Monday, November 12, 2012

A major breakthrough in my new, freelance life

It's been about a month since I left my former office at SELF in this state:
During that time, I've stressed, run numbers in my head, had inspiring lunches, traveled to Europe, run more numbers in my head, nabbed a digital consulting gig that will take me through Christmas, done some private editing, taught workshops at CUNY J-School and MediaBistro, laid awake running yet more numbers in my head and did I mention worry? You'd think that with steady work, severance, a decent emergency fund stashed away and a husband who won't let me be homeless, I'd be able to relax and get into a groove. Far from it, and I was beginning to think that maybe I wasn't cut out, constitutionally, for the freelance way of life. After more decades than I care to name working in offices and getting my two paychecks a month deposited like clock work, the notion that I have to earn in dribs and drabs is a hard one to absorb. But today I had a definite moment of "Hey--I could learn to like this way of life!" The details: I was working on brainstorming ideas for my consulting job and basically spent five or six hours staring at my computer and cranking out relatively uninspired thoughts. I had a nice lunch with my hubby in the middle of that (he's working from here today, and I've turned my small bedroom desk into a nice workspace rather than risking working in the living room where he is and get distracted).

Those are my spiffy maternal grandparents on a beach in Maine, probably in the 20s or 30s.
But back to the story:
After hours of coming up with lackluster ideas, I took a break to go for a midday run (definite benefit of freelance life) then came back and came up with 15 of my best ideas in as many minutes. And when I sent them to the friend I'm working with, she was thrilled, and so was I. For one thing, after feeling stymied, I felt that I'd gotten  a handle on what she needed, had absorbed the info I needed to absorb, and had come up with something very usable--I felt worth the money, as a matter of fact! Gotta rock that feeling, because it doesn't come often enough.

I closed down my computer and felt: if I can spend all my days working on projects that are challenging but satisfying, with no one bothering me with meetings--and work with friends to boot, this could be a very happy way of life. Plus, I get to sometimes have lunch with my honey midday (we went to Dive Bar around the corner, sat outside in the sun, and shared mussels and shakshuka, a dish we discovered in Israel). Not to mention take a midday run. Really reenergized me. I am feeling optimistic, hopeful and more cheerful. Maybe this is just my adjustment process--pain followed by the "Oh, I get it now" enlightenment. One of these days, I'll realize that this is my pattern and get less freaked out when I get freaked out.

A riot of November? Central Park's Conservatory Gardens, where my honey and I walked yesterday.

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