What is it I value? Most of all: freedom, independence, respect. I think of Emerson's urging toward self-reliance.
I cook my own food, as much as possible from scratch. I tend a garden to provide fresh fruits and vegetables. I pickle my own cucumbers and cabbage, jar my own jams.
At present, I have budgetted to pay off our remaining $30,000 in student loans within the year. We own our car and our van. Our credit cards are paid off each month.
And yet, I am not quite free. I fantasize about opening a bagel shop with my family. What is it I'm running away from?
Work provides me with respect these days. It is exhilirating to pursue my own ideas to their logical ends. Sure, part of me laments that by rights I should still be an academic, with leisure to consider odd avenues of thought, contemplate how they fit into the jigsaw puzzle of problems and solutions, without the constant worry over where our next revenues will come from when the present projects end.
But then, I am happy where I am; happier most likely than I would have been. There is something challenging and positive in the need to focus on practical applications and the short fuse of funding that keeps us just that much on edge.
Yet, I still depend on others. Both for funding and for labor. At times the need for oversight and supervision is oppressing, time consuming, exhausting. But then, I don't really wish to do it all myself. There is drudgery and tedium in getting to an end. I welcome the company along the way. And I trust and hope that my degree of involvement in their work will diminish over time.