Often I am asked why I left my regular employment as a pattern maker and ventured out on my own. To many people it seems risky, if not foolish. The reason that always jumps to the forefront of my mind is the commute. I travelled one full hour each way every day. This means that when I worked a 40 hour week, I was away form home 55 hours (two hours commuting and one hour lunch). When I wasn't working, I felt my life was spent in the car, driving to and from work. As much as I enjoyed my job and the people I worked with, I was missing out on things I didn't even know I was missing!
Gaining back 15 hours each week in my life (I no longer take a 60 minute lunch) was something I hadn't really thought a whole lot about before it happened. I didn't plan what I would do with my extra 15 hours every week, but I did start doing something with them. Not intentionally, it just kind of...happened, I joined the community. That's right, I've been living in State College for over 4 years, but yet, I only joined the community this year.
I now have time to take my family to community events downtown, like the Christmas tree lighting and parades; I now join in regularly in neighborhood get-togethers and parties- I learned my next-door neighbors' last names (yeah, that is how disconnected I was); I joined State College Young Professionals and met a whole community of like-minded, yet diverse, people at a similar stage of their lives and careers; I helped a local middle school with a costume for their play; I gave a presentation to a group of grad students; I volunteered to help at a gala for local wildlife preservation; I visit and enjoy the library; I just recently signed up for a long-term volunteer opportunity; I am slowly, but surely, less afraid to make time commitments.
It is glorious to have gained 15 hours per week back, but really what I gained, was the chance to be part of a great community. It is the greatest gift that my new career could have ever given me!
I'm Denise Meyer, apparel designer in State College, PA, saving the world one clothing problem at a time!