If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Monday, June 7, 2010

Feeding Your Soul

While I sometimes complain about my work (especially after a faculty meeting or while trying to route a grant), it feeds my soul.  I know how incredibly lucky I am to have a career that pays me to do what I would do/have to do anyway.

b is not in the same situation.  b has had a lot of jobs/careers over his lifetime and some have fed his soul more than others.  Currently he is working somewhere that he really enjoys with people that he really likes. That is important to mention as he realizes many people can't say the same and it certainly has not always been true for him in the past.  However two incidents have happened recently that have made his current work situation less satisfactory.  Both incidents are related to the economy.

The first was that an aspect of his job that he really enjoyed and received a certain degree of status for doing was taken away.  The company decided to decrease the number of people doing this particular activity and made it a regional responsibility instead of a local one.  While he was given the opportunity to apply for a regional position it would have required a lot of commuting, which did not make sense for us as a family.

The second incident was really a non-incident.  To feed his soul, b takes a leave of absence from his job each summer to teach sea kayaking in Alaska for a famous outdoor leadership school.  Last year enrollments at the school were way down and he did not get a course to teach.  He figured it was a bad year and we went to the Pacific Northwest instead.  This was a beautiful vacation but b really needs to get far away into the depths of nature to feel whole.  The economy is better this year and he had high hopes of getting a course.  Unfortunately, while enrollment is better at the school generally, for sea kayaking not so much.

b yearns for Alaska and the deep wilderness.  Over 10 years ago he planned a kayak expedition through the Inside Passage.  He's decided next year he is doing it, even if he has to do it solo.  Luckily he has about 4-5 friends who want to join him.  Sunday they had their first expedition planning meeting at a local coffeehouse.   Over the course of the year, one or two may drop but it looks like he'll get his trip.

The trip will take approximately 6 weeks.  I will remain behind.  We're hoping I can meet him after the trip for a brief vacation in Alaska but that still remains to be seen.  To be honest, I'm never thrilled with him being that out of touch for so long and this trip will cost us money (his courses basically paid for themselves) even though he'll do his best to keep it to a minimum.  However I've seen him when he comes back from the wilderness and he is a very different man.  We all need different things out of life and this is what keeps b b.


Cynthia Pittmann said...

What is it about the wilderness that awakens us? I understand your b, I used to be an outdoor adventurous type. Now that I'm older and living in the tropics, I feel connected to the outdoors without so much effort.

Anastasia said...

I'm not such a huge outdoor person myself, but I feel like I understand this better than I might because I've spent time in Alaska. The sense of wildness and isolation are like nothing I've ever experienced--and I grew up in the PNW. There's a palpable sense of how big it all is...and how small I am.

Anyway, just saying I'm not really a person who seeks the outdoors but I get the draw of Alaska.

Drax said...

B's just gotta be! Set him free! To be B is to be the anti Not To Be! This B business has become a damn bee in my bonnet! GODDAMMIT PHARAOH, LET B BE, LET B BECOME THAT WHICH HE MUST! CLEMENCY FOR ALL FOLLOWERS OF B NOW!!!

Annie said...

Way before we became parents, my husband took off for three months without me, a planned trip after leaving a job he'd hated for the previous ten years, camping and hiking in National Parks. I joined him for two weeks of the trip, and two years later, we both were on the road together for two months, traveling the U.S., hiking, and staying mostly in National Parks. The connection with nature is essential for many people, and for your husband, it sounds like the physical challenge as well as the outdoors.