Transcription of an online conversation between my college roommate (S) and myself (K):
S: Ever have one of those days when you wonder how you are ever going to make it through the life you’ve chosen for yourself?
K: Welcome to being a grown-up, I think.
S: That is soooo encouraging to hear!
K: These are the kinds of days in which I try to speculate if it’s sustainable for me to raise alpacas and knit for a living.
K: It’s only slightly more ridiculous than what I’m actually doing for a living.
This alpaca farming thing has been kicking around for a few months now. I can tell when it’s a slow work day for my former “hitch bitch” or draft-driving TA (also, uncoincidentally, my boyfriend’s twin sister) when I log into my inbox and find another email from her with the subject line “ALPACAAAAAAAAAAAAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Now, really, there’s nothing wrong with the regular day-job-and-a-half that I actually have. I work a lot of hours, sure, and the pay isn’t comparable IF you’re comparing it to basic nine-to-fives, but since it’s a horse job and those are harder to quantify I’m not going to ask too many questions about it. I had a small moment of panic when I looked at my bank account recently (but to be fair I did also decide to splurge on such necessities as a new laptop AND smartphone in the past month, so shame on me.) There’s really no reason for me to complain, whine, look for other jobs or have small brain meltdowns (do I do all of these things? Doesn’t everyone?)
“Sustainability” is a pretty hot buzzword right now, in describing everything from the energy crisis to farming to engineering to my personal mental state. I’ve been throwing the word around a lot recently, in all of these contexts and more. Truly, I don’t know what’s sustainable in the long run in terms of my own career, having never done anything else in my life. Is that a sign I should stick in this career path? Or does that mean I need to try something else, or a few other things, to know if I’m really making the right decisions? Once I leave, can I get back in? How hard will it be to pick up where I left off if I abandon ship for awhile? Why am I asking so many questions?
Alpacas–sustainable? Probably not, even were I to see them as little fiber factories rather than the pyramid scheme that got so many people in western New York hot to trot for the idea of breeding alpacas because other people would want to buy them. (What? Does that even work?) I have a ball of alpaca yarn at my feet with a half-knit fingerless glove on needles (also, uncoincidentally, for the boyfriend’s sister, to help soothe her alpaca yearnings in the middle of the day–I figure she can stroke her own wrists and pretend she is snuggling on her very own cria. ((She was very excited to tell me that baby alpacas were called crias. Alternately this could be some sort of small Peruvian two-doored sedan.))) This, to me, seems slightly more sustainable, as long as my eyesight and finger strength last. Still, there are only so many alpaca mitts to be sold in the world–so perhaps, really, unsustainable then.
Still, I’m happy knitting in my free time, and it’s fun to plan my theoretical alpaca farm (they HUM to each other when they’re pleased!) I don’t really need to take care of more things in my life–I have a hard enough time keeping up with a dog, a cat, a car and a rented house, as well as the horses at work and all the other various things and creatures and people needing my time. I’m tired at the moment, thinking back on a long day in which I only feel like I just barely scratched the surface of things requiring my attention, even down to the half-knit alpaca mitt at my feet, knowing that downstairs there’s a sinkful of dishes (despite my earlier attempts to beat down the stack, culminating in water all over the front of my sweater) and the house will be dingy for the week I suspect (there is a veritable symphony of dying cluster flies in surround-sound all around me) but ultimately, if you asked me right now if I was happy, I wouldn’t need more than a moment to look up at you and say without hesitation, yes.