December 6, 2014

When life hands you lemons

by @ 1:03 pm. Filed under growing up, observations on life

Last winter I was cleaning toilets because the Austin job market was IN the toilet.    As a freelancer, I had reached the point where I had no money coming in and it pained me to take a job that paid minimum wage.  Cleaning toilets started at $15/hr and had a schedule flexible enough that I could continue to work with clients that were struggling to get by.

Life handed me lemons, I was making lemonade.  I moved up cleaning toilets.  I started making more money, I was given a false sense of security as I churned out gallons of lemonade. [ I also got a clearer picture of the economic situation in Austin.  I was thoroughly disgusted by the fact that dual income families had to have housemates.]  Last spring, I realized, if you are going to make lemonade, there should really be a lemonade stand to go with it.

Yes, when you are drowning, you seek out the first thing to keep your head above water, but eventually you have to check to make sure that the thing that you are holding onto isn’t going to get sucked under the current as well.

In May, I resigned from cleaning toilets. I had gone to Chicago for the weekend, and after several failed attempts to get back to Austin, I decided that maybe I was due for a change.  I started scavenging for the next thing.  I could hit the road with my housemate and go west.  Then what?  Stay there?  Go back to Austin?  Maybe Head east and watch my friends kids until I found a job?  Move to Dallas? I packed my things in storage and I went west.

The whole process of getting out of Texas and to California taught me a valuable lesson.  When life starts to look like the scene in the “B” horror movie where you are squirming in your chair telling the innocent teens not to go into the basement,  run back up the stairs and get the fuck out of the cabin in the woods.

I knew exactly how much stuff I had with me, I could call a friend to come and get me or my credit cards could get me a rental car and a hotel.  In the end, I was picked up and the credit card paid for lunch.  Now to figure out life.   I had planned to go back to Austin in August and meet with a bridal client and pick up my car.   But did I really want to drive back to California only to turn back around?  Meanwhile my Bay Area friends told me that I should look at jobs in the area.

I had too much with me to to just pack it all up and take in on a plane so I forged ahead with both plans,  I went back to Austin for the car and the bridal client.  I had job interviews scheduled for my return.   I spent the summer crashing with a friend.   I had given myself until August to figure out a plan to stay in California, or head back and set up camp in Dallas.  I was officially done with Austin.

After a month of freelancing, applying for jobs and going on interviews, I got a job offer.  After a month of commuting, I found an apartment.  Things were looking up. Even better, I am NOT settling. I have a job that is currently using all of my brain, I make more than minimum wage, and I have health insurance.

So lesson learned, when life hands you lemons, if you are only making lemonade, you best learn how to swim or you will drown.  Keep swimming until you can get yourself a lemonade stand.

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