Oops, I Did it Again

If there were a theme to the story of my life, it would be leaps of faith. I’ve covered that history in the last blog post. And by now, I guess it’s just become a habit because I’ve taken another leap. About two months ago, I decided to take a risk and invest in my future. My somedays are running out at my age, and if someday isn’t today, it will never be. I felt like I could not move forward with freelancing if I couldn’t go at it full-time. So, I made my plans, discussed them with various people to ensure I was doing the right thing, and gave two months’ notice at my job.

The first month was hard. Once I had made the decision, I just wanted to be gone. But I wanted to allow the business the time to find the right person to replace me, and I needed to get some of my ducks in a row. I did notice that my sleep became more restful, and I began to dream regularly and in vivid colors. It was confirmation that I was doing the right thing.

March flew by, and here we are. I did my best in the time allowed to pass on as much knowledge of my job to the new person, but it isn’t until you try to teach what you know that you realize just how much you know. I’d been running a business for nine years. I had the names and faces of hundreds of people in my head. I know about their spouses, partners, kids, jobs, pets, and hobbies. I know about their accounts and who needs to be billed in what way – email, in person, or not at all… just run their card. There were schedules to keep track of, payroll, record keeping, taxes, etc. I know the ins and outs of the software we use and how to deal with each issue. I have deadlines and recurring tasks jumbled around in my brain, fighting for attention. I would often wake up in the middle of the night, worrying about what needed to be done and how to handle it or thinking of things that had slipped through the cracks.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t hate my job. I may have hated some things about it, like multi-tasking and constant interruptions, but I loved our clients. I loved seeing them every week, and I will miss them terribly. I loved being good at what I did. I loved being of service.

As I fell asleep last night, the thoughts of things that needed attention started to stir, and I had to remind myself that those things were no longer my concern. I could let them go. Joy flooded through me. When I saw myself going forward, doing various tasks, it was almost as if I was dancing, leaping, and twirling through them in my mind. I couldn’t sleep because the muscles that kept me smiling wouldn’t relax.

I suddenly understood why I hadn’t been able to write. Writers need time to daydream. They have to stare off into space and let stories and ideas bounce into their brains. But every time I would try to do that, a thought about a task at work would pop up. There was no room in my brain for creativity, no room for daydreaming. I had lost who I was.

Last night, I attended a talk from Shelby Van Pelt, who wrote Remarkably Bright Creatures. As she discussed her writing process and the magic of having miraculous ideas appear at just the right time, I felt the embers of my writing flare to life. I hadn’t felt that in years. I couldn’t wait to start crafting characters and having them tell me who they are and what they do. I couldn’t wait to feel the magic as those characters created a compelling story. I felt myself return to who I am. There is no joy quite like that.

There will be bumpy days ahead as I build clientele and struggle to make ends meet. But I also know I can do it with a lot of hard work. That work will build my future and my dreams, which will make it not quite so hard.

One of my coworkers had a magnet on her locker that said something like, “True friends walk with you through the shadows and dance with you in the sunshine.” To those who stayed with me in the darkness, provided a light and let me lean on them, I thank you. Sun’s out. Let’s dance!