Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Decisions and money

I really don't like looking for a job. I'm not an especially competitive person and I am way too honest for the resume and interview portions of the Job Application Pageant. Another problem is that I don't know exactly what I want to do.

I've spent years in the fitness industry, and I just don't feel like I fit there. I can do it. I even think I'm fairly good at it. I'm just not a fitness kind of guy. I don't really want to help anyone look good in a swimsuit, I think there are far greater concerns in the world that I would rather be working on.

So I've applied with health departments and alternative transportation organizations, but I haven't had any success. My lack of success is probably closely related to my lack of experience in those areas.

And then there's alternative building methods that really interests me. I have absolutely no experience and very little knowledge in that area. I called up a green building company to ask if they had any openings. They asked me if I had any experience. I said no. They asked about my education. I said that I had advanced degrees in exercise physiology. They asked what I thought I could do. I didn't have any idea... So I stammered around and said that I just wanted to do something. Oddly, they weren't looking for anyone at that point. I haven't called on green builders since then. I have tried to get into volunteering somewhere, but I really haven't found anyone who is willing to take me in.

So I'm sitting here, doing nothing and it's driving me nuts. OK, I'm not really doing nothing, but I'm not satisfied with what I'm getting done. I'm doing quite a bit of reading and I enjoy that. I've also started writing a book. So far it is terrible, but I still work on it because I feel that the premise has potential and it makes me feel like I'm doing something.

Oh, and I apply for jobs. I apply for jobs that I fear getting. I apply for jobs for which I'm terribly over qualified. I apply for jobs that I'm excited about. I apply for jobs that I hope I don't get. I apply for jobs that I don't think I could do. Sometimes it feels like a game because I just keep applying for jobs. I've had seven interviews in three months, so I don't feel like it's going that poorly, but I would like to be doing something more.

Here comes the big decision that weighs on me. We have money in savings and we could continue to live like this for another year or more as I continue to put in applications to various jobs (which would drive me nuts). Or, I've thought of starting a business. I've done it before, it's not that difficult. I mean it's not difficult except the making enough money to support your family part of starting a business. Starting the business is really easy.

What business would I like to start? I could make soap (except I doubt supporting a family on that income). I could start a pedicab company in a mid-sized town somewhere, except I fear the start-up cost and the ability to make money at it. I could start an alternative building company to help build houses for the poor (that really excites me), except I have no building experience, no equipment and the poor are generally not good at paying for things.

That seems to leave starting a fitness business. I could do it, I have confidence that I could make it a good business. I have confidence that I could support my family with it. I also have confidence that it would drive me nuts on many levels because the services that I think people need, are not the same as what they think they want.

I've been sending out some more unconventional propositions asking for exchanges and different approaches to saving money, starting a business or finding a job. I'm excited about that. I'm excited about unconventional. We'll see.

But for now, I'm going back to writing my book that needs a lot of work so that I can make my millions as an author.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I just read a parable that I really liked.

A king went to a garden where he found two beautiful mango trees. One of the trees was heavily burdened with a wealth of fruit. The other tree was just as healthy and beautiful, but did not contain a single mango. The king enjoyed a mango and continued on his path.

When the people of the village saw the king eat the fruit of the mango tree, they took this as a sign that it was free for the taking. They climbed the tree and picked every piece of fruit from the tree. They tore off leaves, broke branches and otherwise pillaged the tree to make sure they removed every piece of fruit.

When the king returned to the garden, again he saw two large mango trees. The tree that had formerly born fruit was broken, unhealthy and otherwise looked scraggly. The tree that had never born fruit was still a large beautiful healthy tree.

The king empathized with the broken tree as he felt heavy laden with the burdens of the kingdom and wealth. He saw the hope in the freedom, liberty and health of the fruitless tree. The king then gave up his golden bowl of a king along with all of his other riches and power and replaced it with a clay bowl of an aesthetic monk.

Friday, March 18, 2011

What I miss

So we've been living in our trailer for nearly 3 months now. When we left we sold a whole lot of stuff. At the time I was amazed at the quantity of stuff we were getting rid of it. I wondered what I would wish I still had.

Three months into the adventure, here is my thought. I miss my compost bin. Of course it would be sort of disgusting to haul around a container of rotting food waste, but it really bothers me having to throw away something that could be made into perfectly good dirt rather than sitting in a landfill, likely breaking down anaerobically contributing to global warming. As lame as it may seem, I wish I had a way to dispose of food waste.

I miss a freezer. When we had more space in the freezer, we would often make a large quantity of beans, jam or other freezable food and use them for weeks to come. This saved us money and produced far less trash than having to prepare meal sized proportions. As eco-unfriendly as it is, I wish I had a freezer.

I miss my daily bike ride to work. While I get out and play with the kids or do other stuff, I still often feel like a slug. I miss waking up every morning, going outside and getting on my bike and riding to work. I suppose I miss having a job to go to everyday, but that will take away from time with my family that I have been thoroughly enjoying. I will have to get out on my bike more often... or running, I like running. I think it's really sad that my irregular schedule has so drastically influenced my exercise routine. I'm still fairly active, but not as much as I would like to be.

I fear that I'm going to miss some of the tools that I sold, but am also looking forward to getting higher quality than I previously had. At this point I haven't needed them, but I foresee needing them again.

The last thing that I miss is space. The basement of our home was amazing. We could send the kids down there and they would play for hours and hours. The kind of play they did in the basement cause our poor little camper to shake and bounce like you can't believe. It is also very loud. I miss the basement... but I wouldn't give up the kids' close proximity for anything, not even for peace and quiet. (not most of the time anyway).

Quite frankly, I am amazed at how much stuff there is that I don't even really remember having. I remember the size of the garage sale that we had, but what in the world did we sell? We are doing just fine without it, so why in the world did we hold onto all that stuff for so many years?

I'm excited to settle again and have space, and moderate what we bring into our house. I'm excited to live with a lot less than what we had before.