It’s been a long time coming. It’s exasperating to comb job postings on craigslist and see: “Bachelors degree required + 5 years min experience... Compensation: $9/hr.” That will not cover my gas money. And of course there’s no benefits.

More and more Dan & I have realized there are no jobs that allow us the flexibility necessary to maximize our visitation schedule with Miss L, let alone spend our days doing anything we’re passionate about. So, we’ve decided to employ ourselves.

I should be terrified. This is nuts, right? Except I feel the most sane I think I’ve ever felt.

With this decision, with both of us all in, our formerly erratic lives have ballasted. All kinds of mental energy is free-ranging again; our creativity is through the roof. My blog is late this week because I’ve been painting too much.

All our energies have shifted toward bringing our new life into existence; we’re no longer biting fingernails, praying for a job call, every day devastated if one doesn’t come through. And if a call did come in, then we’d spend every day dreading the inevitable layoff and that’s no way to live either.

We’re done with all of that.

In The Art of Non-Conformity, Chris Gillebeau writes (and I’m paraphrasing poorly here) that when we work for someone else, we’re always at their mercy. I never would have understood that before my half-dozen years held hostage over the contractors’ barrel, but now I just “A-MEN!” And having seen it so clearly now, I can’t un-see it; in some way or another, I’ve been trapped by every job I’ve ever had. Every call at home after hours, every email received while on vacation, every time I felt guilty for calling in sick-- these link me to an anchor I never even noticed.

These days are ripe for unconventional lives. I’ve spent so long trying to nail down a conventional one, I forgot there were other ways to support ourselves-- other lifestyles more conducive to our personalities, other ways to build and raise our family. All our strengths lie along untrodden ways; why have we been trying to fit into a box all this time when we’re so not box-shaped?

I’m taking my life back. Choosing my own priorities, deciding for myself how to spend my time. I’m painting. I’m writing. I’ve got plans to sell refinished furniture. Teach faux finishing classes. Write grants. I’ll manage Dan’s etsy shop and his blog while he carves up a storm. Not one of these incomes, not limited to one future or one path, but ALL of them. Why didn’t I ever think of this before?

In doing all the things I love most, I actually get more time. Dan and I get more time together as a couple, we get more time as a family, there’s more time for road trips and long hikes. This is not an interim. This is our new lifestyle.

We’re taught there’s only one safe river: go to college, get a job, forge a career, build up the 401k. Buy a house, have a family, put the kids through private school, teach them to follow the river too. There’s nothing wrong with that, exactly, except you’re pretty well screwed when there’s a drought. It sure ain’t raining much these days.

One river’s not enough any more. It doesn’t flow the direction I want to travel. It’s time to seek out hidden tributaries, explore 86 directions at once, immerse ourselves in freshwater abundance.


  1. Like, like, LOVE. So proud of you and Dan for taking control and being yourselves. :) I believe in God and the Universe, and I believe that when you decide, really decide, your world will rise up to meet you. There is a famous quote by Goethe (paraphrase), "Where there is indecision there is always ineffectiveness... whatever you dream, do it, there is power in decision"


  2. Yes! That's one of my favorite quotes!!