The Grass is Always Greener

IMG_0558Last week coming home from work, I stopped at the farmers market hosted by one of the rest stops on the Mass Pike.  A woman, a bit older than I, was selling a variety of hand-milled goat milk soap. Local hand-made soap in and of itself is nice, but what really attracted my attention was the variety of herbs she incorporated into her bars and lotions, and the fact that she made very good use of their natural medicinal properties. They smelled absolutely wonderful, and as I browsed we began chatting.

“Are you heading home?” she asked.

“Yes, I work down in Greenwich, Connecticut on weekends.”

“Oh? What do you do down there?”

“Believe it or not, I’m an archaeologist.” This is the point in the conversation when most folks get this rather starry eyed look, and the soap lady was no exception.

“I was so interested in that sort of thing back in high school!” she gushed. “But then I got to college and had no idea how I would make a living at it. What’s the job market like?”

“Truthfully, I’ve been very lucky. I only have a AB, but through my advisor was able to get my current position after I didn’t get into grad school. But most people aren’t so lucky. That being said,” I added, “I’m only a research archaeologist. I don’t do any fieldwork, or go on digs, or discover new artifacts. I just sit at a desk and help edit papers.”

“But still, that’s amazing! I wish I had been able to do something like that.” She swiped my debit card and finished wrapping up my soap selection, a lovely calendula-lemongrass  blend. “You’re really an inspiration.”

I blushed, embarrassed. “Um, thanks.” This is the point in the conversation where I always feel like a fraud, because no matter how many disclaimers I make, that Indiana Jones archetype seems to override all of my caveats. I forced myself to meet her eyes. Blue and clear, the first signs of crows feet perched in the corners.

In a rush I said, “You know, this is what I really want to be doing.” I gestured at the soaps and herbs displayed on her table. “I’m an amateur gardener and herbalist, and I’d love to make a full-time go of it. So really, to me, you’re an inspiration, too.”

“Me? I’m just a farm girl.”

“Yeah,” I sighed. “The grass is always greener.”

8 thoughts on “The Grass is Always Greener

  1. during my year as an anthropology major, i remember my archaeology teachers making such an effort to dispel the “Indiana Jones” archaeology myth. They’d make so many disclaimers of their own, insisting that the most exciting thing they ever found was some “boring” arrow head. I never found said disclaimers discouraging. I was discouraged by the thought of being outside getting dirty and sunburned all the time, :p


    1. See, it was the dirt and the digging (if not the sunburn!) that was the attraction for me–I loved history, but thought I would go crazy being cooped up inside all the time. In my teenage brain, history+outside=archaeology!

      My profs made similar discouragements, and yet, here I am, now repeating exactly what they told me ten years ago. :p


      1. I certainly do appreciate my time out in nature, within reason. But the thought of being out in dry-pasty landscapes, with dirt stuck in my hair and mouth all day long gave me anxiety. Sometimes it’s hard to be autistic and pagan – too many sensory anxieties that get in the way of appreciating the outside 😦 At any rate, I admire every one who is tougher than me and living the archaeology dream 🙂


          1. It rained every day in 2002–it may have only been for 5 mins, but it was *every* day. :p

            However, being in Wales gave me the best complexion I’d ever had in my life. I guess cool and humid is the key to make my Davis and Meredith DNA happy!


  2. I get a lot of people saying they would love to do what I do for a living – making jewelry, doing professional readings/channelings for people – and I make approximately three to four grand a month doing this, I can work at home in my pajamas, I can keep my own hours, etc. What people don’t realize is I am on-call 24/7 – even on my weekends, I still have to answer Etsy convos. Supply shopping takes up a lot of my time, I have to promo my stuff, I have to make listings, etc etc etc. I have to blog regularly in order to keep an audience in order to direct traffic to my shop. I have to interact with my audience, which is difficult for me as an introvert (I come off as a lot more extraverted and outgoing than I actually am). I could rake in even more money if I spread myself even more thin than I already am by participating more on social networking sites, but I don’t have time for the presence I’ve got as it is. I am doing what I always wanted to do with my life but it is hard, hard work. I have a severe shortage of actual personal R&R time. I’ve been wanting to take a weekend at the coast for a couple of months now and there’s always stuff that has to be done. The grass may look super green from where I sit but I bust my ass to keep it that way. In hindsight, if I knew going into this HOW much work it would be, I’d still do it, because this is my calling, but unless it is absolutely one’s calling, I don’t recommend it as a lifestyle – I’m starting to understand now why there’s all these statistics of how small business owners experience the most stress, and so on.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s