Have It All My Ass

Change Your Life ~~~ Change The World

Have It All My Ass

Have It All My Ass
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
January 29
Legal Secretary/Writer
Legal secretary, part time blogger, and now new graduate of Liaison College; Cook-Basic Diploma - have started writing a cookbook. The above picture is a modern day cruise ship behind the Titanic, the largest cruise ship of its day. It's meant to illustrate the advancements in the cruise industry over the last 100 years. To me this symbolizes how out of control and overblown our society is, and the probable inevitableness of the little guy being forever squashed by Big Corporate. Unless of course, we all start to fight back - buy local, make your own, re-establish the barter system within your neighborhood and community, avoid big box stores. Hey, I can dream...


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MAY 22, 2011 1:30AM

Saying goodbye to a road not taken

Rate: 6 Flag

Here it is the May 24th weekend and I am home alone.  My kids are at their dad's, my husband is fishing - he says he'll be home Sunday morning but I'll believe it when I see it.  Meanwhile I am having an orgy of spring cleaning, tossing every piece of junk not nailed down into the 15 foot industrial waste bin currently sitting in my driveway.  And in doing so, I have finally, after carrying them around for 21 years, thrown out my old construction boots.  The last time I had them on was about two months ago, to help my husband move some wood with nails in it, and they were so stiff they hurt my feet.  They are simply unwearable now.


Perfectly ordinary work boots, with steel reinforced toes and rated for shock (or whatever they call it - that green triangle thingy they put on them).  But I loved these boots and have been carrying them around, hardly ever wearing them, but refusing to get rid of them, since I was 21.

That summer, burned out with school and fed up with the city, I was determined to find a summer job outside.  One guy I knew suggested I apply at a local christmas tree farm - he said the guy hired a few girls every year.  I don't remember applying, the interview, or the guy who hired me, but I do remember the job.  You walked in a circle around the tree, trimming the branches into a nice cone shape, then moved on to the next one.  Equipment required - steel toed boots, shin pad, and an 18 inch long machete.

Since my first job at 14, I have worked at offices, a bakery, Burger King, a golf course and law firms.  That tree farm job was my first experience with manual labour and I have never loved a job that much before or since.  Outside all day, one simple job to do, and being left alone to do it.  Taking breaks when you need one.  Listening to my Walkman all day.  Riding to and from the fields in the back of the boss's pickup.  I remember my mother thought it would be too hard for me, but I had a ball.   She took this picture of me on my last day.

work pic 

In the years since, I often thought of that job and tried to figure out why it appealed to me so.  After the past year of self-analysis I can see that it was the physicality and simplicity, and the peaceful environment, that drew me to it.  If I could live my life over again, I would take an apprenticeship, learn a trade.  Even now, if I could, I would love to learn carpentry - or masonry.  That one intrigued my husband - as supportive as he is of my interest in the trades, he has a hard time picturing me working with cement and bricks.  And so would anyone else looking at me right now - 44 years old, 190 lbs, sitting in a chair all day.  But I actually thrive on physical work - it feeds something in me that working at a desk can't satisfy.

I have spent the last 20 years wishing I'd made different decisions, and stubbornly holding onto the hope that one day things may be different.  That hope is the reason I kept the boots - always waiting for a chance to wear them again.  Even now, with all these bills and really no options or freedom to change, I dream of quitting my job to work with my husband, or for his landscaping friend.  To spend my time outdoors, digging ponds, planting flowers...it would be so great. 

But it's not going to happen.  Not unless I essentially give up, quit my job, and tell the bank so sorry but I won't be paying back that loan after all.  If it was just me I'd do it and start fresh, but being responsible for three kids stops me.  To quit a $50,000 a year job to go cut grass for $11.00 an hour - we can't live on that.  By the time all three girls are grown up and I'm responsible only for myself again, I will be 56 years old.

So I took the boots out of the closet - old, cracking, stiff with age.  I put them in the garbage bag.  Then, like an idiot, I started to cry.  Took them back out again.  Left them on the couch for a few hours while I threw out different things.  Then, just before I tied it up, put them in the garbage bag again.  No tears the second time.

I may work part time outside some day.  I may have the occasional day where I can work with my husband.  But there will be no new career in the trades - I'm too old, I've missed my chance.  There's so much more acceptance for women in trades now as well, it would be a great time to become involved, if I could.  There is even a new brand of constuction wear especially for women in trades called "Moxi Trades".  They sell boots, safety glasses, tool belts and hard hats in construction yellow, powder blue, and pink.  So, last week, I went out and bought a new pair of work boots.

new boots 

Just in case.


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Your post struck a chord with me-and it's not too late. The longing you express is strong-keep thinking about it and you will find a way. After all, you are going to be 56 no matter what you do. You may as well show your kids how to get what you want.
You said what I have been thinking a lot lately, especially in the lines:

I have spent the last 20 years wishing I'd made different decisions, and stubbornly holding onto the hope that one day things may be different....Even now, with all these bills and really no options or freedom to change, I dream of quitting my job...

Maybe it is just being a wife, mother, desk-worker and being in the mid-forties and wondering if this is all there is going to be.

I love the pink boots and hope you find your adventure.
Ah hem.....I am 56 and it is not what you think. I can do everthing I did when I was your age. Ageism stinks.
Nicely written. Best to you in achieving the dreams you aspire to.
Beautifully written. Love the new boots.
Wonderful post! I actually wrote a book about this very thing--the message that we can have it all (and the fact that we can't), analysis paralysis in the face of too many choices, grass is greener syndrome, and the lure of the road not traveled. You might like this post, about the grief that is inherent in any choice over the thing we AREN'T choosing--but that we refuse to acknowledge: http://undecidedthebook.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/good-grief/. Again, great post. And I can totally relate to the physical labor thing!
Wow, 44 is SO not too old to start somehing new. But be realistic. Live with, and stop regretting, the chices you made. 3 kids were a choice, living in a manner to incur such debt was also a choice. From our bio, you are pursuing dreams that have nothing to do with your reality, including wishing you chose work i a trade. You have a far better chance making a living at something tangible than at free-lance writing. Especially since you don't even write! (though the writing here is not bad). Sorry I can't offer tea and sympathy, but I think you need a new world view for yourself.
PS My keyboard is failing and I apologize for my typos.
jump, jump, jump!
a new career is possible at any age, and life is short
Thank you everyone for the comments. Wow, my first Editor's Pick. This was a nice start to the day.
So many of us think we're stuck! I can empathize with your longing and your astonishment at the way your life is unfolding. I'm nearly 36 with 2 children and have the same feeling that it's too late for drastic change; however, all the wisest people (our friends and family among them) tell us that it is NEVER too late. Please find a way and tell us how you did it! I'll try too...:)
Good for you. At 57, I still dig up my own trash trees and haul rocks around. I pay for it later and realize it can't go on forever. But I feel the exact same fondness for my ancient Red Wings.
I love this - I have a serious streak of shoe momogomy myself. Now I wish I'd kept certain pairs - turned them into an art project/wall hanging.... they mark more then time and hold who we've been in ways nothing else can.I've even seen them used as planters for flowers... Love the new ones! Your piece got me thinking. Nicely done! Congrat's on the EP to. r
Good on you for throwing them out. People think they own their possessions, but at what point does it become the other way around?

When I began work on my PhD at the University of Massachusetts, I boxed up all my textbooks and hauled them to Massachusetts with me. When I transferred to the University of Arizona, I boxed up all me textbooks and took them to Massachusetts with me. When I got my first faculty position in Maryland, I boxed up all my textbooks and took them to Maryland with me.

When I got the job in Ghana, I said, "I'll be damned if I take these to Africa with me," and I just left 'em in an alley for anyone to take of they wanted to.

In 2009, when I went to Ethiopia so I could be with Ghanaian wife (it's a long story) I put four boxes of stuff in storage at a friend's house. Anything else I couldn't fit into three suitcases and a carry-on bag, I left in my apartment for the janitors. Haven't missed any of it.