a meditation on home and occupation

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Today, in my new home, an old friend asks me about my life. Where do I begin? I haven’t seen her since the summer because schedules, schedules, my relapse, my recovery, schedules. So I start by telling her it’s good, really good, better than it’s been in quite some time. I take Mary through a tour of my new home, and we joke about a miniature closet that nearly touches the ceiling, and how it’s too high for me to reach so naturally someone’s hidden a body. And as she settles in and hands me bags of gluten-free flour and xanthan gum, as soon as we settle into the business of baking a bundt cake, I tell my old friend that I’m present in my waking life, and I guess that’s all that matters.

For hours we talk about flour {yes, this is a fascinating topic amongst people who love to bake, who love the alchemy, chemistry, and composition of food}, politics, books, us not feeling the weight of being in our late 30s, our cats, office life, and when I talk about the drawbacks of a consulting life {the hustle, the financial uncertainty}, Mary was the second person in two days who shook her head and said, To a degree, we all have financial uncertainty. You’re just more in touch with it. But think about the person with the corporate job who suddenly gets fired, or the family with unexpected medical bills that chips away at their savings, invoice by invoice, and I realize that we are all beholden to income in some way, shape or form, but at least I have more control over my day.

And while I loathe the hustle, networking and pitching that comes with a freelance life, I get to play architect. I get to invest in my side hustle. I get to write. I get to bake. I get to finally focus on working out as a means of being strong rather than another checkbox I need to tick.

And more importantly, I get to be present, really present, with my friends in this life. No longer do I rush through my days or try to find ways to pack all of my relationships in a small box, a box outfitted with an alarm that goes off in hourly increments. Perhaps this is why I’ve been evangelical about keeping my world small. No barnacles, no shameless social climbers, no listening as a means for waiting for your turn to speak.

No more theatrics. No more Felicia on a stage performing for a peanut-crunching crowd.

What’s made me happy is my home and the energy that occupies it. I was reading a book last night, and there was a scene where a woman described her relationship with her husband in terms of an occupation. She was a woman who was held captive, occupied, surrounded by the ache of a love that no longer lingered, and I thought about that word today. Occupation. A way we articulate a vocation. A gathering. Something militaristic. Something ominous. A woman confined. And as I kept thinking about this word, it dawned on me that I was coming to it from one vantage point. I didn’t see it as a means of positive containment, a way in which we can refuel in order to be released and shine light in front of our feet.

My home occupies me, but it gives me energy, light, and the feeling of so much possibility. As I think about the coming months, which is filled with travel and endless hustle, I keep coming back to my home and the sparse few that I invite into it, and at least I know that I will be occupied by light, and hopefully, god-willing, light begets light.

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One thought on “a meditation on home and occupation

  1. It’s really nice to be able to create your own schedule. I think it’s funny that we’ve constructed a very determinate, linear approach to work (and everything else) when human beings are not determinate and linear. People I speak with usually have dozens of interests, but it’s really hard to realize all of them in a sustained way, sometimes, because after high school, you’re supposed to have figured out the one thing you want to do for the rest of your life. Which is kind of ridiculous. Especially now.

    While it’s true that more and more people are trying to live life on their own terms and make a life doing the things that they truly enjoy, it’s also true that so many other people simply do not have the luxury to dive into something that they would truly love to do–perhaps they are the only breadwinner in the family, or they don’t have the resources to do it, etc. I think it’s important to carve out a space for yourself to do work you enjoy–even if you can’t do it full-time. Creative endeavors, in some cases, are relegated to the corners of our lives–but art is so important. It inspires social change and demands that we see things from multiple perspectives. I mention this because a lot of people who struggle with maintaining financial stability in their work are artists.

    I’m going on a tangent, but I really was taken by this: “Occupation. A way we articulate a vocation. A gathering. Something militaristic. Something ominous. A woman confined.” It’s a really interesting perspective on how we view work. But we can also be occupied in a positive way, like you said.

    Well, here’s to be occupied–in the best ways possible.

    Great post!

    Like

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