Freelance by Jen

Consider me the No More Tangles of your writing needs.

This is a sentence that my husband frequently says. Well, like, the blank is always filled in with a word, of course, but it highlights his quest for knowledge. A quest that, I have to say, doesn’t seem to have real limits.

In the past four months, he has taught himself pretty much everything about home remodels and a whole lot about car repairs. He can build a shower pan and he can put in an alternator. He can landscape and has an eye for planting that has made our yard incredible this year. He can build an entire floor that started as a literal hole and he can re-plumb a bathroom.

As for me, I’m not sure that the phrase “re-plumb a bathroom” is even real, and I’m too lazy to look it up. I look admiringly at him and see a therapist, salesman, plumber, construction worker, mechanic, general handyman, river god, gardener, and master griller of all foods. And then I go clean the kitchen, usually make myself some food, and go back to staying right in my pretty narrow lane.

Don’t get me wrong. I have learned a very little myself in these months of loose ends. I can cut tile. I can demo like mad. I can re-set a garage after raccoon mayhem ensues. I can read plants and flowers fairly well and give them what they need accordingly (it’s usually like, sun or no sun or water or plant food). But really, it’s getting harder and harder for me, as I age, to want to learn new stuff.

Case in point: I bought a Microsoft Excel Mastery course from StackSkills recently after I saw an ad for it once, clicked on it, then was pursued relentlessly with more ads. I’m weak. But I also need to know a lot more than I currently know about spreadsheets, formulas, and what the hell to do with data for my job (she says cavalierly, having no confidence that she has a job). So I bought it.

This is Day Three of trying to make myself get through even the intro. On Day One, I made it through five modules, realized almost immediately that I hadn’t retained any of them, and am currently re-watching them and trying to do the things alongside my boy Warrick the Instructor, who has the casual confidence of one who understands something that can piss right off, according to my non-data-leaning brain.

Also, he’s teaching in the 2016 version, which I don’t have, so it’s been fun finding the places that my version has hidden the 2016 options. (Seriously, why does EVERYTHING have to be upgraded? I know why. It’s money, isn’t it.) So far, I know how to merge and center. The next module goes right to formulas. And that’s where I get real nervous.

The point is, I like what I like. The heart wants what it wants. It’s just that I want to read stuff and write stuff and eat stuff. I did try a new workout routine that I love and look forward to every day, but that was born entirely out of my desire not to go back to a gym and sweat near other people who are also sweating.

I’ve been re-organizing and scaling down on stuff in our house, but I already love doing that kind of shit. I’ve been working on potions for maximally-flavored, minimally-caloried protein drinks, but that’s just because I really like stuff that tastes good and doesn’t make me fatter.

I’ve been trying to learn to give myself a French manicure, which is hard because I’m not ambidextrous. And I got a wok and fell immediately in love with it, the second before it became impossible to find the stir-fry veggie blend I love and meat prices skyrocketed.

So yeah, I dabble in adventure. I’m no stranger to fun. I’ve learned more about identifying trees, sure. But having a lack of fun around is rarely the problem.

It’s just, how does one go about caring about things that are just not interesting? Like, I genuinely need to understand some Excel stuff, but I genuinely don’t WANT to, either. Telling myself I have to do this much in this amount of time works, yeah. But it’s the retention, man. It’s so hard.

So anyway, what are you doing? Picked up any hobbies? Learned anything you’re really excited to have learned? Tell me all about it! I’ll just be here, legitimately weighing if it’s more fun to listen to a nine-minute video on formulas or dust my entire house.

Here’s something else I love: the song of the day.

Song of the day: Wasting Time, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. This one feels particularly appropriate today. And I have spent close to five years loving Nathaniel Rateliff with my whole heart, so I want you to love him, too.

Quote of the day: the above photo containing some of the many beautiful words by Alan Watts, a philosopher my son introduced me to when he was in high school (my kid, not Alan Watts. haha!). The beauty about life is that, no matter who we are and how we are in any given moment, there is no mandate that it has to stay that way. So let’s all chin up (ooh! I also learned about face yoga!) and move forward together.

And it’s totally okay to make it fun, even when it sucks as bad as formulas.

One thought on “I’m Basically a ___ Now.

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