Making a Living Vs. Making a Life

Skylar Smythe Lori Ann Reese Writer Life Texas

Did I ever mention I have the most insightful, brilliant friends?

I relate well to women my age, or women older than me.  Younger women both annoy and frustrate me frequently with their shallow, provincial view points.  I can’t use a curling iron, and every time I try to glue false lashes on, they end up on my nose.  I am admittedly not cool enough to be liked by younger women; and they rarely have the kind of depth of personality or life experience that makes me willing to listen (longer than five minutes anyhow).

And younger women can tell I don’t like them too.  It’s awkward really, and I feel like pointing my finger like “you go spend $100 on those booty shorts, and flaunt that bikini”.  It’s your job to be pretty.  It’s the job of other people to be smart, strategic, strong and determined.  The kind of bitch that helps, and changes things.   I’m deeply intrigued however, when a hot chick has depth and brains.  I tend to fawn on them like they are unicorns (because they are).

Back to my brilliant older friend.

I went to my friends Peg (Florida) and David (UK) for advice.  I feel overwhelmed here in the United States.  The politics are polarized, the shootings are making the gun debate a scream daily, and the racism (however polite or covert) is getting to me a little.  Also, there is no Thai food in North Texas worth writing home about.  And no Asian hot pot (or store to buy hot pot doo dads like baby bok choy, or shrimp balls).  I feel like I score a home run when I find bean sprouts, for fuck sake.  But it is the area I know.  I don’t hate the area (hey, we can see the lake from our new road) but … I’m sick of tacos, yanno?

I don’t feel like this is home yet. The louder the racism and the political rage gets, the more I want to run home to sanity.  To a big city with great Korean BBQ on every corner.   With bohemian farmers markets and brownies that you aren’t completely sure about, in Kensington market.  I know if I go back to that place now, I will not feel the nostalgia.  I am no longer newly minted single midlife poet, writer, toting a two-eyed black chihuahua side-saddle in my back pack, and buying freaky tea’s from the old Chinese man on the corner.   I’m two years into wife and step-mom.  Older.  I’m hoping a lot wiser.   Canadian trying to fit in to her new home in Texas.

From 2013 it felt like I was on a treadmill, you know?  Just so much happened in such a short time, and I’ve distilled it.  It’s done.  I try not to PTSD and reflect on the really bad stuff that happened, but I slip from time to time.  Financially though, I accomplished the impossible.  Tickets, car rentals, flights, immigration, wedding attire, South Fork Ranch for our breakfast buffet outdoor wedding…. seriously?   I did it ingloriously by working until about 2:00 a.m. every night cranking out low paid writing.   Can’t find the good paying work? Do more of the low paying work… ultimately, it still pays the bills, right?

I give myself an A+ in the financials.  I paid off almost $25k in debt in 29 months.   Do the math.  Again, looking back and after I stop saying “holy shit” in my head, I can squeak out a pat on the back.  Building my American credit now, and up to a 686 already!   Get ready Credit Karma… my 800 is coming.  Not that I could switch to Verizon without a $400 cash deposit (on my own credit).  Sigh …

Peg pointed out that my focus has been on money.  Not exploring my new home.  Not spending time (or trying to) with various members of his family who I really really like.  His cousin Laura (although she’s very busy as a President and Executive).  Neely (who is very busy with her forensic accounting career and travels a lot).  Janet, who is usually busy doing cool shit, but lives about an hour away now.  Kaara, who is a part-time photographer, Mom… but I think I scare the crap out of her.  She seems very Zen (I aspire for Zen), but I am that loud, outgoing Italian with a potty mouth (except in front of children).

You can make a living financially, and not make a life.  And when paying the bills is not enough, and you feel isolated (which is compounded by being homesick and missing my friends and family) it can take a big bite out of you.

So geeky but… I’m looking for groups to join and volunteer with again.  People who love animals (especially dogs), plants, fishing and Canada.  I guess that would be a good start.  People who love the environment, yep, I like that kind of person too.  Classic cars, farmers markets, burning pies … the potential is there for someone to find some of that remotely charming.  Maybe.  If I don’t bore them talking about small business, being an entrepreneur, growing my business, marketing, social media, advertising, really cool graphics … (see that’s where I lose them).

I’m the cool chick that used insulated foam to seal her exterior garage door, measured and cut trim and framed the door before her husband got home.  (He’s got many skills but handyman isn’t one of them).  RAWR!  I’m so cool, right?  Would you want to be my friend?

Probably not.  I work a lot.  When I am not working, I talk about work.  When I am not talking about work, I am talking about how we need to make the world a better place by growing some of our own food, and recycling, and buying soap without sulfates, and water reclamation for gardening and animal rights, human rights, LGBT rights, visible minority rights, female equality in salary and the workplace …

And I guess I lose people conversationally that way, particularly when I am speaking passionately.

Let’s be honest; it’s really freaking tough being a closet hippie, liberal tree hugger in Texas, and I hate bars, rarely drink, and get phenomenally excited about growing tomatoes.  I am old now, and may have become the antithesis to fun.   There is not a wild bone left in my body, since I became a step-mommy.  I’ve become a very over worked seriously financially focused creature.  And when there is quiet, I write.  And write… and write.   And contemplate some sad thought that I am platonic taste that few people will ever be brave enough to acquire.  I’m not the best friend but I try.  And I am missing the people who fit so well into my heart, conversations and life.

I just want to meet someone who would go shopping with me at Ross, or someone I could invite over to burn shit in the kitchen (I call it baking-fusion).  But everyone is so busy, and so am I, compounded by working at home alone.    I think I am interesting, but too complex, overwhelming and maybe ambitious for most women.  I’m hard work for certain types of people to talk to, particularly those that want to just drink/smoke and escape into mental nothingness and relax.

I wonder what that is like.  And if I was capable of it, would it be easier to make friends?   That would be a DNA level change I’m not sure I would swing.  Sadly … So now I am looking I suppose for my “incoming Her”. A female partner in crime that feels 100% comfortable around me, and one that will drag me out of this shell and help me love my new home. And perhaps allow me to spoil her a little (because I like doing that to my BFF’s).