Examining Tension: Heading into the Mouth of the US Pandemic

For the first time in my current relationship, I’m the breadwinner, and I’m about to give up my normal, not arduous, in fact pretty darn indulgent, but unfulfilling job to leave our little piece of rent free paradise in West Los Angeles to enter the Covid shutdown New York City.

Why are we doing this?

For the greater, long-term future.

  1. Going to NYC ensures we will be there to oversee our two Airbnb rental row houses being transitioned into year round rentals, and therefore not profitable, but not a money sink, in the midst of the Airbnb rental shutdown that’s obscured the last three months marked by mass cancellations and long term vacancies.
  2. My husband can go about putting back together his company there. He’s been earning a reduced salary working remotely for his NYC office while spending time in California, but when he’s on site he can return to a more normal pay structure + hopefully ensure his NYC post production film company is not bleeding like a pig at a slaughter house, like many film related companies at this time. He is going to be an integral piece of seeing that his company is not shut down as a result of the pandemic, therefore able to continue to support the staff.
  3. My husband and I could split for a minute, him to NYC and myself to LA, but
    1. I think I can accomplish much of my work remotely through some time in June or July
    2. We don’t do well apart. We’ve tried it in the past, and it did not go smoothly.
    3. It marks a breaking point from the comfort of salaried life and its guarantees of a paycheck.
Comfort of a cat at rest

I don’t like giving up comfort and security. So many of the choices I have made in my life – my minimalism, sustainability efforts – are partially a result of eco consciousness, but also of a natural inclination to thrift and squirrel away savings, that results from a childhood of making do with less.

When my mom first left our father, I remember sitting together as a family at the end of the day, eating takeout Chinese food atop cardboard boxes in our apartment. It didn’t seem weird to me then, as I was only eight, and unaware as to this being abnormal. I thought that we had already encountered the strangest thing when one day I came home from school, and my mom’s friend, Diane, pulled up to our house with her van, and my mom whisked us away from our father, and our home, and everything we had to leave in our bedrooms. It’s only in writing this that I recognize how much my mom must have had to scrounge at the young to keep a roof over our heads at that time, if we spent months living this way.

“Will I be full time employable again if I kiss this job goodbye?” I wonder as I return to the current conundrum. Is it unrealistic to take for granted having a job in the throes of a post, or pandemic continuing, economic recession?

Were I to continue in my current line of work, the top .001% will likely continue to want to employ Personal Assistants, but I’m unsure I want to continue this kind of work. I spend so much of my life living for others, thinking about my work well beyond the confines of 40 hours in a week. It would be nice to stride out and discover who I am and what I could contribute to the larger world, although I worry I’m ill equipped to do so.

“No sir I don’t like it.”

What would I do if given freedom to focus on developing things I think are important?

  1. I’d continue working in College Admissions Consulting because it’s work I find fulfilling and worthwhile. I love helping high schoolers realize their ambitions and arrange for schooling them to further their understanding of a field.
  2. I’d create a movement against caging birds. Their ability to fly is a right I think should be impossible for us to take away from them.
  3. I’d continue making videos of alternative, nomad, sustainable living because it brings me joy.
Little pieces line this remind me that everyone has to start from scratch.

Only one of these things can bring me income. College admissions consulting is part time and seasonal, but enough to get by on. I have to say goodbye to high levels of savings if I go this route, and it’s scary.