There's so much pressure, so much to think about. Look at me. Look how high I've set the bar for myself. I've yet to even write a complete paragraph, but the title alone indicates that what I write will be deep, meaningful, and, essentially, so profound that I will find the core of my being.
And all of that, right here, for you to see. Ha!

It is true, I am lost. But, I'm sure you are too. I am a mother, a step-mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a wife, and potentially, some other title I have completely forgotten. But, before all that, I was just Fraser. Hmmmm. I suppose by rights, I was always a daughter and a sister. But then, I consciously decided to become a mother, a step-mother, a friend and a wife. With every title, came additional layers of responsibility. So, maybe I'm not lost, I'm just wrapped up in layers that have gotten so thick, I have no idea where the core of me lies anymore. Oh, there I go again, talking about the core of my being. This could get interesting.

I've recently begun a quest. I'm on the hunt for Fraser, my original self. Now, I obviously can't erase all of my chosen titles, nor am I wanting to, I just need to tidy them up a bit. Thinking of the movie Shrek, I'm thinking of an onion... are you with me? Onions have layers, (and yes apparently Ogres do too, but that's irrelevant at this point in time) and if you peel them all away, you get to the core of it. People, in my opinion, should NOT be like onions. Hey, I warned you this would not be profound stuff here. People should be like trees. They should be grounded on the root of their being, with each additional title being a different branch. The bigger they are, the farther they reach. All the while, the persons true self is still quite visible. It is the foundation on which they stand. Obviously that is not the case with an onion. With every additional layer, the core of the onions being gets hidden a little deeper.

I'm tired of being an onion. Besides, they stink.

"Life isn't about Finding Yourself..."

While spending time at home in Nova Scotia this summer, surrounded by nature at its best, I was presented with the words of George Bernard Shaw, "Life isn't about finding yourself, Life is about creating yourself."  and couldn't help but be compelled to look at myself in a whole new light.  I know who I am, I know what I like, and I know what I am good (and conversely not good) at.  Why keep searching for what I already know?  Instead of puttering around thinking about what I have already done, it was time to shift gears and focus on what there was still to do.  What have I always wanted to do, but have never done?  Is there a life calling I have yet to explore?  Is there an influence I can make on a person, society or culture?

When looking to make a change of any kind, it always helps to have a strong team of influential people around you.  "Influential" can come in many forms. Whether it be your teenage children influencing what you wear by giving you the you-can't-seriously-be-planning-on-wearing-that-outside-the-house look over breakfast, your spouse supporting you through everyday ups and downs, or co-workers pushing you to go for the big promotion; each of them have an effect on YOU in a way completely different than they would on someone else.  Many of my influencers were specific high school teachers.   True to form, being somewhat of a nerd, I held several teachers in very high esteem while other students would rather walk on hot coals than walk back into the classroom for a "chat".  One in particular, Mr. C, was my physical education teacher for the majority of my junior and senior high school years.  He taught me infinitely more than sports skills.  His influence stretched to cover perseverence, patience, faith, and giving. He had high expectations for you and you felt compelled to perform out of fear of letting him down.  You busted your butt for him because he expected you to, and you knew that that was the right thing to do.  While in Nova Scotia this summer, I saw Mr. C for the first time in 16 years.  My nephew wanted to take me to the cool, new, state of the art track and field facility in town.  It was really not surprising to see Mr. C there with a group of teenagers, training diligently on a beautiful Wednesday evening in the middle of the summer.  It was even less surprising to learn that it was Mr. C himself who had spearheaded the entire initiative to raise money for and create such a beautiful facility.  Mr. C is a man who has dedicated his life to serving his community one teenager, and inadvertently one family, at a time.  While he may be a talented athlete, his true gifts and strengths are those he tries to pass on to others; perseverence, patience, faith, and giving.

I walked away from the track that evening with a renewed sense of purpose.  I would not stand around trying to find myself.  I am who I am.  I must instead find a way to continue to better myself and find a way to use my skills to help better any one around me who feels they may need some bettering too.  Career Number 4 shall be influential.

"Life isn't about finding yourself, It's about creating yourself."   George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Should Be...?

The melodramatic squeals and giggles oozing from children as they walked past my door on their way to school this morning were barely audible over the deafening silence emanating from my phone as it sat silently nestled in its cradle.  Oh well, I had other things to think about this morning.  Coffee in hand, I was equipped to handle whatever found itself in my path. 

The first of those things would be my part time job number 1.  PT job 1 requires my undivided attention, tests the limits of my patience, and entices my entire brain into action… for only two hours a week.  So why put myself through that for such meager money?  Because for two hours a week I am required to give something my undivided attention, test my patience (ok, who’s kidding who,  my children already "encourage" me to develop this essential life skill on a daily basis), and entice my brain into action.  A testament to either my adaptability or my gullibility, I am tutoring a college student in a course I took thirteen years ago and haven’t looked at, thought about, or remotely dabbled with since.  I also tutor another college student in another course I’ve never taken, been exposed to or have any experience in.  Crazy?  Maybe.  Capable?  Sure.  It’s dealing with numbers.  Sweet, simple numbers that blend together in melodic harmony creating music as they go.  Oh boy, the corny, over dramatic, blech-ness (new word as of right now) of that sentence made me snort my steamy cup of java out my nose… but I had to keep the sentence.  When else would I get the opportunity to talk about snorting coffee out my nose?  

Before heading out for my morning brain crunch, I had social obligations to fulfill.  Yes, that’s right, no day can fully begin without first checking email and then checking in with various social media.  This morning, a friend’s update was ‘Stay true to yourself.”  Small words, big meaning.

I was thinking about this update on my way to PT job 1, and again on the drive home.  While searching frantically (or passively frantically, if that’s possible) for a job, I’m finding it very easy to get caught up in the emotions of the experience.  Applying to job after job, only to be met with the emptiness of nothing, my competitive-self began to step in and spew gray matter in all directions.  I had been challenged.  Being presented with the cold, hard fact that my chosen career number 3 was not currently available to me, I forgot why I was no longer in career 1 or 2 and began to aggressively pursue re-entering either of them, just to show the world that I could.  Stubborn, competitive me.

I was a teacher in career number 3, before we moved to this delicious land covered in rows of over-sweet grapes preparing themselves to become the delicious nectar of next year.  Ah yes, while I may have left a career behind, I have established a new hobby of collecting delicious samples of locally-fermented-grape-juice-in-a-bottle, and will never complain about it.  Unfortunately, in this ever-productive part of the country, Xavier Roberts seems to have a cabbage patch field harvesting teachers in abundance , leaving more B.Ed’s in the unemployment lines than there are vines on the hillside.  Alas, I will have to wait my turn for a classroom.  In the meantime, I will continue to sample the nectar.

Few people have the opportunity presented to them to truly take the time to find not only what they WANT to be doing, but what they SHOULD be doing.  I realize I am in the minority in this land.  I’m eager to find my fourth career, not because I’m worried about feeding my family, but because I’m worried about my gray matter becoming mush.  You know, the old use it or lose it adage.  Ideally, yes, career number 3 suited me.  But in this land of fertile soil, hidden in the beauty of the land, there must be something I SHOULD be doing.   (And please, dear husband, don't say the dishes... there's always tomorrow for that.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 1 - Searching for a Sense of Purpose

Moments after my kids ran out the front door for school this morning, my phone rang.  The cup of coffee I’d been anxiously waiting to savour once they were gone was suddenly forgotten.  A new sense of anticipation instantly overcame me, the hairs on my arms prickling with fear and excitement while the caller on the other end of the line was left to wait for me to compose myself before picking up the phone.  Could this be the one that I had been waiting for?  I have a purpose, I’m sure I do.  I have tonnes of potential, I’m sure I do.  Is this unknown caller the one who has figured it out?  Is the key holder to my fourth career awaiting me on the other end of the line?  Aware that time waits for no-one, no matter what their state of mind, state of finance, or state of desperation, I made haste to lift the receiver from the cradle.

My children were hoping for me to get a “cool job.”  Imagine the playground bragging rights they would own if they could say mommy works for the professional sports team in town, or at the coolest theme park.  Or maybe I could work in their school.  Thankfully, they are well balanced enough to actually think that would be cool, too. 

My husband would be thrilled for me to get a job again.  Really, any job will do.  He understands the social interaction that accompanies employment and embraces the fact that I thrive on social interaction.  Really, when you look at the situation through his eyes, the more I get the opportunity to interact and socialize with other people, the less need I feel to fill every waking moment of our precious evening hours together with pointless drivel about how I rearranged the Tupperware cupboard that day.

And me?  My state of mind is sharp, my state of finance is stable, and my state of desperation varies depending on how long I’m kept from my morning cup of coffee.  The thought of coffee snaps me back to the reality of the phone approaching my ear as my hand lifts it subconsciously from the receiver.  “Hello?”  On the other end of the line is the sweet voice of my dear friend, “Shall we walk and talk?”  I met Maria a year ago.  Our children attend school together, we’re on the PTA together, and we’re both well-educated moms out to make a difference in the lives of our kids and our community.  “A walk and talk would be fabulous.  Let’s meet in an hour.”   I felt the wave of anticipation leave my body with a sudden rush, leaving an empty sense of discontentment to fill the void.  I was looking forward to a good heart to heart chat with a close friend; it helps soothe the social beast in me.  But it wasn’t the phone call I had hoped for.

Career number four is still eluding me.  Being of sharp mind, I want to use it.  Being of stable finances (thanks to a successful and supportive husband), I want to find the right career.  And being desperate, well, I have coffee for that.