I posted before about how busyness seems to make it more difficult to live a simple life.

This busyness involving trying to combine part-time grad school is leading me to burn-out.  I don’t see how I could do two or three more years of this.  Plus, next semester, I will be taking seven credits (eight is considered full-time) and will be starting a fall field placement that will take up twelve hours per week.

So I did the only rational thing I could do.

I quit…


…my job.

Actually, I gave notice.  My last day will be on 14 August. I’m going to have to take out more in student loans than I’d originally planned.  I still plan on working, likely part-time.  I qualify for the health-insurance plan at the university, so that gives me some flexibility. I’m fighting burnout, and I don’t want to be burned out when I *begin* my new career.

Besides, I also see this as an opportunity to do some things I’ve wanted to do but simply didn’t feel like I had the time.

Ever since I started thinking about going back to school, my long-term career goal  has been to start my own private business practice as a therapist–either by myself or in partnership with other therapists.  As such, I’m considering practicing for this possibility by starting my own DJing business.  I want to get a better sense of the market, but given that I already have most of the equipment I need, I don’t see it as a huge risk.

I also have other interests I want to pursue.  I need to get more serious about my spiritual practice as a Baha’i.  I’ve been running around so much over the last year, I feel that I’ve lost my center.  One thing the free time will accomplish for me:  I’ll be able to go to the Green Lake Baha’i Conference for the entire weekend for the first time. I’m looking forward to the jolt of spiritual energy I hope to get from it.

I also want to get serious about a good diet and exercise program.  I’ve gained a decent amount of weight during my first year in grad school.  I still have a goal of making my bike my main source of transport, and that will be easier once I no longer have to commute six miles to a workplace with no shower.

I’ve been interested in getting involved with the Dane County Timebank.  This organization has created what is essentially a barter system for services, where the currency is one hour of your time.  I’ve always liked the idea of this, and I think it would be worthwhile to get involved and see what services I could offer and what services I could receive.

Finally, I want to see to what extent I can further simplify my life.  I want to see how possible it is to feed myself with not much more than the $110 we put into our house food share.  I need to eat more veggies.  I won’t miss the cafeteria and vending machine food at work, even though they made a pretty penny from me.

I’ve worked mostly at desks for over 20 years and it’s taken a toll on my health. I’m not getting any younger. I’m told that my field placement will be less desk-oriented.

This will be a little scary.  Already, there’s a part of me saying “Are you crazy?   Do you realize what you’re doing???”  But crazy would be continuing what I have been doing.

So I’m looking forward to this.  The countdown is at 45 days…

welcoming a new housemate

Last week a woman in her thirties and her young son left behind a condo and a significant number of possessions to join our community.

This is no small deal–I remember what it was like to leave behind my large studio for a single bedroom.  I often joke that with all the furniture I left behind my apartment, the dumpster divers would have certainly named the alley after me had they known me.

Mother and son are currently sharing a medium sized bedroom, but the five year old could hardly contain his excitement for living here.  He has three playmates, including an 18-month old who is quickly becoming like his “baby brother.”

We held a welcoming party for our new housemates last night because we know this is a big deal.  The culture of our house is markedly different from a lot of the student co-ops in town because moving in and out of this co-op is much different than moving in and out of housing catering to students–this tends to be more of a life change than an address change.

It was that way for me nearly a decade ago.  I have no children, but I was about the same age my new housemate now is when I made a similar big change.  Hardly anyone was home when I moved in that day after Christmas, but one housemate was kind enough to go out with me for a drink because she understood that for me this was a big deal.  This was a transition to a lifestyle that has changed my life–a change I continue to be grateful for.

two days after the historic recall election, what did you expect me to talk about–the weather?

With Wisconsin’s historic recall election concluding less than 36 hours ago, what else would I write about?

People are going to spin Gov. Walker’s 53% to 46% victory over Tom Barrett in any number of ways.  I remember when President Reagan swept 49 states in the 1984 election, a look at the blue-colored map (Republicans used to be considered the “blue states” until a few elections ago) with only Minnesota being red, it made it look like very few people were opposed to Reagan’s re-election.  In fact, 40% were.  But that’s what our winner-take-all electoral system looks like, and increasingly, any plurality is often interpreted by the winning party to be a mandate to steamroll the other party with their own agenda.

I think the most remarkable thing about this recall election is the fact that it happened in the first place.   Over 900,000 people–nearly one-fifth of the entire state, signed a petition calling for Gov. Walker’s recall.  This is only the third time in the 236-year history of the U.S. that a sitting governor has been forced to face a recall election.  With a turnout higher than any gubernatorial election in Wisconsin history, 46% of voters indicated that Gov. Walker was not fit to serve out his term.  And now, thanks to a successful recall election in Racine County, the Democrats have a majority in the state Senate, though they will have to defend that majority in November.

But honestly, this really needs to stop being about Democrats and Republicans.  I owe no loyalty to either party, and truthfully, a lot of independents were involved in the protests and recall efforts.

Rather than let themselves be thrown into the cockfighting ring that passes for modern-day partisan politics, I think people mobilized by the effort to recall Scott Walker should start with creating change in their local neighborhoods and municipalities and develop alliances with neighbors.  Especially those neighbors who might not follow the progressive ideological line but with whom common ground can be established.

As such, even though I’m offended every time somebody insists that Madison isn’t part of the “real Wisconsin,” or refers to us as “77 square miles surrounded by reality,” I think it’s also time to take down some of the signs I’ve seen in this neighborhood–such as the picture of Walker’s face with the word “Tool” above it (another on my block, inspired by the grade schooler in the family, refers to him as “Big Meany Butt”)  or the sign that openly says that Scott Walker and the Republican state senators supporting him ought not to be served lunch in this town.

I think that most of us speak differently and with more civility when forced to talk to a person face-to-face.  This is the type of politics I’m most interested in.  Where the biggest difference will be made is with person-to-person contact with people not part of the choir we’re preaching to.