Somewhere around the time when I was studying Shakespeare and tending bar for unruly fraternity bros, I began forming an image in my mind of what my wildly successful adult life would look like. This image usually included a massive city skyline and posh apartment, subway rides to the high rise where I’d work as some kind of important executive for a large publisher or marketing firm, and a wardrobe comprised of crisp blazers, pantsuits, and patent leather pumps — none of which I would launder myself.
And many times that image portrayed me alone, some sort of stylish spinster.
Afterall, I thought that’s what true independence looked like. A solid CAREER bringing in plenty of money for the upkeep of image and reputation, an exciting lifestyle in a buzzing metropolis that was sure to keep me from family, friends, and serious partners, and a calendar packed so full of social engagements and work responsibilities that my only free time would be spent dramatically sighing over coffee or mimosas about being sooo busy and sooo tired.
And I was happy with this prophecy.
I mean, I was a budding feminist with an impressionable mind and naive notions about what it meant to be a successful woman in the modern world — breaking the glass ceiling and all of that.
And then I went to grad school and read Karl Marx and my whole outlook on that changed… but that’s a different conversation for a different day.
Basically, I guess it just never crossed my mind to actually live out my passion and interests during that whole time I was planning out my future. I could talk, write, or think about literature, music, and art all day, and thoroughly enjoyed doing so when I was forced to in my various years of schooling.
But I never let it go much farther beyond that.
The enjoyment I experienced cultivating my passion was merely an added bonus to a means to an end. I HAD to get a degree to get a CAREER, and I just happened to be a lucky one who enjoyed the process. I loved writing and excelled at it, but I didn’t really consider the possibility of somehow making it my livelihood. My writing would simply help me get the degree to get the job to get a better starting position in the rat race — I was not going to be A WRITER.
Did I mention that in addition to the labels of “Feminist” and “Marxist” that I was applying to myself at the time, that I was also becoming a “Realist”?
The shedding of such labels has been the most recent, and perhaps the most difficult, development on our adventure from the norm (though I still consider myself some degree of all of those things), yet it has been the most freeing.
Why shouldn’t I be a writer? The only one who has been putting limitations on me is me. Even with the inception of this blog, I was limiting myself. If it’s going to succeed, then it has to be a certain thing, it has to look a certain way, I thought. Talk about a glass ceiling.
I let the fact that this project didn’t take off overnight or amass some large following overshadow the reality that those who do read it really enjoy it and simply wish there was more.
Perhaps thinking that I couldn’t make a living through my passion is actually the unrealistic thought. Of course I’ve been involved with writing since my college days, and writing and editing does earn me the tiniest bit of money, but I don’t think I’ve ever truly taken myself seriously with it. And if I don’t, why would anybody else?
I see that now.
The same goes for Sean. Why shouldn’t he share his music? Nobody who’s heard him would deny his raw talent and skill, and even his mother is a bit baffled by where this ability to compose full pieces of music came from.
We’ve only recently discovered that there’s no reason to do exactly what we want, exactly how we want to do it.
So we’re excited to finally have the courage, or content, or whatever it is that has motivated us to actually do something with all of the creative stuff we’ve been sitting on. It’s like we’ve been acquiring a collection of original ideas and useful skills and we’ve finally figured out what we should do with them.
We still have to support ourselves, though, and are lucky to have professions that cater to our goals and desires. Shortly after buying our Shasta and embarking on this Life Rustic journey, I spent some time hustling for freelancing jobs that I could work on remotely from our tiny house on wheels.
It’s a jungle.
I’m now teaching a few English classes for a college here in Colorado, and I couldn’t be happier. Campuses are spread throughout the area to teach at, and with some of my classes being online, I need to be at school only a couple of days a week.
And with each campus being right at the base of the Rockies, I really don’t mind being there.
As for Sean, his work continues to take us around the state and to neighboring ones, too. With seasonal work for an organization in Denver, and roofing and construction projects taking us on rounds through Missouri, Kansas, and, Oklahoma, too, it was a job of his in New Mexico that kicked off this nomadic adventure in the first place.
We went down with an empty apartment and full storage unit, and came back with a vintage Shasta travel trailer and a new way of life.
Which means we don’t have the typical work week.
That also means we have no excuse for the other work that we do that goes unnoticed — unnoticed simply by our own doing, by not doing anything with our work. It’s nearly an oxymoron, isn’t it?
But after a long and muggy visit to the midwest, we are invigorated by our return to mountain air. Our summer schedule may become a bit hectic, but we are excited for it. With work commitments taking us all over the place, we are employing the use of our new love — a little A-frame tent — over the course of a couple months, rather than pull the Shasta on every round trip around the Rockies.
Plus there are a few rough areas we’d like to explore this summer that would probably knock the lights out of our poor little Shasta. Her glory days occurred in the 1960’s, mind you.
And I’d be lying if I said we weren’t looking for an excuse to spend a ton of time in our tent, as we’ve nearly made our minimalism into an extreme sport.
Sounds pretty far removed from my plans for posh apartments and pumps, I know.
The drive is the same, only the scenery has changed.
So, we’ll see how our ventures carry on this summer. We continue to grow, adapt, and evolve on this journey, and so far, no bump in the road — literally or figuratively — has been too detrimental to be deemed anything more than some sort of learning experience.
Even if we’re cussing when deeming it so.
We know each moment of this Life Rustic is necessary and meaningful, and we intend to treat them as such.