It’s nearing the end of 2017, and I’m almost half a year into my new life. Seems like a good time to take stock! Here’s what’s different in my life since I left a salaried, employed position at the end of July and began working for myself in August:
SLEEPING. I no longer wake up to an alarm but waken gradually and when I am ready. I am still at work in my studio by 9am most days but it didn’t use up a bunch of my spoons to get me there. I don’t drag myself out of bed unwillingly; I get up when I’m ready, not because someone else’s rules say I have to. I go to bed when I’m sleepy, knowing that I can rest as required.
PAIN. Because I’m sleeping, I think, I have had almost no flare-ups since August. Even the onset of winter-with-a-vengeance hasn’t caused many problems. Hardly any days where my skin hurts! No more daily neck tension! If I am not careful I’ll get a new set of tension pains while working with wire – but after the first day I did that for 8 hours without stopping, I learned my lesson and now I make sure to take breaks. The various duties required to keep this business going keep me moving and that’s a very good thing. Some days I’m running errands, sometimes I’m at the sink or the stove or the wire bench or the clay bench or the computer desk… sometimes I get to snuggle up on the couch and draw. It’s all very good for this weird body of mine.
ANXIETY. I’ve had a few anxiety-filled days since August, but not many, and mostly for reasonably-stressful occasions (biggest show I’ve ever done, financial mixup, funeral of a beloved aunt). This is a far cry from the daily panic I was experiencing at even just the thought of working with students again. This change alone tells me I made the right choice, even when everything else seems up in the air.
MONEY. I don’t have any. I also don’t care! I managed to bring in about the same gross income as I would have with my salaried job; but there were immediate expenses that I felt I needed that have left me… less than flush. I probably didn’t need all of those expenses but at the time they seemed important to make my showing at the craft fairs as professional as possible. At least, though, these were mostly one-time items that I now have for any future shows; so next year’s show season should be more profitable. And honestly… the money will get sorted out eventually. Everything else is far more important at this point.
FRIENDS & FAMILY. When my parents moved, I was able to push my work schedule around and help them out for a few days. When a friend needs me, I can pause my work and talk it out. When an artist colleague needed some scut work in her studio – and my own studio was under control – I could take half a day to ensure she was ready for her shows. I can adjust my work day to ensure my husband and I see each other more often than before. I can snuggle my cats any time. The flexibility is wonderful.
HOUSEKEEPING. It would be great to say that my house is magazine-perfect, but it isn’t. It never will be, honestly. However, the extra hour I am not commuting leaves me more time for the dishwasher and the laundry; plus I was able to clear a couple of days in order to make some large adjustments to storage in the house, increasing our comfort overall. It’s not great because we both suck at housekeeping, but there’s still untapped potential there.
I honestly don’t know what is in store for me in 2018. I’m working out my goals and ambitions this week. But for now I can say:
Working for me is working for me.