The free-range (working) life

woman walking on fence

The first three months…

On Thursday, March 30th 2022, I left being employed to work for myself. While I left with a sense of trepidation and anxiety as to the unknown, I had a real deep rooted sense that I was doing the right thing. (Knowing that I was doing the right thing did not help my superstitious mind. Note the date of of my last day in work was the 30th of March and NOT April Fool’s Day-this was a deliberate choice. Can you imagine if I had skipped out of secured paid work on that day for it to go tits up?!)

This surety came only a few months after I recognised that that itchy restlessness feeling that was bothering me (see previous article Wanderlust or just wondering? – and in other newsJune 2021) was indeed the niggling feeling of a need for personal change, control and freedom.

I loved my daily 9-5 with a passion, and I loved the people I worked with and the things that I did even more, but what I didn’t love was the time it took away from, and the rigid constraints it put on, my life.

The pandemic and its ensuing lockdowns I believe were a peculiar catalyst to my decision making. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I enjoyed the restrictions. I missed my family and friends, and at times I felt stifled at home and anxious when the briefings came, BUT there were key parts of our new way of living that I didn’t mind.

For me, as hard as it was to navigate the weirdest time in our living history ever, I welcomed the slower pace of life, having nowhere to rush to, and having significantly more free time. When Covid caught me in the September of 2021 and again in February 2022 it was grim and unpleasant physically, but I recognised the benefits of having more time at home.

For the first time in my grown up working life, I had more control and autonomy over what I did and when. We were all forced to learn and manage working from home, and this in itself was a revelation to me. It was refreshing not to have to cram everything other than work into the forty-eight hours that comprised of Saturday and Sunday. Of course this was not everyone’s ideal; I didn’t have children at home that needed supervising or entertaining and if you were part of a family that had to forge your way through this then you will forever remain heroes!

So I did it-I took the leap and the sky did not fall down (although the bank balance did -a little). After about a month of going solo, I started to get comments: ‘Have you been abroad? ‘You look so well!’ too many comments for them to be just polite compliments and small talk. What was the difference then because I hadn’t been abroad, I hadn’t even been away in the UK, in fact I had probably been doing more ‘work-work’ than before. The difference being-I had time to breathe, to do things during the day-in the daylight hours, at my own pace. If my wonky brain woke me up frazzled and in a tizzy, I was able to take my time starting my working day and adapt it accordingly. These things were the difference.

This is not an article to preach to the world about jacking in the 9-5 and living freely. And there is absolutely nothing wrong in needing to stick to the security of paid employment. It is only now at this particular point in my life that I am able to take this opportunity. I could not have made this work previously.

This is an article about perhaps being open and curious to the possibilities of doing things differently, of wondering ‘What if?’ and ‘Can I?’ and after over a year of wondering those things-I am glad that I did.

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