Monday, September 29, 2008

what is freedom? what is security?

here's a quote from my favorite online astrology site, aquarium age. it's my weekly forecast for this past week:
You've got money on your mind and while money is important, it might be wise to think about why it matters so much to you. The more you understand it's role in your life, the better you'll handle it.
certainly that could apply to many of us, but it has got me thinking. when i ponder why money matters so much to me right now, two words pop immediately to the top. freedom and security. money doesn't solve all my problems, of course i know this. but considering that the lion's share of my worry is around my lack of money ~it sure feels as if more would make life easier.

freedom and security. it strikes me that they are in many way opposing ideas. and that both can be found without any change in finances. maybe i need to define those terms for myself specifically:
  • freedom from worry about how i will pay for necessities. freedom to buy a healthy life-style and diet.
  • security for the future, both near and far. security to know if my health fails, and when i grow too old to work, i have the resources to sustain myself.
when i was working for someone else full time, i looked at owning my own business as the ultimate freedom. now i am on the other side and lately have begun to look longingly at the greener grass over over there. make no mistake, their are freedoms to this life of an entrepreneur. i do set my own schedule, i don't have to get permission to take a day off. i can spend alot of time on healing. yet, the reality is, i am still struggling to make ends meet and my debt mounts. i work all the time, often more hours a week than i ever did for someone else. and mentally, i am never "off", it's very difficult to clock out from your own business.

so my freedom often feels like a trap. it's a fake freedom when your business isn't making money. i can't afford to take vacations and i am certainly not free from worry. i also don't feel free to reward myself, to celebrate in any way that costs money, when i reach a big goal or achieve something significant.

and i have zero security. i have no savings, no investments, no disability insurance. i don't have a spouse or children to depend on when i'm elderly. come april, i will have to fall back onto the oregon state health insurance plan. the state of affairs has begun to bother me on a very deep level.

what i am processing now is this: can i find a way to have both freedom and security? i wonder what form of income creation that would take? working for "the man" in the past has felt very oppressive, i've often undersold my talents and intellect. i know i have spent years in jobs that did not exploit my best gifts and my contributions were not valued.

then i come to this past year. what a crazy fucking year. deep sigh. a year not without it's own gifts, i recognize that. but not a year where i felt freedom. cancer has stripped the romantic glow from life, from my view of my life. i see that as progress, as a good thing. i certainly have not stopped dreaming about the future, there is no stopping the flow of ideas from my brain. but coming out of cancer treatment and leaping into the process of writing an articulate, specific business plan - that was very illuminating.

as i've gone through this month of cleansing, i've been shining a bright, penetrating light on my business plan and my life plan. i've allowed myself to really see where it fall short, where it falls into fantasy and doesn't tell the whole truth. i've been looking at myself with as much objective constructive criticism as i can muster. let me tell you, my friends, it's not all pretty and inspiring.

it has occurred to me that strong, successful business leaders are honest about their weaknesses and in touch with where they often falter. their homework is very complete. and they are excellent at surrounding themselves with people that have complementary strengths. that is the kind of business leader (yes, leader!) i want to be.

i'm also trying to sort out what are my greatest strengths. what are the biggest gifts i bring to the table of business, the table of life? can you tell i've been doing a hell of a soul search? there is a rebel yell bubbling up inside me that feels like it might just blow the top of my head off.

breathe, breathe, breathe.

for most of my life, i have not placed much value on money. i place greater value on people, on relationships, on family, on doing what is ethical and right. i cannot abandon those principles, they literally are my moral fiber, an important part of who i am. i'd like to accomplish this: create a life and earn a living in such a way that provides freedom and security, without compromising my values. i want to work with people that share my values and are committed to making this world a better, healthier, sustainable place for all.

and a final note for this post. i miss making art. my jewelry business is only marginally satisfying. i miss creativity that has no involvement with commerce or marketability. art for art's sake. after three years of my jewelry business i don't want to do it anymore. if i was making a comfortable living, i think i would feel better about the whole thing. but to struggle so much, for so long? i am sick of struggling. i am tired. and a job is a job is a job. making jewelry is a job and lately, has not felt like a joy. all jobs get to this place eventually, it seems.

so maybe my big question is, how can i find or create a job that does not feel like a job?

i am doing my best to think outside of the box i usually stay within.


Laura said...

We seriously need to have tea.

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Please blog. Are you okay?