Monday, July 13, 2009

Ms. Grouchy Pants

I'm sitting on the deck in the dark, head to toe in wool. It's a cool Central Oregon night. Until an hour ago, I was reading up on hydrotherapy, in preparation for putting lesson plans together for my Wednesday class. So often this semester, my first teaching a class such as this, I've had my head buried in a textbook, or been hunched over my computer, fiercely emailing the colleage who also teaches hydro.

I think I'm supposed to be having fun. I like long-term projects. I'm excited when my students get excited, and running my own show in front of the class appeals to me. Hydrotherapy is such a great, natural treatment that nicely fits how I think healing should happen. By teaching, I'm also not having to massage so many bodies that house broken spirits. But it's not really working.

There's an inordinate amount of frustration in the massage (read: drama) department at the moment, both for students and faculty. My pay is laughable, given how many hours I spend planning for a four hour class. I don't really have a mentor at this crucial point in my nascent teaching career. I don't know how to balance the enormous quantity of information in the book with the pressing need to demonstrate a variety of treatments in the short time I have available each week.

And I'm just unhappy that I'm not living the life I want in this place I chose, even though I have the job I aimed for.


Today I wanted to wander aimlessly across the hilltop field that stretches to the Sisters in the distance, wearing a full and dramatic skirt, bending occasionally to study the flowers or a dead bug, reveling in how gorgeous the light is a few hours before dusk. I wanted to hop on my bike and explore some new, quiet roads. I wanted to call my nana and talk with her about her newfound fascination with plate tectonics. I wanted to read lots of well-written blogs and be inspired by them, I wanted to take a friend's recommendation for a great book.

I didn't move all the way out here to be frustrated, to notice in the mirror this afternoon that the lines around my mouth have taken a distinctly downward turn. I don't want our deck to become a facsimile of outdoor-ness, because I can't really take the time to be outdoors.

It's easy to blame my seeming entrapment on a horrible economy, my Puritan practicality, my guilt over giving up on a new job, the overwhelmingness of trying to start a new life... But really? What's holding me back is that I just don't know what the heck I'm supposed to be doing with my life. I may have ended up where I wanted to be, but I have no idea what to do.

Ugh. Anyone have any good stories about finding your purpose in life, or maybe just some satisfaction with your work? Please share!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hammocking in Central Oregon

Bend has a bit of a reputation for its obnoxious quantity of 'elites' - elite bikers, elite skiers, elite climbers, elite kayakers, elitists... etc.

When we first moved here, we were really concerned about how to find our place. We didn't want to have to keep up with the seeming everyone who owns 27 bikes and 16 pairs of skis, and uses at least one (set) of each on any given day.

And really, what about all the other wondrous things available to us out here, beyond the well travelled roads and ski trails? Do we always have to be moving, and quickly, to enjoy Central Oregon?

At one time, I would have clamored to be part of that elite. Unfortunately or otherwise, the most persistent feature of my gluten intolerance has been fatigue, and so the psycho schedule I used to keep - rowing at 5 am 4 days a week, bike commuting back and forth to my massage office 4 or 5 days a week, doing 4 hours plus of massage a day, going for big rides at least once a week, and managing the rest of my life in my spare time - isn't currently an option.

(However, I have inadvertently become one of the best rowers in Central Oregon by virtue of being one of only about four rowers out here. Hello, Bethanne, Doug, and Doug's girlfriend!)

...Or otherwise, gluten intolerance has given me my life back. Yep, sometimes I'm tired, and more often than not I just don't have the endurance I used to. So I head out in my boat, perhaps, and spend a lot of time watching the breeze on the surface of the lake. Or we go to the river and float down it in cheap pink inflatables from Target (definitely not elitist gear). Or maybe we go nowhere at all, and hang out in our new hammock, under the whispering branches of a big juniper and within sighting distance of the Spotted Towhee on our bird feeder.

Wouldn't it be great if all of our humble backyards became destination vacation spots, because the hammocking is just so top notch? We can all be elite hammockers with just a lazy push...