Over the past three days, I have addressed the topic of what it's been like being separated from the military for a year now. If you haven't followed this series, you may want to read the previous posts before you continue reading this one. Here are the links: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
I'm going to wrap this series up by sharing with you what's going on right now in those three areas I wrote about earlier–home, job hunt, friends. While a lot of what I said wasn't very positive, I am happy to report that things are looking up!
Job Hunt :: I mentioned in this post that in April I cut my hours at work in half. Around this time, Chris took a part-time position with Walt Disney World. The hours sucked (he worked nights), the pay terrible (minimum wage) and the commute long (1 hour & 20 minutes one way). But the perks were GREAT–free admission to all the parks for the two of us and 3 guests! Needless to say we spent a lot of time in the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT & Hollywood Studios over the past few months. His Disney experience is worth a separate blog post which will be coming soon! His time at Disney lasted a few months. Three weeks ago he was offered an entry-level position at USAA and started training as an insurance adjuster. It will be good to get into a 9-5 routine.
As for my situation at work, things weren't getting any better. There just wasn't enough graphic design work for me to do and there was a push from the top for me to focus more on marketing. Marketing is not what I am trained to do. I had a very hard time connecting to the target audience of whom the products were intended for and just didn't know how to market something I didn't have a passion for. I found myself growing extremely negative. Going to work was literally sucking the energy out of me. Last Wednesday was my last day.
The decision for me to leave my job came with a lot of tears, consequences and a few "a-ha" moments. After working in a corporate office and for small government contractors, I have come to realize that design work in this type of environment is not for me. And it's not that I'm lazy or have a problem answering to authority. I have to have a passion for the product I am designing or (trying) to market.
So with Chris' support, I am throwing everything into building a business through blogging, designing, photography and developing online classes at Scrapaneers. This is my passion. This is where I get my energy from. And while I am not looking to get rich by going in this direction, I will be doing what makes me happy. Doing what you love and being satisfied in your job is more important than the money.
House + Home :: Without my steady income (whether it is a full-time or part-time paycheck) we would not be able to afford a big house on the water (3000+ sq ft). We went house-hunting a few weeks ago and fell in love with one. I got excited and thought I should find something full time again. But then I realized that going full-time would take away from the design/online class work that I love. It was me who had to decide between moving into a large home or working from home. I chose the type of work I wanted to do over the big house. And why the big house anyways? Status? Bragging rights? We are empty nesters! We need to downsize for cryin' out loud! Why work 40-60 hours a week for something you won't have enough time to enjoy or be too damn tired to enjoy it?
Simplify, simplify, simplify. Purge, purge, purge. There are plenty of smaller homes on the water in this area and we don't need half the stuff we own anymore. This week we are going to be looking into getting pre-qualifed for a home loan and start house hunting. Our lease is up in December and soon our property manager will be asking what our intentions are. Even if we don't find something now, staying in this place is okay. Once I realized that we don't need a big place, I've come to embrace the space we are in now and that nesting instinct has finally made it's appearance.
The Social Situation :: Things are still kind of slow in this area. But, one of the perks of living in Florida is that people visit here. We've had several friends over the past few months vacationing in the Orlando area. Being only 90 minutes away, it is easy to meet up for dinner at Downtown Disney. My sweet friend, Anna (we met in Riga), visited last weekend with her boys. She will be in the Tampa area for a few more weeks and we'll get together a few more times before she heads back to Europe.
And then there is Jill, my BF from high school (and now former co-worker). Although she is a good 40-45 minutes away, I know I can pick up the phone and meet her at the mall for wine, dinner and a little retail therapy any time :)
One social outlet that we haven't taken advantage of as much as we should are all of the activities offered here in our MiraBay community. There are parties and social get-togethers all the time at the community clubhouse and pool. Not sure why, but we just haven't explored that avenue yet. Maybe it's because we are renters? I don't know. We'll have to pay attention to the community calendar more!
So that's it. That's what the past year has been like after seperating from the Marine Corps. It's been quite the ride, that really hasn't come to a stop yet. We're getting used to all the bumps in the road though! I really needed to write and get all of this off my chest before I could move on with September Blue and I appreciate all those readers who have followed this series. I'm looking forward to blogging about design, Project Life, online classes, DIY projects, small space living and life in the empty nest.