On a good day I would tell you that I have my own startup and a successful blog and I work from home. On a bad day I would tell you that I homeschool and every minute I’m not refereeing brotherly fights, I am cleaning up from one meal or cooking the next.
On a bad day you’d ask me when I work and I’d snap back at you, because on bad days I’m snappy, and I’d say that I work in between everything else.
I usually don’t do written interviews, but this time it was for the Wisconsin Humanities Council, and I don’t want people where I live to hate me, so I did the written interview for their Humanities Booyah blog. Here’s my interview:
Describe your first job and what you remember most about it.
I served ice cream at Baskin Robbins. Peanut butter and chocolate is too hard to scoop because the peanut butter gets too hard. Daiquiri Ice doesn’t freeze and customers complain that it’s melty. Mint chip has too many chunks and malts take too long to make. I quit, but right before I quit I gave away free cones for a whole shift. It made the customers so happy. I realized then that I wanted to do work that made people happy.
Tell us about a moment that influenced your work history.
I was unemployed and I didn’t have rent money. I had been telling myself if I ever ran out of money it would be okay because I could be a nude model. So finally the time came and I knocked on the photographers door, and he answers and right away he said, “Nah. You’re too uptight.” I don’t know how he knew it, but he was right. And then I started really thinking about how to make money reliably.
What do you do on a regular day?
Scream at my kids that I need alone time. Then not get any. Then scream at my husband that I never get alone time. Or I take anxiety medicine. I’m just going to say that I would not need to have anxiety medicine if I had total control of my day and no need to earn money or be a good mother. So I guess the truth is that on a regular day I am realizing that I am not cut out for adult life.
What does the future of your work look like?
No kids. Lots of time to read. And I write during breakfast every day instead of making it.
When you think about making a living and making a life, what comes to mind?
Suicide. It’s fascinating to me that people don’t kill themselves more often. Adult life is very difficult. It’s amazing how strong we are to keep getting up every day and doing it. I have this anthology of suicide notes. Really. It’s called …Or Not to Be, by Mark Etkind. I read them and I can’t believe how incredibly sad they are. Because I read the notes and I think, no way, their life was not that bad, it was just one bad moment. And people loved them. And they loved people. And that’s why they shouldn’t have killed themselves.
I think of all this. And then I think that my life is not actually about making a living and making a life. It’s just about loving people.
Okay. Should I delete that? I don’t know. I just checked the pasta and I have about five more minutes to write. So I’ll give you a more socially acceptable answer:
I am not sure what it means to make a living and make a life. Humans are programmed to want 20% more money than we have. Really. A ton of research says that no matter how much money we have we think if we had 20% more we’d be fine. Then we get that 20% and it starts again.
It makes sense to me. Think about it: if the person in the cave looked at their pile of berries and said, “Ok. That’s enough” then that cave person would have died. So we evolved from people who never thought they had enough berries.
So we are always fighting against the idea that we need to get more more more. Making a living will just have to be the same as our life.
Oh gosh. I just wrote another depressive answer. You could just put the suicide note book right here. It fits.
I guess I want to say that I don’t know how make a living and make a life separately. I don’t know what works. I know that my son’s cello lessons are really expensive and if he goes to music school he needs a $30,000 cello. That’s all I can think about tonight. That and the pasta and the book.