This Year So Far: Growing Pains

I started this year off with lofty goals: $1800 total income in Q1 from freelancing; quitting my day job by 2020; traveling to two new places; organizing and/or attending a writing retreat; starting a podcast; paying off $12,000 of consumer debt by the end of the year; start and finish a novel. My word of the year was “flourish.”

sunflower

Status update: things are going.  

Growing hurts. Stepping up and stepping out hurts. It’s deeply uncomfortable, even for me, someone who generally welcomes and embraces change. 

Some types of change are destabilizing.  

Maybe I’m being overdramatic, but that’s what I’m feeling like right now. If my word of the year is “flourish,” I feel the most appropriate word for what I’m going through right now is “uprooted,” with all of my stuff dangling out in the air with the world to see. It feels incredibly awkward, and that’s coming from someone who is used to being pretty awkward on a daily basis.

About a year ago, I got married and the day I got married definitely makes it somewhere amidst the top 10 best days of my life. Swiftly afterwards, I changed jobs: I moved out of higher education where I was in a high-touch, student-facing role into a job that is heavily administrative with significantly less face-to-face contact with people. I began to take up jobs as a freelance editor and content writer; with my experience in higher education, I began offering career and life coaching to a few folks.  

I’m now about eight months into a brand new chapter of my life that stared last August and while I feel like I’m kicking ass in some arenas of my life, I feel like I’m sinking in others. Here’s what’s going on.

I work more now in total hours than I ever did in my last job. Thankfully, my day job is usually strictly only eight a.m. to five p.m., but since I’ve been building my freelancing career, I’m also regularly putting in three to four hours after work to get editing and writing work done. I blew through my Q1 goal—in May, I’m approach about $4000 in income from freelancing—but boy am I tired. Now, more than I have in the past eight months, I’m craving real, deep rest. A few days off, disconnected from a laptop and cell phone, sounds like heaven right now. 

My current job isn’t the right fit for me, and here’s why: I’m behind a computer, sending e-mails and handling logistics almost 80% of my time at work. The limited people contact I get is through a phone or e-mail, and even that contact is transactional. Don’t get me wrong: I am deftly efficient as an administrative professional, but I crave that front-line client service contact again. I miss building relationships with people over time, and I miss seeing/feeling my impact on the world—even if it’s just one person at a time. I’m learning that routine grinds me down like no other, and that I’m definitely not a “behind the scenes” kind of person, so I’ve been spending the last few weeks reevaluating what real, meaningful work feels like and looks like for me. I’m amidst evaluating one or two really exciting opportunities, but the not-knowing is what is the most destabilizing for me. A part of me just wonders if I just need to get used to the not-knowing. I’m slowly trying to shift myself away from anxiety towards the unknown to harnessing the excitement of exploring what’s out there.

And because I hate the whole sanitized social media everything-is-peachy: I’ve been rejected by two different jobs, but that’s okay; I’ve been consistently working on paid content writing gigs since the beginning of the year. I’m actually not sure if I would really enjoy content writing as a full-time deal, but it’s been an interesting experience nonetheless—and it’s cool to get paid for writing! I am definitely thinking I need to redirect my energy towards fiction writing. I barely passed my midterm for this current course in my copyediting certification because my brain doesn’t understand hand-marking hard copies yet (this is reinforcing my imposter syndrome lately because it makes me think I’m a bad copyeditor—I’m not, I have real proof that I’m actually pretty okay at it, but it still really fucking stinks).

 

Some other fun, fast updates: I’m killing it with my credit score and paying down my debt! I’m almost entirely done with credit card debt, and then I’ll be paying down my student loan and personal debt from Thomas’ and my wedding. I have over $4000 in my savings account, which is more than I’ve ever had before. I have an idea for my podcast, and I’m currently researching how to bring it to life. Thomas and I are celebrating our first anniversary in about two weeks. I passed the first course of my copyediting certification.

Here's how I’m working on all of this:

  • Building boundaries – I need to speak up about what I need and to talk about my feelings honestly without feeling bad about the way I think others will react to it; the people who love me will understand. I can scrub away the things from my digital and personal life that make me feel less-than great.

  • ·My time for play and rest is sacred – I will openly admit that I really fucking suck at resting, but I really and truly need it, and lord KNOWS I need more play in my life. I need to block out and defend time in my weekly schedule to write and read for fun, to play video games, and to just fucking chill.

  • Spend more time reflecting – I know that whatever my next step will be, it will be crucial, and I’m not settling for “good enough.” I want to work and move through my life with intention, and that means getting very clear on what I want, what I believe, and what I am here on this earth to do. I am ready to embrace my Calling big time, but in order to do that, I need to stop, slow down, and listen.

I know I’m not the only one feeling the aches of growing pains. All of us are going through it. What are you working through right now? What kind of transitions are you facing, and how are you working through them? What do you need to clarify in your life right now? I would love to hear from you.