When I Grow Up
When I was little my father was a carpenter. If you know my father this is hard to believe, mainly because I (or anyone else) never saw him do anything handy. Ever. I don’t actually remember him being a carpenter. But I know he was one, because at some point I came across a drawing that I did when I was young. It was of my father holding a hammer, and it said “When I grow up I want to be a carpenter like my Daddy.” Being a child it’s easy to know what you want to be when you grow up. You want to be whatever your mother or father is. After I wanted to be a carpenter, whenever someone would ask what I wanted to be when I grow up I would tell them “A lawyer, because they make lots of money.”
This changed again in high school. I went to a vocational high school, and decided to take robotics / pre-engineering courses. I had a great teacher there, and loved the program. I decided to go to Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Mass to pursue a degree in engineering. This quickly changed to computer science after I failed my first engineering course. I really enjoyed the logic and problem solving in programming, but within two years I came to dread the actual code writing and debugging. One misplaced comma in twelve pages of code and your program wouldn’t work. Looking for that comma was miserable. I almost dropped out of school or transferred, but my parents convinced me not to (read: wouldn’t let me).
I switched my major once again to business management. It was mainly because I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated, and it was broad enough to allow me to do any number of things. I really enjoyed operations management courses and personal finances, because I felt like they applied that same logic and problem solving I found so appealing in computer science, but dealt with people instead of computers. When I graduated, as most of you know, I spent eight years working as a financial planner. But now I’m back to trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
I want to do something I’m passionate about. Something that’s physical, and when I’m done I have something to show for it. I don’t want to sell something that I didn’t make. I don’t want to sell anything imaginary (i.e. advice, services, etc). I really enjoyed the time I spent farming at D Acres. It was physically exhausting work. But it was also really satisfying. And we ate what we grew, which makes the work immediately rewarding (well not quite immediately, we did have to wait for things to grow). But the idea of living at D Acres indefinitely isn’t very appealing to me. I would certainly do it for an extended period of time, but not forever.
Right now, “when I grow up” I want to buy a parcel of land. Originally my thoughts were that it would be in New Hampshire near Rumney. But Chattanooga has really appealed to me, and the idea of staying here has been creeping into our minds. On that land I want to build a house that is super “eco-friendly.” Wow, that term has really been turned into a marketing slogan and sounds like bullshit, but in order to simplify I’m just going to use it for now. Think composting toilets, a combination of geothermal and wood burning heat, solar panels, wind turbine, rain water barrels, greywater system, etc. And the house may or may not be made out of cob. I would grow a good amount of my own food, make furniture, and allow climbers to camp on the property cheaply.
I’m not quite sure how I’m going to get there. I need to start saving, which I’m not doing currently. I could get a shitty part-time job here in Chatt and start socking away that money for a few years. Or I could go back to D Acres for a year and live on next to nothing. I’m not really sure what I’ll do. But in the meantime I’m keeping myself busy with climbing (obviously). I’ve also decided to start a non-profit called vegChattanooga which will be a resource for the veg curious. I’m currently working on the site and actions and will let everyone know as soon as it’s ready. I’ve also decided to start a balcony garden. With the limited space and sunlight I have I will grow spinach, kale, mesclun greens, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, chives, basil, parsley, and some flowers. Tomorrow the remaining materials I need will come in and I’ll start planting.
My climbing has improved and I’ve been meeting and climbing with even more people. While I’m sad some of my friends will be heading back to West Virginia soon, others will still be here. Earlier this week I climbed my first v5, a heady high-ball named “Country Redneck Bitch.” It starts on a good crimp and micro footholds. You make a big move to a right-handed side-pull and then with your feet basically just straddling the weak arete, reach for a minimal crimp and tenuously work your way up into the scoop. From there it’s jugs to the top, but it’s pretty tall. Below are some new climbing pictures. The first is me getting ready to top out The Big Much (v4) with Ruth spotting me. It has a really difficult start but then moves into easier climbing. That photo was taken by Stella. Next is a pretty cool sequence of me on Dragon Lady (v4) taken by a friend of Sean. This was my first v4 and is really fun. Lastly is another v4 classic in the Dragon Boulder corridor named Tristar. It gives me fits, and I still haven’t finished it. But I’m getting closer. Photo by Donald.
Leave me some comments. Tell me if you’re where you wanted to be when you were young, or even in college. Or better yet, what you still want to be when you “grow up.”