Many, many years ago, I sat in a car dealership hoping to get the car of my dreams: The Mazda RX-8. I knew all the stats. I test drove it multiple times. I compared the prices across the local dealers and those out of state. Yet, as I sat there discussing pricing with the sales guy, while my trade-in was being inspected, negotiations came to a halt.
The sales guy turned to me and asked, “Do you think you can just get whatever you want?”
I was taken aback. No. In life, I can’t get whatever I want, else I would be on a private island with a sprawling personal library to keep me busy for life. But, if I were to spend money on something of depreciating value, you bet I think I can just get whatever I want.
I didn’t say that to him, of course. My head snapped back. My brow furrowed. And I simply said, “Keys. I’m leaving. Get my car keys.”
This story came to mind as I sat to think about what transpired these past two weeks. Why did this come to mind, you ask? I had just completed the book Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher, which discusses the idea that you can do everything you want to do; a class discussion on our strengths and goals for carving out a future copyediting career; and last, a dive into Strong Towns, which advocates for community first city and neighborhood designs.
That is a bit much to think about. So, let’s briefly cover each.
Refuse to Choose
I read this book
for review on my podcast The Productivity Lab
The author, Barbara Sher, discusses the concept of Scanners—people who have a varied interest in multiple areas and seek to explore them. One of many key insights I gained from the book is from the following quote:
When you lose interest in something, you must always consider the possibility that you’ve gotten what you came for; you have completed your mission.
In short, this tells the person that they didn’t fail at anything by not completing that project. They may have simply been unaware of their specific interests in a project; I may love doing the research and design of a project, but I get bored at rolling it out. Maybe my interest should just be on the former and not the latter? With the varying tools and ways of thinking she provides, many people have found—and are finding—that they truly can do everything they want.
My professor asked us to look back over what our co-workers, teams, and managers had to say about our work and where we thought our strengths were. One question was pertaining to salary and work-life balance. I noted that work-life balance is one of the most important things for me and that I would prefer to work half the time I do.
Don’t we all?
I would say that after over twenty years working professionally, I am exhausted of the 9-5. Not that I hate or dislike my current job. I really like it. It is to say that I truly want to make my schedule and focus more on life than work; this means working half the time I do like twenty hours a week or three to four days a week. And I must be remote.
Dreams. I am partly there. I work fully remote with a shifted schedule to accommodate my night owlness aka getting my eight hours of sleep. How can I get to the rest of my wants while maintaining fiscal independence and quality health care? That has yet to be decided, but I truly think that I can get everything that I want.
Last, cities have been on my mind. Not because I like thinking about random cities, but because I am looking at places to live. Compounding on career and working remotely, I would also like a good place to live. I strive for a location that I can be vehicle free for my daily needs; bike paths and lanes; and pedestrian first design.
You get little of this in the U.S. because of zoning laws. If you live in an older neighborhood, you may! I grew up with family homes, neighborhood school, walkable small businesses such as a family-owned grocery store, restaurant, mechanic shop, daycare, neighborhood park, and public transportation. Everything was within the community. I walked to school. I walked to the neighborhood grocer when we needed something; to the local donut shop for a morning treat or to the burger joint for a quick lunch. It was all local. All neighbors. All small business. Now, with the zoning laws, those businesses and middle housing options were blocked from being so close to single-family homes. Small two lane roads were widened into mini freeways and public transportation banned to the ether.
It makes home searching difficult when you want such neighborhoods because they are so hard to find. Sure, time will be on my side for this one, too. Right?