Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Climb

Miley Cyrus isn't my favorite, but this song has been kinda an anthem for me.

The idea of the path being more important than the goal is an important one to me. There's always another goal... another place to stop. Until that ultimate stop. That means that there are no destinations, only those places along the way we want to stop and enjoy a while before moving on.

I've been struggling these past few days with two things:  my blood sugar and my future plans.  Not just what am I going to do next week, but where do I want to live, how do I want to advance myself financially, and what do I want to do with the rest of my life.

Yesterday I had a rather abrupt wake-up call, when my blood sugar plummeted dangerously. It took a long time to get it under control, and I was late to class.  And it reminded me that I couldn't do that on a full schedule, or if I were working a 9 to 5, and I'm not sure I could deal with it in a Masters Degree Program.  That doesn't mean I'm giving up on any of it, but that I realize that maybe my dreams are bigger than my health will allow.

For me, however, failure isn't not making it, it's not trying for it.  Yes, I'm notorious for pushing the limits when it comes to my health, and it's worked for me.  Yes, there are weeks sometimes when I can barely crawl out of bed if I've overdone it, but for me the DOING IT is worth whatever the fall out is later.  In the past, that's had a lot to do with my travel, but now I'm thinking of it in terms of career and education.  The problem is, if I'm exhausted and pushing it to go to a museum during a lupus flare and I need to take a couple days afterwards to rest up, that's one thing.  It's not a possibility with a job.

In the long run I know what my choice will be:  look at all of the possibilities, start on the path to all the possibilities, then push like heck to get to that fork in the road and then decide.

I'm not a give up kinda person.  I don't think I ever will be. At college I've got a reputation for my work ethic, and it's something I feel very strongly about.   Ain't about how fast I get there.  Ain't about what's waiting on the other side. It's the climb. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Moving Forward with Choices and Doubts

Right now I'm thinking a lot about how much I hate having to completely rely on Social Security, and living in this kind of poverty.  The original plan was to spend time on art, and to sell some pieces to supplement my income.  The reality of that is that right at the moment, I'm spending more in tuition and supplies than I'm making.  In all fairness, it isn't going to happen overnight.  I know I have to invest money and time to make money.  The question is: do I have the money to invest?  THEN and only then can I start asking myself : do I have a product that will sell?

Yesterday I got an email from the Red Dot stating that one of my pieces has been accepted for the Holiday Art Show.  That means I'll have a piece on Canyon Road. That's a BIG DEAL.   On the other hand, it's one piece, and the price isn't terribly high.

Yesterday I also got an email with job listings that match my qualifications from Linked In.  There's a job... a PAID job... for part time education personnel at the Bradbury Science Museum at the labs in Los Alamos.   It's not a lot of hours.  I could stay here, keep my benefits (at a reduced rate) and I could bring home a little more money.  It's a long commute:  about 50 minutes each way.   It wouldn't be bad if "part time" is 5 hours twice a week.  It'd be awful if it's two hours a day every day.

And of course there's still another option:  get my MA at Southwestern College in Art Therapy and work as an Art Therapist, which would earn the highest, most stable wages, although I don't see a lot of work for an agency in the states I'd prefer to work.  I could go into private practice, which would allow me a great deal of flexibility in hours. It MAY be that the reason that there isn't a lot of job postings is that agencies hire their interns in the field.  I hope.   And money? Tuition for another Masters Degree.  Health?  I'm struggling now to do full time for the Associates degree.  I could go part time, but that would probably cut down on my financial aid options... and make it a longer span before I can get my M.A. and start work.   And I'm not getting any younger.

It's all a lot to think about, and I'm starting to feel that I'm under a lot of pressure to choose.

Step one, however, is to delete my other blogs... again... at least for now.  The reason?  Because they focus so frequently on health issues, I worry that they amplify the appearance of my chronic illness... because, while the posts are often days apart, they are frequently about feeling ill or having extremely low blood sugar.

It also occurs to me, as I sit here right now struggling with blood sugar, that if I were food secure (if I were bringing home more money, so that I could afford the foods I need to keep my sugar balanced instead of either running out of food at the end of the month, as I have now, or relying on the food from food pantries, which are too high in carbs (and will be the likely alternative tomorrow through Friday).

This is all a juggling act for me... how much work can I do while dealing with Lupus and hypoglycemia.  How much money can I invest in making a product or putting gas in the car for a job that may have very little return?  How much money do I need to make to balance out the cost of the job and to improve my health so I can DO the job?

And of course, the one thing I can't really control or stall is aging.  At this point, I'm closer to 60 than 50, and I know how quickly the years fly.   How long would I be able to work? If I start applying to jobs, at my age, would I be seen as "relevant"?  "employable"? or just as someone who's going to retire in a very short time?  How long would I be able to work?  I'm hoping, if I go into art therapy, to me working for about 20 years after earning my degree.  That would put me well into my 70s, maybe, if I go part time, into my 80s.   Is that realistic?

I know I don't have to make the choice TODAY.  I may even be able to take the one class I'm short to get into the Art Therapy M.A. program in spring and still not choose.  But eventually I have to find direction... and hope it's a direction that will take me forward.