Sunday, January 26, 2014

…And Dance by the Light of the Moon

I did it. I finally left my "this place is literally making me ill" job to go back to freelancing full-time. Doing anything as a freelancer is like a feast or famine crap shoot - but freelance writing/editing pretty much always equals "Food is over-rated anyway!" Especially in my little neck of the woods and in this economy, it's tough, tough, tough to make it outside the walls of corporate America and keep roof overhead with lots of bosses instead of just one. Suffice to say I had a plan (which promptly didn't pan out as planned) then quickly made another.

That "other" was going back to newspaper work. Understand that, although I am a journalist, I haven't done much newspaper work - other than covering the school board shenanigans of a district a few towns over - in a while. My first job ever was delivering newspapers when I was in eighth grade. After college, I came home and worked as a staffer for that same paper for over a year. And while going through my divorce, I kept roof over the head of my then six-year old son by covering the city beat (both crime and government) at another newspaper. I've always liked the pace that is working for a daily or weekly paper, so when my current plan crashed and burned, I turned my job hunt radar to area newspapers. I've been an editor now for almost three weeks, replacing a guy who'd been with the company for over 30 years. The work is fun, the co-workers great and the pay is a bit better than I expected. I'm happily doing what I love again, and it feels great.

The only issue I'm having is the hours. My days off rotate - which is fine - but it means my dojo days have dwindled down to a precious few. Once upon a time, I was in the dojo four to five days a week between teaching and learning. This past week, I was only able to squeeze in one class. Sigh…

But of course that does not mean my training has stopped. My kitchen dojo never closes, and many a night in the past few weeks I've gotten in, kissed my Beloved, petted the dog and kicked off my shoes for kihon and kata. I've also done the same in my pajamas before I headed out of the door. In a way, it forces me to be extremely disciplined as I have to plan my training in advance (just showing up in the kitchen without a plan isn't an option) and resist the urge to watch TV for that first hour I'm home. About the only thing that hasn't changed is my lifting schedule, as my gym is open 24/7, so the cardio and moving of heavy objects (yep, picking things up and putting them down) gets done. My new schedule also makes me appreciate my actual dojo experiences a bit more because I know it might be a minute before I get to see and work with sensei and my training partners again. I do have a tourney in two weeks. I'll only do kata - and since the women's executive division is mighty tiny, I usually get to the grand championship round, which is a very good thing. Winning would be even better (as they give a cash prize), but, one can't have everything.

In addition to finally being rid of the old place of employ and the angst it was causing, I get to really give my son something that will help him move down his own path: fully paid tuition and room and board. See, part of my problem at the old gig was the pay - and how, as a result, I HAD to do freelancing gigs just to make the ends meet. It was getting harder and harder to pay his college fees and the worry about how I was ever going to be able to afford his HUGE (I mean, it's gargantuan) dorm fee was constant.

Near the middle of last month, I went to see him in a college production. He's a Dance/Performing Arts major and had decided to challenge himself last semester by not only taking a class in a style he had never studied before, but by auditioning for a school production in that style. Not only was the show really, really good, my son was amazing! Now, trust me, I'm used to seeing things from him during performances that make me "Ooooo!" and "Ahhhh" - but nothing like this. It was obvious that he'd gotten so much better with his lines and his movements than was just six months before (and I wasn't the only one who noticed; a choreographer in the audience sent a text to one of his instructors DURING THE SHOW to ask who he was!! OMG!). When the houselights in the auditorium came on, I just sat there in kind of a stupor, thinking that he really, truly BELONGS on stage because, well, to put it simply, he is a dancer. Before that performance, I'd thought of "dancer" as something he wanted to be, not as something he was. He needs to learn his art and hone his craft - and here, at his chosen college, was where he seemed best suited to do that. As his parent, it was up to me to find a way to help him.

Just before he loaded up his hooptie (the very old and kinda rusty car that gets him back and forth) to head back to school today, we sat and talked about school a bit - and I assured him that it would be paid for without a loan. It felt really good to say that, it really did.

So, I'll find a way to get the training in, I know it. If my 20-yr-old can hold down his part in the studio and in the classroom (he had a 3.6 GPA last semester), the least I can do is my part in the dojo.

And I'm pretty sure it will all be OK.