Is it that time of year again?
That time of year when, filled with spring energy but foiled by stubborn snow-drifts, one paces around the house, catching up on chores, until all the chores are caught and subdued, and then… and then what? Then you start doing silly things like Googling yourself, only to discover… Damn, that’s right, I had a blog, once.
And for once, I wasn’t too embarrassed by what I found.
Actually, I found that this Feral Vermonter thing makes as much sense as it ever did. I started this blog during a period of unemployment, to keep the wheels turning, to conjure a little inspiration, and maybe, just maybe, to encourage someone else in my situation, someone broke, and feeling bleak. Well, through many twists and turns I do have a job now, but like so many of us out there I’m still just making do.
Since my last post here, we got married, and then I went back to school, and then we moved. A lot has changed! But as they say… much remains the same. Life in southern Vermont’s still pretty tough. The poor are still getting poorer, and the rich are still getting richer (but don’t get me started). Worst of all, most people I know, including myself, seem subtly ashamed of where they are in life: unemployed, under-employed, or employed but totally overqualified for the job they’re doing (notice I didn’t say what sort of job I had?). We say these things like, “it’s just for right now,” or, “it’s only until I find something better,” but in our quiet moments of doubt, we ask ourselves, what’s wrong with me?
There’s a lot to unpack here, and maybe we’ll get to it in later posts. The main thing here, the problem, is that we think it’s all our fault. But here’s the thing: it’s not. Sure, maybe history or creative writing wasn’t the best choice as a major. Maybe we’re sorta lazy, or spend too much on clothes or wine, or we have a nasty habit like smoking. Maybe we should have applied to that job after all, maybe if we were better at writing resumes… But these aren’t the reasons why we’re poor. I’m not going to unpack that right now either, except to say that there’s a great big world out there, full of great big things that we can’t control, and for the most part, these are the reasons why we’re poor.
Say it with me, now:
It’s not my fault!
Am I right? Shouldn’t anyone working an honest forty hours make enough to live on? Shouldn’t anyone willing to work be able to find it? It’s not our fault that the factories closed up and left town. It’s not our fault that the big-box stores came and sucked all the life out of main street. It’s not our fault that modern-day robber barons crashed the world economy. The point here is not to make some grand thesis about the true causes of our economic woes–you can replace the list above with any great big things beyond your control: after all, it’s not your fault the locusts came this year. If locusts were the cause of all your misfortunes, you’d be crazy to think it was your fault–so why do we think it’s all on us when it comes to jobs?
So, go easy on yourselves, folks, and good luck out there!
PS: I’m not gonna make any grand pronouncements about my plans for this site, but hopefully over the coming year you’ll see some more posts: more recipes, more wild gardening ideas, more musings on how to live the good life, when you’re barely making ends meet. If you find you like what I’m doing, drop me a line!