Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Summer 2006: the End

A few months back I reflected upon the summers of 1998 and 2002, and mused hopefully about the possibilities offered by this summer. Late this spring, as my first year of teaching wore me down, I longed for an amazing summer on par with those of 1998 and 2002 in order to replenish me. Right now, I am very near the end of my summer, due to return back to school on Monday, August 21st. Instead of traveling somewhere or doing something amazing during this last week, I'm just hanging out around my apartment because I'm on call this week for jury duty, and thus may be called into one of the local courts any morning or afternoon. I'm a little bitter about that, to say the least.

Now with most of this summer behind me, and the possibilities for the remaining days of my summer squelched by the looming threat of jury duty and necessary but minimal preparations for the school year, I think it's safe to refect upon the summer and begin to assess whether the Summer of 2006 was indeed a good summer, and if there is really a numerological significance to the four-year intervals...

Well, the past few months have certainly been significant, and eventful in a way... Though dozens to hundreds of miles separate me from my core group of friends, I did manage a few highly enjoyable outings with my friends. The spelunking trip was a definate success, with an afternoon crawling around underground followed by a long evening of mildly inebriated discussion of geo-politics and general catching-up. My friend's bachelor party set the bar high for the flurry of bachelor parties that are to follow over the next few years as my friends continue their respective journeys into matrimony. My two weeks in and around Siskiyou County were thoroughly relaxing and, in addition to allowing me to brew several batches of beer, also facillitated a sort of "re-set" in my habits and routines by way of placing me away from my usual surroundings. A trip back to Humboldt County with my counterpart brought with it cooler weather, positive reminiscing, and some damn good sushi. A recent weekend trip brought some blackberry-picking, more beer-making, some thoroughly enjoyable conversation with friends, and some damned-amusing people-watching at the county fair. Somewhere in there I also made my way to a concert festival, and I even seem to remember enjoying my one week of work obligations back in June. So overall, it seems like it was a good summer, right?

Well, I don't know...

You see, there have also been many days spent battling churning discontent. The freedom to live my life closer to how I wish to live it during this summer has, to a great degree, highlighted just how much I dislike my life as it is most of the time. Long story short, my desire to move away from Sacramento and back to a less urban, less expensive, less "California" setting, has only grown stronger. I've also spent a lot of time questioning my involvement in education, and I've become fairly convinced that I shall not stay on this course too much longer. In order to preserve my sanity and my health, I think I need to leave this city within the year, and the profession of education within a few more.

I've expressed my complaints regarding cities before, and regarding education, I just feel something's wrong there, that it's just not a right fit for me. I don't enjoy the work involved in education as much as I enjoy other lines of work, and I seem to enjoy it far less than my co-workers do. And yeah, helping disadvantaged urban youth can be "rewarding" and all, but that doesn't quite do it for me. I think I'd feel more "rewarded" by some higher pay and/or work that alligns more closely with my personal interests. I also feel that my potential for monetary success and/or personal happiness in other lines of work are so great that I'd be a fool to continue in education, that it'd be a waste of my life. Altruism be damned. I need to look out for myself...

Now, those two conclusions - that I need to get out of Sacramento, and that I need to get out of education - both came about when I was traveling away from Sacramento this summer. When I returned a few weeks ago to work on preparations for the school year, I found myself facing an enormous block as a result of those conclusions. Both my residence in the Sacramento area and my work in education were, within my own mind, finite. As I attempted to work, I kept thinking "I don't like this, and it will be over soon anyway." As you can imagine, not much quality work got done. Soon I started wondering how the heck I was going to get through the next nine months of my commitment to my school. It was a dismal scenario.

Thankfully, after some reflection and hours of conversation with those close to me, I've managed to arrive at some sort of resolution. By framing the work I do now as enabling positive changes at a later point in my life, I think I've given myself the fuel I need to make it through this ordeal.

So what's the plan? Work as much as I can and save as much as I can to increase my total net-worth and thus bring me closer to the dual goals of buying a house and having the capital to start a business. I also intend to educate myself as much as I can regarding my intented eventual pursuit, in particular making use of my summers to do so. And the end goal? Move away from here and start my own brewery within five years. In five years' time, I intend to be living elsewhere (though the moving elsewhere part can happen as early as next summer) and working seriously at starting a brewery.

Am I crazy? I don't think so. Craft brewing is a growing industry, I think I have a knack for it, and I spend so much time thinking about brewing and beer that I might as well be working in the industry anyway. I know that I am happiest when working in a creative capacity, and I think that, no matter how hard the work, I'd be well satisfied.

I've mulled the brewery idea over in my head for much of the past four years, and the farthest I've ever gotten is "I'll think about that later." It's damned scary to think about starting up a business, which is a damned expensive and risky proposition. But I'm tired of settling for the status quo and ignoring my dreams. I'm also thoroughly confident that, though fate may be fickle, and though the odds and chance may in fact not favor me, that I do possess an enormous degree of competence and capability. I should just go for it - it'll probably work, and I'll probably be happier.

Having come to this conclusion, I feel greatly relieved and reinvigorated. And the very fact that I came to this conclusion, I think, is reason enough to declare this summer a success. Leaving college, I was most definately uncertain regarding my career and general direction in life, and part of the reason I gravitated towards education was that I figured the summers off would give me an opportunity to "figure things out" a bit more while recieving a paycheck. Now I have things a bit more "figured out," and I'm growing emboldened to take the steps towards my desired future. As tumultuous as the road here was, this is a good place to be.


At 11:33 PM, Blogger Drakage said...

Well said. I toast your determination.


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