Why does it take me so long to write on this? I need and want the practice, so I have a few drafts but few of them get finished. Which reminds me that I have fabric to be fashioned into curtains… but I haven’t finished them either. *sigh* I have, it seems, too many projects and not enough time.
So, officially, it is one year later since I’ve written on our blog. And when I say “our” I guess I really mean “mine.” Mike hasn’t written anything on it, though I’m not surprised. It’s not his thing, it’s mine. Perhaps Nicholas will contribute something!
The last thing I wrote about was the Imagination Station playground. We happened to visit it recently, to celebrate its 1 year birthday. It still looks great and is extremely popular. There were many familiar faces who came to celebrate, and of those, there were a few people that I hadn’t seen in a year. It was good to catch up, and to look at all of the kids clearly enjoying every inch of the playground. Nicholas still has his favorite spots: sitting ON the tunnel slide, the swings, and just running around the whole thing.
There is landscaping around the perimeter of the playground now, and inscribed pavers in the area of the main entrance sign. From a distance and up close, the entire playground looks colorful and fun. The big bonus is all of the seating for parents – something the old playground was lacking.
The playground project helped tweak my brain into looking forward in terms of what I want to do when I “grow up.” It’s a bit of reinvention as well as recognizing some truths. The computer programming industry has changed to the point where I am no longer marketable. Website design can be done by just about anyone these days (hello WordPress!) and my skills are too basic to ask for someone to pay me to do the work. That pretty much sums up my job skills. So this is where “reinvention” comes in.
I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I’ve asked people who know me well and can be honest with me (in a kind way…!) to get their feedback. I thought of what I like to do, of what I don’t want to do, and of what I’d need to do to get me to… well… that was the final part of the process: The Destination.
- I enjoy gardening, especially organic
- I enjoy cooking and baking (including eating)
- I like working on a computer but don’t want to think about how to make it work
- I would like to learn more without having a full course load
- I want to have time and opportunity to volunteer with school stuff and Scouts
- I want to improve my health
- I don’t want to add significantly to my stress levels
I had no destination in mind and still don’t have a specific one in sight yet. But I know roughly what I’d like to be doing down the road.
Playing with Dirt
This could be a regression to childhood, I really haven’t thought that deeply about it. But I know the work I really enjoy doing that also won’t add to my cholesterol and waistline.
So what’s next? I could fiddle in my own gardens for a while, research and try out techniques and pay attention to the results. I do that already and still feel like there are huge gaps of what I know and don’t know. I looked into graduate school and while a graduate program may ultimately be a part of this reinvention, I don’t know if that’s what would be the best way to learn.
Enter Rutgers University’s Cooperative Extension program, specifically http://njaes.rutgers.edu/extension/
I will hopefully be able to enter their September – March program in the fall. In the meantime, I’m playing in the dirt of my own back and front yards, contending with cold, rainy then hot and humid weather, and a never ending parade of critters that love to destroy what I’ve sown.
It’s easy for me to lose track of time when I’m in the garden – it is no accident that I haven’t replaced the broken battery in my watch. I plug in my iPod and dig, pull, mix, and pinch at will. I am an organized enough person to chart what I’ve planted, going back quite a few years, and what’s worked/not worked. From my perspective, gardening is a sensory-heavy blend of creativity and science.
So now I know my next destination, though there is still a lot of wiggle room for where I will precisely end up. Twenty years ago the ambiguity of that would have terrified me. I think it also would have locked me into a path that I’m simply not ready to commit to. The open-endedness of this is very enlightening and not the least bit scary. It’s nice to know that my 40s have brought me something my 20-something year old self would have shied away from – uncertainty.