It’s no secret…

We are very open about the fact that we are moving back to Alaska. The original plan was to leave by May of 2016. Not gonna happen. 😕

Things happen. Sometimes they happen and aren’t what you were planning. In my case, I lost my high paying job (which was a blessing) and took a detour to get a degree that will help me reach our long term goals.

My new career pays a whole lot less than my old career but it is much more satisfying.  It also tends to be seasonal in nature… So, me being me, I ramped up a business I started in 2014 and took a huge leap into being “official”. This is no longer a “craft/hobby” business, we are now a full blown, serious, professional services provider.

We are licensed, bonded and insured as general contractors. Good golly Miss Molly! What have I gotten myself into now?!

When I was meeting with the insurance broker he made the comment “you sure have your fingers in a lot of things”, my response was “gotta make sure I stay employed”. I’ve got bills to pay and a future to fund.

Here is what we are doing;

* Landscape design and maintenance

* Pruning and weeding services

* Plant material selection and placement/installation

* Container design and maintenance

* Client Education & Garden Coaching

* General contracting

Why are we moving to the village? Why are we changing our entire way of life?

Now more than ever I am feeling called to make a difference. To help with a long-term solution to an increasing problem facing our small villages in Alaska.

Why? This is why… Angoon, Kake and Tenekee face ferry shut down

Even if this is a short-term issue, I foresee that it will continue in various ways and force people away from their homes and culture. It will force people to live in the larger communities in order to meet their basic needs.

When a community is only accessible by boat or plane, not having access is a huge deal.

I get it that people make choices, and that living in remote communities means that a person will not have the same access to services as they would in a larger community. I totally get that. I lived in Juneau for 11 years. A very different way of life than living here in Seattle, or even in Anchorage.

Fred and I both believe that people should not have to move away from their homes in order to survive. The subsistence culture is alive and well in these places. We aim to expand on that in a way that will allow people to access additional resources in order to stay where they are.

Our native communities/villages are shrinking. Children are seeking life away from the villages and the elders are having to leave in order to seek or receive needed medical care. With that exodus, culture is fading away. Fortunately there are efforts to revitalize the language and the culture… But is that enough?

Angoon

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We will keep plugging away at our goals. We will get back to Alaska. We will achieve our dreams.

Here is another view of our future home –

We are stuck here for the foreseeable future, but not for forever. Where there is a will, there is a way… We have the will and we will find a way.

Angoon or bust!

~ Molly & Fred

 

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Coming Together

It is exciting to see things finally coming together.

With graduation upon me in two very short weeks, I am doing what I have always done… Working, planning and getting things done. Always thinking a few steps ahead of where I need to be in order to stay on track.

Our plans may change, altered by finances and reality, but I know that we will realize our dreams. Sometimes with a “come Hell or high water” attitude.

Fred and I are both working our tails off, seven days a week right now between our jobs. We work everyday together in one form or another. I can and will say this, I like it! We make a great team.

Fred is running the tree lot at the nursery, in addition to being the general handyman/go to guy for just about everything. We had a delivery of nearly 300 Christmas trees today that all needed to be processed. Done and done. It is very physical work and exhausting.

My work today consisted of decorating and embellishing wreaths. Just a continuation of my school work but easier.

It is fun to utilize my knowledge and to be able to apply what I am learning. I look forward to work and have plans and dreams for the future that are bright, and optimistic.

Since changing careers, I have been having consistently great days. What’s not to love. Rain, cold, wind…I’m good working outside. Hot sun? I’m still adjusting. No matter how I look at it though, everyday is a good day working with plants.

 

“You are a prisoner of your own position”

As I was following my morning ritual (catching up on the various “news” of the day) I came across this article:
Thought-Provoking Photographs Of People Living Alone In The Wilderness

This quote pretty much sums up my life over the past 25 years.

Tkachenko’s work raises questions about what identity truly means when we are forced to live how society tells us to: “School, work, family – once in this cycle, you are a prisoner of your own position. You should be pragmatic and strong, or become an outcast or a lunatic. How to remain yourself in the midst of this?”

I became a prisoner of my own position… As I suspect many people have.

I graduated from High School, went on to college. Got my first degree, then my first “real job”, then I got married, I got another degree, started on my chosen career path (the real career, not my starter career), earned certifications, became licensed, hung in all the “right” circles, networked (as expected), gained credibility… And so forth.

Somewhere around my 45th birthday (maybe I had a mid-life crisis) I recognized that “this” was not what I wanted. AT ALL.

Besides the fact I had been in a loveless marriage for far too many years… I had also come to recognize that being trapped in the maze with the other “rats” was not what I wanted long-term. I had no desire to compete with anyone or keep getting things bigger and better than previously obtained.

No need to belabor that part of my life other than to say that while working in my profession a constant complaint heard from others was that they were stuck and had no choices when it came to their work/careers. People felt trapped because of expectations, standard of living and debt.

They stayed in jobs that made them miserable because that job provided them with the income to live at a standard they were accustomed to, or wanted.

Mind you, no one chooses the path for you… you choose your own path and how long you stay on that path is completely up to you.

I have always believed that we have choices. We are not truly “stuck” or “trapped” except by our own expectations.

It is hard to change your lifestyle when you have become accustomed to something.

It comes down to this; how badly do you want “it”… Whatever “it” is.

What are your priorities?

I’m not going to say that transitioning to a lifestyle where I consume less has been easy.  What I make today as compared to what I made just a few short years ago is staggering. Like 100K LESS type staggering.  But guess what, that extra 100K didn’t make my life any more enjoyable.

Sure I could afford things that I can’t afford now but I wouldn’t trade my present circumstances for anything.  I DO NOT want to get back on that treadmill.

I am fortunate that I did not feel trapped.  I saw an issue and I made the changes I needed to in order to change my circumstances.  Mistakes have and will be made but it is all a learning process.

The photos presented in the article mentioned above really resonated with me.  Not that I want to be a hermit. I am just at a point in my life where I am ready to disengage a bit and focus more on what is important to me.

I finally found a person that I can share my life with. Someone with the same goals and dreams. Someone that equally shares the joys and trials of life.

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For many years I put on my “happy face” and did what was expected of me… professionally and socially.  I was exhausted.  By nature, I am actually an introvert.  I gain energy from spending time alone and even more energy is gained when I am out in nature and being active.

Before we know it, Fred and I will be back in Alaska.  No doubt we will struggle to make ends meet and learn what we need to learn to survive in a very different mode than what we have been for the past few years.

We are actually enjoying it.  Planning our next moves, making sure we are gaining the skills we need and gathering the resources to make our dream come true.

This isn’t a passing fancy, this is the rest of our lives.  Fred has a huge responsibility to his family and his community. I am there to support him. That is what partners do.

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This is what we are looking forward to. This picture was taken from very near where we will be living starting in 2016. We met initially in 2008 on this canoe and became acquainted again in 2010. Cube Cove – Admiralty Island, AK

 

I am longing for the day when we will be on our own – away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The only part I am not looking forward to is being away from my mom. I really treasure the time that we have been having with her. It is a blessing for sure.

If you get a chance, take a look at the article and the photos. It is fascinating and the photos are quite stunning.

~ Molly

 

2014 – OMG what happened!

What happened?????
What happened????

I have NO IDEA where 2014 went… absolutely NONE!  I sit here scratching my head, looking around the mess that is this house and wonder what happened.  It isn’t like Fred and I went out and played (okay well maybe we played a little). We actually worked – A LOT!

As for me, I spent the majority of the year working 60+ hours per week trying to get a business turned around (it wasn’t even my business and the pay was horrible). I was so exhausted by the time I got home I usually ate and went to bed.  I made that choice though, I knew what I was up against and I accepted the terms (why? I wanted the challenge, I was searching for a new direction).

I accomplished NOTHING in 2014 that I set out to do.

Resolutions

Resolutions? I don’t believe in them. Never have. I personally believe it is silly to come up with a list of things that you are going to change at the beginning of every year, only to not get them done, and then lament about what you didn’t do.

I believe that when you have something that needs to change, you do it, right then and right there. No time like the present, am I right?

As it turns out, what needs to change for me (us) just happens to coincide with the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015.

What’s up in our world?

Well, a lot of things happened in 2014 that will be guiding us in 2015.

First of all, I mentioned previously that I was working a lot.  Too much! As things go, I was actually “let go” from my position. Nothing to be ashamed about, I know that I did my very best work, had a fabulous team that I worked with, and that I can be very proud of what we accomplished while I was there. I’m not the only one who has left – completely the corporations loss! I didn’t see myself there over the long haul anyway – the corporate culture did not mesh with my personal values.

Was I upset with the loss of my job? NOT AT ALL!  It was time for me to make a change.  I had allowed myself to get sucked back into management and into the corporate jungle. A place that I knew that I did not want to be.

My first change in “career” path occurred in 2009. I found that I was working too much and living too little. I vowed to live more and changed my career to something I thought would be more in line with my goals.  I had a few hiccups along the way as I figured out what my goals were, and what I wanted to do for an income to support those goals.  After 22 years in healthcare administration and management, I knew that it was not what I wanted to do.  I chose that career and followed that path in order to support my WASband and my decisions were based on what would make him happy.

I worked in higher ed for a few years and recognized right away (less than one year into a tenured position) that academia was NOT for me. I loved teaching and guiding students, LOVED IT!  I could not stand the politics and back biting.

Fred and I moved to Washington (the state) in 2011 after my father passed away. We currently live with and assist my mom around the house. I LOVE the time that we have had together. I’ve always been close to my parents even though the majority of my adult life had me living hundreds of miles away. My goal for a job when moving down here was to find something where I could go to work and then go home.  I didn’t want the responsibilities of management.  I ended up getting sucked in though – you cannot escape doing things that you are good at and even though I tried to keep my talents quiet once people found out what I was good at I ended up back where I was.

For some reason I thought that I would have time to get everything cleaned and organized at my moms.  Her stuff and ours.  My mantra is “simplify, simplify, simplify” and “PURGE”.  Good thing I didn’t make those into resolutions because it would have been an epic failure!

Since separating from my last position, I have been diligently looking for work in my “primary occupation” – without any success.  I’ve submitted resumes, applications, cover-letters, and made contacts with key people with no work on the horizon. I’ve only interviewed for maybe three jobs in the past three months and have put my shingle out as a management and education consultant.  I am having more success with the shingle… and that is actually leaving me time to contemplate what I really want to do.

As I think about my job outlook and my current job search I am having a difficult time not getting depressed about my lack of prospects.  I have NEVER been unemployed (unintentionally) and each and every job I have held was either created for me or I was recruited for the position. Having so many rejection letters and lack of response is down right defeating. The standard line is “thank you for your interest we are choosing to look at candidates that more closely match our profile for this position” or some such nonsense. I know the lines… I’ve used them myself.

As an HR professional I think I have pinpointed the issue though… while I am presenting a professional and appropriate image, and saying all of the right things, highlighting my credentials and such, any person worth their two cents conducting an interview would clearly be able to see that my heart is just not “into” doing what I have spent so many years preparing for (education, licenses, certifications, etc). I just don’t have that type of work “in me” any more.

Sure, I can DO the work, I just don’t want to. I am going through the motions… I lack the fire I used to have and the passion for what that field has to offer.

Fred, on the other hand, has always been self employed. He is a master of most… mostly out of necessity. He had to learn how to do things in order to stay employed or keep his life together and running. He’s an artist, a mechanic, a commercial fisherman, construction worker, retail sales, manager… he’s done just about everything at some point or another. He’s used to living between paychecks, bartering for services and making due.  Me? Not so much… I grew up a city girl with all of the trappings of middle class life.  If I wanted something I worked more hours or another job in order to get it – or I charged it (but that is another story for another time). I accumulated too much stuff and jumped on the treadmill called “career” and worked toward being “successful”.

I am ready to redefine “success”… the standard path just isn’t cutting it any more.

What is next for us?

In October of 2014, Fred’s eldest brother suggested that he take on the position of House Leader for his clan (see related post). This is a huge responsibility and will require that we move to Angoon, Alaska.

This could not have happened at a more perfect time!  While we won’t be moving until some time in 2016, we do have a lot of things that MUST be done before we relocate back to Southeast Alaska (what I consider to be my home).

So many things have happened in the past few years. All good! My eyes are opened, my life is changing and I am excited about it. Fred came into my life in 2010 and we married in June of 2014.  All I see is a bright and happy future. All of these major life changes have been wonderful ways to explore what can be.

Everything happens for a reason, and when it is supposed to, and the stars are coming into alignment. I believe that the more I let things go, the more things fall into place.  I am learning to let things happen and learning to let go of the need to control each and every aspect of my life.

There are things that need to happen, but they don’t have to happen on a schedule, or according to a predefined plan.

We are busy planning and preparing for our move. Some things will happen and some will not. We’ll just see where we end up and enjoy the ride.

~ Molly