I was notified today that I can no longer train on the sheep where I have been training.  So my sheepherding days are over for the time being.  This is disappointing but I have been expecting it for some time, and I haven’t been able to get out training for three weeks now anyway.  I am horribly addicted though, and spent a good hour surfing the internet for farms for rent this afternoon. 

I find myself surprisingly calm about the whole situation.  I think its because I know things happen for a reason, and this may be the reason that gets me out of my current life rut and on to whatever is awaiting me next.  I have been feeling really, really stuck lately.  Well, more than just lately.  I emailed a friend on her birthday yesterday – we have not been in touch in two years.  She replied immediately (we hope to catch up over the holidays) and in her email she mentioned that I had been saying the same things (i.e. I am very frustrated with my life blah blah) two years ago.  She seemed surprised that I was still having the same frustrations.

Two years?  It’s actually been nearly four.  And my frustration has been steadily mounting.  This is all aimed at my current academic undertaking, which has been a tremendously humiliating and demoralizing experience.  I should have bailed four years ago when I first started to realize how  mismatched I am for this program.  But I didn’t have the energy to start over, so I just put my head down and started plodding along.  I have now thrown 4 years of proverbial good money after bad.  And of course I feel so invested in this now that I can’t see beyond it.  Once upon a time I could take or leave what I’m doing.  Now I feel like I might as well shoot myself if I can’t finish this degree. How pathetic is that?

Losing access to the sheep eliminates one of the few ties I have to this area.  At this point I no longer spend any time in my department.  In fact I don’t even have a mailbox there anymore, as once you are past your four years (they expect you do complete a doctoral degree in 4 years, despite the average being 7.5 years), they make it clear that you are nothing more than an administrative burden to them.  I will not get a teaching position here as they have cut all sessional positions in an effort to trim the budget (by 30%, when 95% of the budget is staff).  

Right now I earn my keep via three sporadic part-time jobs that pay little over minimum wage.  I really like my library job, but the other two are thankless and exhausting and I could do without.   Not one of these jobs would prevent me from moving.  

I do have a terrific agility instructor and a very talented herding instructor, but I can’t afford to take lessons, so they no longer are reasons to stay either.

Basically, now that the sheep are gone, all that ties me to this city is a small group of really terrific people that I have met, and the really fertile earth I have cultivated in my small organic garden out back (I’m really not about to bag it up and bring it with me….I don’t think anyway…).  Now I value friendships beyond most everything else, so I do not mean to belittle their ability to root me to my current location.  But most of these people will be moving as well, likely in the next 1-2 years.  Several just left over the last 6 months.

So now I have no job, no long term reason to stay, and no sheep.  Perhaps it is a good time to move.  I already started shopping for farms to rent in the area I’d like to move.  There seem to be quite a few, so this may very well work out.  First I’ll need to find a job, and that is going to take some time.  I’m thinking May would be a good month to move, after the snow has melted, and in perfect time to start next season’s garden.  It’s time for us to have some property of our own.