“Slow down to Island Time”. This was written on one of the sixty or so billboards along the route 175 causeway that leads to Chincoteague Island in Virginia . . . . Whoa! Scratch that. That is proprietary content owned by FMCA magazine.
You see, my one and only paid, published magazine article was about one of my favorite places on earth: Chincoteague, Virginia. There have been many times over the years I considered submitting articles to magazines or newspapers for publication but I have always chickened out, fearing rejection. My friends have often said I should write for a living. My Mom always wanted me to be a writer. In fact, I think the only thing I ever did to truly disappoint her was not to become a writer or at least not a paid writer. Heck, she died before my one paid gig hit the stands.
Complete a marathon with a good enough time to get to Boston? No problem. Ironman? Got that covered? Climb the mountains of Montana and Colorado to take elk with a bow and arrow? No sweat. Write professionally? Eek! How does one do that? What if I really suck at this? It’s ones thing for your friends to say you are a good writer and of course your mother is never going to say you suck at something but asking the general public to pay your bills because you scrawled a few words down is a whole other thing altogether.
I am in Chincoteague as I write this. I just watched one of the most magnificent full moon rises I have ever seen.
It is our last night here for the year. Each year we make the 5 hour pilgrimage from home to find peace among the lapping waters of Assateague channel, the cry of the laughing gulls, and the friendly beam of the Assateague lighthouse. It is flashing it’s metronome-like signal now.
There are many things I look forward to on our annual trip to Chincoteague. I am always hopeful it will be a good year for fishing in front of our campsite. This year it was not which is disappointing but the crabbing was good enough for us to enjoy a couple nights of crabby appetizers before dinner.
I look forward to a daily trip to the beach if conditions are right, and a trip to the Island Creamery for some of the best homemade ice cream I’ve ever had. I can go without pie, cake, or sundry other sweet, baked desserts, but I am an ice cream lover through and through and the creamery never disappoints.
I look forward to seeing the sweet-faced ponies Assateague is famous for. I know it’s silly and touristy but the ponies have carved out a free and wild existence with only a little help from man. It is something that makes me envy them.
The thing I most look forward to in Chincoteague is that I am not at work. For most of the week, I don’t even think about work. You see, I don’t really like my job much anymore. It is hard to do something well when you really don’t like what you do. As the week wraps up and I think about the long year before I see this place again, I dread the endless meetings, pointless PowerPoint presentations, and needless hand-wringing over arbitrary deadlines made up to satisfy accountants.
I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned much about my work in any blog posts. Much like Chincoteague, my blog is a means of escape. Writing is a place where I can make the mundane seem more than it really is. Sometimes life doesn’t work like we expected and, before you know it, you’ve gone too far down a road to change course and must keep pressing ahead or sit on the side of the road and cry. Crying doesn’t help anything so we press on.
Growing up as an active outdoors kid, I swore I’d never live in a suburban development named after an animal, and I’d never work in an office as something non-descript and as meaningless sounding as a project manager. *Sigh*. Here I am: 53 years old, living in “Pheasant Run” in a suburb of Reading, working in a corporate office for nearly 30 years and . . . (Just shoot me before I write this next bit) . . . I’m a *cough* Project Manager. Just how in the hell did that happen!?
It has been a long time since work felt meaningful and important. I’m sure what we do is important, but it just doesn’t necessarily feel satisfying to me and certainly isn’t what I envisioned myself doing. So why not change? People change careers all the time right? Heck, if it was just me I’d have quit and moved south years ago. I’d be perfectly happy working at Publix and picking up a bit of extra cash acting as a mate on a fishing boat now and then. But it isn’t just about me. You see there’s this girl I fell in love with some 30 years ago. I guess she likes me because she’s hung out with me ever since. Life together may not always be sunshine and roses but we are still together. Once upon a time I took some vows that said I would take care of her and she me. We both meant that and until the time comes that life decides we’ve been together long enough, decisions must be mutual and I must consider the needs of another too. Would she support me if I threw up my hands and said “Enough! I can’t do this anymore!”? She absolutely would and that’s exactly why I won’t. So I sit and type as the lighthouse flashes and wish vacation lasted forever.
Work has already crept into my mind the last couple days. The corporate world is ever-changing and I suspect it won’t be too long before it decides I’m no longer relevant. Until then, I’ll plug away with an eye toward the future. In fact, I have been working on my version of a book in fits and jerks. I can see how writing is a full time job from a time perspective, I just don’t know how much it can pay the bills these days in a world full of social media posts, selfies, and the instant gratification of the internet. People seem less inclined these days to pick up anything printed or even immerse themselves in anything that can’t be expressed in a cat meme.
Until I get the nerve to make a change, I’ll continue to enjoy scratching down a few words in cyber space and will definitely enjoy our annual trip to Chincoteague. I could retire here some day.