Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Health, Identity, and Adulthood

I find myself posting recipes for stuff I've cooked. I also post regularly about my thoughts on sleep, as I'm trying out biphasic sleep.  I do this in part because I hope it's interesting or helpful, but under that, I do these things because I'm trying to exert control over my own life.

See, I can't force employers to post job openings, interview me, or give me a job. I can't lower the cost of living so that I can support a family on less money. I can't buy much of anything, as I'm hoarding the money I have so that I can afford to move to the location of job.

However, I can still try to create value. I can cook, I can craft, I can clean, and I can write*. I can work to improve myself by exercising and eating better.  I can hack my sleep schedule so that I have time to do all of these things and still work on applying for jobs.

Perhaps it's all a carefully-constructed method of distracting myself from feeling worthless because no one has found me worth paying (yet).**  If so, it's a relatively productive one. I have plenty of unhealthy coping mechanisms for this, so encouraging the healthy ones definitely appeals to me.

I think it's also part of my attempt to build an adult identity for myself, though. Now that I have more opportunity to make my own decisions about how I will live my life as an adult, I want to put some conscious thought into what I want to do with my life, in terms of both my career and personal life.

Over the past few weeks, I've been asking myself questions like these:
  • Am I willing to reduce my consumption of certain foods and increase my activity level to lose weight?
    (yes, but I'm not giving up cheese or dessert entirely, no matter what the literature says about dairy and sugar. I'd rather exercise more than feel hungry, but staying sedentary is not an option: I want children, and I need to be fit before I can have them.)
  • Am I willing to relocate to get a job? How far?
    (yes, but I want to be able to get home for Christmas, and it needs to be close enough to civilization so that K can find a job, too)
  • What do I like to do in my spare time?
    (it took me a while to remember that, hey, I actually really do still like crafting! because I had no free time during college: I wanted to learn as much as I could because I'd already paid outrageous sums. It feels really good to create things again.)
So, even if some of the things I do and write about don't relate to becoming an adult on the surface, I'm still in the process of building my identity, and the new activities are part of the new identity.

I'm sure it will all change again soon enough.
*An aside: it's a little bit irritating how this list contains skills that can be considered "women's work" (except, possibly, for the writing). When I was young, no one taught me how to fix cars or program computers or build things with power tools. Instead, my parents shipped me off to innumerable summer camps where I did lots of crafts, most usually in a class full of girls. I had fun, but did not learn much in the way of marketable skills.

**To me, this seems like a fair metric. When something is valuable, you pay for it in one way or another. No one seems to want to pay me enough money for me to survive (yet), so I am not (yet) worth much to anyone other than my parents.

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