The Mental Drain and the Year of Two Jobs

It is just past midnight and I recognize today is October 18th.  Today is the day, one year ago, that I was hired for a position at a pet store.  A near dream come true for a pet lady such as I.  Coincidentally, I work some time later today.  And by later, I mean in the early morning but later than now.  I work at the pet store I have called home since this time last year.  No really, I moved right in, and I’m quite snug with the activity within.  Gone it seems are the days when I wait for assistance; for now when I approach the wall of cichlid tanks that converge at the middle of the freshwater department, lit in a glorious glory, I know all that makes up them.  I know as much or more than the lady or gentleman I might ask for help.  It’s humbling, to think where I used to sit as a customer for so many years, and to fit in so fast and adapt so well. I think I adapt well, but at this hour I must be truthful and admit I am actually drained.  I have been more drained of my bodily resources in the giving of further labor.  I never imagined life could be both this tough and rewarding.  Sometimes I wish it were neither and I seek to only reward myself.  Congrats, Heather.  Congrats, Fish Geek Girl.  You made it a whole year.  Now what?

The trouble is I am trying to finish up schooling.  The dream job, as it might be, is also a teaser into the world I would rather abandon studies for.  I have always loved observing fish.  In studying fisheries and wildlife, I do get a close understanding of the world they naturally inhabit.  I can expertly pluck darters from the local streams in a heartbeat.  It’s more intuitive than instructed at this point, but it does little to further my career. I hesitate tonight as I look into my tanks and think what a career might be.  Oh goodness, a career!  That means settling down and babies and maybe marriage if the tradition holds up by then.  I don’t think I can properly prioritize family.  I think of a coworker who gripes at an $80 fertilizer bill her husband’s planted tank habit could rack up monthly, and how it was vetoed in favor of family expenses.  I don’t…at this point, I don’t think I can value anything more than the hobby I so blatantly finance.  Tonight, after all, I brought home enough pet food to make me a tad suspicious in the checkout line.  I’m the crazy fish lady.  Who also has rats, reptiles, and more.  I can only find comfort in the fact I stopped at one cat.

My energy is being siphoned in all directions, I can feel it.  I feel a sharp dread whenever I sit, just knowing I shouldn’t be sitting but that I really can’t help but indulge.  I wish so desperately I could resign to a simple life, farming my zoo and working one mediocre job til I croak.  I suppose that isn’t a fair existence, though.  It doesn’t do my family or upbringing justice.  I’m a very smart girl, when I want to be.  It just seems I apply my energy in all the wrong places.  But it isn’t wrong to me, now is it?  I just gotta get the degree.  I know I have it in me.  I know I can do it, and that’s the worst part about failing so hard.  I’m scraping by in all aspects of life when my energy siphons four or five ways at once.  I’m on empty, and sleep only recharges me halfway.  However, I can quit nothing at this time.

Sometimes I wonder when the scale will tip in my favor.  I already pointed out I serve people very little.  I don’t fully know what I have to offer.  I don’t fully know what will happen in the lifespan I might have.  I know what I do now matters, but I know the stress of the present will put nails in my coffin of flesh and bones.  I love this little body of mine.  It is fairly darn efficient for being what it is.  It is, however, capable of only so much and the daily maintenance efforts quickly fall behind the ideals my mind holds.  I want a beautiful space.  I want a sustainable lifestyle.  I want it all.

It is a half-hour or more past midnight now.  I have this blog as a mental diary.  If I don’t write it, I think it regardless.  Those thoughts clog up the mind and slow its function.  So if I leave them here, they are always safe to revisit.  I don’t have to hold them so close, if I let them go.  I know where I can reflect on this.  I drain my ideas onto keyboard, and it flows from my fingers accordingly.  It is here, forever, and I am aware anything I say or write in the virtual world has the potential to haunt me.  Maybe I want to be haunted by these words.  They like to linger, after all.  So I breathe in deeply and give it no further thought.  Reality can be altered in infinite ways.

Cheers to a year