As I document my journey, I’ve always told you that I’ll give you the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Well, here’s the ugly. The really ugly.
I hate the freelance life. I hate working remotely all the time. I hate the isolation. I hate the instability of income, and the fact that no matter how much work I cobble together, it’s never quite enough to pay the bills. My savings are dwindling, though I’m by no means in any serious trouble. I have what I need for now.
This is exactly what I signed up for when I took the leap and went freelance full-time. It’s what I’ve wanted to do for so long. It’s been a dream that I’ve had since I was 24 and one that I actively chased from December 2014 until I jumped in June 2016.
And you know what? I hate it. I absolutely hate it.
Just to bring you up to speed in case you don’t know or are new to my world, I’ve gone through a personal transformation since April 2015. From April 2015 through June 2015, I lost my marriage and my father. Since all of my hopes, dreams, and plans for the future went up in smoke, and life as I knew it no longer existed, I have created a new life for myself. I got healthy. I lost 35 pounds; a total of 60 from my highest weight in 2011. I started running half-marathons. I started boxing. I started doing all kinds of crazy things.
This is my journey to complete health. I haven’t been a healthy person for terribly long, and I don’t want to ever go back!
One other thing I did, which I never got brave enough to reveal to almost anyone until now, is I got my teeth fixed. I had botched dental work and years of bad experiences with the dentist that caused me to put off getting it fixed until earlier this year. I spent a lot of money to do it, but holy crud, it was worth it. My smile is normal for the first time in ages, even though I still don’t know how to smile properly for the camera!
So, I’ve been creating this whole new life for myself and have been going on the up and up and up. Professionally, I have always wanted to chase the entrepreneur/freelance dream, and I had peaked at work and was stagnating. So, I decided to jump and quit my job to make a go of this full-time.
Well….my job was the only bit of stability I had. It was also a primary source of connecting with others. Just connecting for the sake of connection with other people.
I took stability and connection away when I quit my job. And now I’m dying to have them back.
I see and interact with other people regularly. I don’t just sit and hole up all day. I see my people from Back On My Feet, from different running groups, from my monthly potluck dinner for those who have lost a loved one, from my freelancing groups, and my family and friends. I see people all the time.
But damn, it sucks in here. The instability. The lack of connection during the day. Real connection does not happen over Skype, Slack, and email. At least not real enough for me.
When you remove everything that was giving you a sense of protection, comfort, and safety, you are left only with yourself. You see yourself as you are, and everything about you is exposed.
For me, it was exposed that I crave stability, security, and connection with people. I haven’t had the kind of stability, security, and connection with others that I had during my marriage since I lost it. I am still recuperating from all that. Still building my new life and foundation. It’ll only be one year since my divorce was finalized next month.
It has also been exposed that my social anxiety is still as ever-present as it always has been. It has been there since I was born with a social and language disorder that I had to get through, and since I was bullied in school after that.
I have become much looser and more talkative around others, but the anxiety still looms. It keeps me quiet, even when I have a perfectly good opportunity to talk to other people. Maybe the instability with freelancing is aggravating it. Either way, I want more and deeper connections with people, and opening my mouth would certainly be helpful in this process.
I just want to feel normal, and this freelancer/entrepreneur life is anything but normal. This life that I thought I wanted and that seemed terrific in my head is turning into a nightmare. I hate it, and it hurts.
It doesn’t matter that I’ve had very quick success as a new business owner, and that I’ve managed to surpass my own expectations and everyone else’s with the amount of client work I’ve been able to land quickly. I’m a smart, talented, hard-working, charismatic guy who excels at whatever he does. None of this really surprises me.
However, none of this really matters to me if I’m craving stability and connection and am not getting it.
So, how am I responding to this? By keeping on trucking. I’m looking for full-time or long-term contract work, and I’ve been networking and hustling my butt off trying to make it happen. I can still service my current clients while working full-time, and I enjoy the work that I do for them.
I also get out there and connect with people however I can. Volunteering with Back On My Feet means a lot to me. I’m the new Wednesday morning team lead for the new team, so I’ll be leading workouts to help recovering addicts stay clean.
I also stay in shape; still running and boxing with my trainer Freddy Marratto.
And, of course, I’m still freelancing, networking, and getting my name out there for more WordPress development work.
Good lord. You think you want something, and then you get it, and then it turns out to not be the right thing for you. Maybe it will be in the future. Just not now. I’m still rebuilding my base and need to get my feet back under me.
I’m the resilient type. If nothing else, that’s what the last 1.5 years have taught me. I am incredibly resilient, and that’s the only thing that has gotten me through these 36 years with a continually positive, upbeat attitude.
Since I have gone on this transformational journey, I have documented it and have been open and vulnerable. You have always given me a positive response when I’ve opened up. I’ve heard from some of you that it has even inspired you to do better. Maybe some of what I’m feeling applies to you, so if this piece lets you know you’re not alone, then it was worth writing and sharing it.
Keep going. I know I will be.