Hey, Interwebz! It’s been a while but I have an excuse that works for me that you probably don’t need to hear so I’ll just continue because it’s not like this blog is paying my bills or anything. Plus, it’s more for me than anyone else at this point anyways. But rant aside, I wanted to take a minute to work out and share my thoughts about what’s next for me in life.
I just got finished a year of service with an education-based, non-profit called City Year whose mission is, simply, to end the dropout crisis. It was a rough, complicated year that taught me a lot about myself and other people, but that’s a conversation for another time, preferably in a journal. However, one thing my experience taught me that I’d like to share is that I’m not cut out for the 9-5 life. That routine drains me physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally to the point where even the pay doesn’t restore me. I know there’s an immense amount of privilege resting in that statement and I’m not fake enough to ignore it. I want to acknowledge that most of what I’m about to say I’m able to say because I’m lucky.
While I was working at City Year, full-time and then some (think days that started at 7:45 A.M. and ended at 5:15 P.M. not including commute time), I was also freelance writing. The school I served in was my workplace and my home was my workplace so basically I was stressed 24/7 without relief, except for the two days a week I got to be with my supportive partner. This never-ending stream of work and responsibilities and deadlines wore me down to the bone, where I began unleashing my emotions and re-emerging traumas on the people closest to me. Most stayed, some didn’t, but regardless I was heading to a really lonely, unhealthy place if I didn’t make a change.
Luckily, by that point, my service with City Year was basically over. All around me were people planning their next step in life. Everyone was silently panicking, putting on a fake smile to convince everyone that their life was far more together than it actually was, when really we shouldn’t feel the need to impress or comfort anyone else. Our future is ours after all. I didn’t care, though. I had a plan, a crazy one too. I wasn’t going to work for anyone, oh no, I was going to start working for myself.
You see, if you want to escape the 9-5 monotony you have to make big moves, and pull your dreams into the real world. Despite the fact that freelancing during my service nearly destroyed me, it also made me wonderful connections and built my portfolio immensely. Still, freelance writing is hardly reliable. There’s practically no job security, as you can be let go at any time, and payments take far too long to survive on. But I’m planning, organizing spreadsheets, and going through my email every minute of every day, and it’s starting to come together.
I could be making backup plans for if this fails, but I don’t want to. If I’m going to fail at this I want to fail knowing I gave it my all. People give me sideways looks when I tell them my plans, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ll do anything to live the life I want to live, which is being a free writer who has a safe, peaceful place to work, where work doesn’t feel like work and life actually feels like life and not enslavement to bills and dollar bills.
More and more I’m wondering if I’m making the right choice. I’ll probably only know the answer when it’s too late to make a change. But for now, not waking up at 6 feels pretty great.