Just over six months ago I entered into the freelance life. Prior to that I had been working for twenty-five years, part-time for the first seven of those years during high school and college (which is almost like full-time with a twist considering the daily structure and demands of secondary and higher education.)
So, what’s it like to quit my job to pursue what I love?
It’s easy. And, it’s hard.
It’s easy to leave behind a work-life that was soul-draining. It’s hard to leave behind predictable financial security. Even with the solid savings account I built up. Even with the support of my husband who feeds me, keeps a roof over my head, covers my health insurance, and even takes me out once in a while.
Self-confidence rejoices at the progress I’ve made in six months. Self-reliance shrieks in terror.
It’s easy to “get ready for work” in the morning when I don’t have to put on cosmetics or even a real outfit. It’s hard to not to slip into a complete disregard for appearance beyond cleanliness. All summer I lived in cut-offs and tanks tops, mostly because our house is not air-conditioned and any more clothing might suffocate me. My complexion apparently prefers to breathe freely, so I don’t much miss cosmetics. But, it’s true that clothing and appearance influence how you feel, positive or negative.
Yoga pants are comfortable, but I’m not doing yoga.
It’s easy to make my own schedule and “come and go” as I please. It’s hard to leave the house unless I have to. I’ve gone days without leaving the house. I can always find something to read or research, emails to compose (real work-related messages), phone calls to make, website tweaks –all those nitty-gritty details that make up my “work.”
If I’m at the grocery store, which is less aggravating for me to do on a Tuesday afternoon than for my husband to do on a Sunday morning, then I’m not working. It’s the same for walks, the gym or any other errands. Twisted, I know.
It’s easy, as a writer, to savor my solitude. It’s hard to keep it from eating me alive. If I’m going days without leaving the house, that means all I have for daytime company is the dog and cat until my husband gets home from work. I don’t mind, really, but I am beginning to think that the subconscious “me” might mind.
I’ve been feeling a little stir crazy lately. The writing is good, I feel healthy, and I’m getting work, but…sitting around the house by myself for days on end in nap clothes is getting old.
It’s easy to change my life. It’s hard to remember to keep changing. Resolutions for this new season:
1. Re-join the gym. Go every day. It’s exercise and people are there. Even if I don’t talk to them.
2. Wear clothes that I have to iron. At least so that they don’t gather dust. Maybe I’ll feel better about leaving the house if I look presentable.
3. Go somewhere else to work for a day. Maybe a different public library each week – they have Wi-Fi!
Maybe it’s the change of seasons, with the crunchy leaves falling, the air cooling and the sun setting so much earlier. Maybe it’s a “six month itch” of adjusting to a freelance life, where Mondays and Fridays have lost a certain meaning. Maybe I need to open some new doors that I’ve been pacing in front of for a while now.
I’m not totally stir crazy – yet. But I see how I could get there. Wearing sweatpants and arguing with the cat.
I remember this same feeling when I took long maternity leaves for the births of my son and daughter. Although I rejoiced in the time with them (and I had LOTS of time banked so I was technically still earning my “keep”) as the weeks and months passed I felt that I ‘accomplished” less and less with my days. Going back to work focused me.
Funny how we as humans are so dependent on structure!
Don’t forget to have an occasional lunch with friends . . .
Got one on the schedule!