Free(lanc)ing Me

Exactly one year ago I started my new life as a full-time freelancer. I left my stable, though unfulfilling, job of five and a half years in pursuit of more. More opportunities to use my expensive education. More time to build my photography business. More chances to develop my writing. More everything. And that’s what I did. In fact, the running joke when anybody asked what I do for a living was to answer, “a little bit of everything”. I taught undergraduate psychology at a local university. I photographed a number of events and weddings. I started a private practice where I offered individual and couples therapy. I contracted with local programs to run group therapy sessions. I wrote and edited and wrote and edited and wrote and edited countless documents.

And now, one year later, buried under an insurmountable pile of “to do” stickies nagging me about casenotes to finish, pictures to retouch, documents to be edit, syllabi to complete, books to read and re-read, preparations to make, business cards to order, invoices to file, websites to update, inspirations to pursue, lessons to remember – all before I leave my office to tend to the rest of… life – I am exhausted.

I do not regret, for one moment, my decision last year. It was not a decision made in haste, but one that took about a year and a half to work up the courage to choose. Neither do I regret this past year. It was indeed difficult: full of trials and tests of faith, many of which I failed miserably; brimming with emotions ranging from fear and anxiety to anger and disappointment to love and joy; overflowing with valuable lessons I hope to never forget. But, I am exhausted. I have not had a vacation in a year. My mind, constantly swimming with all that’s left to do at the end of the day is filling a complaint against me for unfair labor practices.

I have spent my life longing to be understood, but dreading to be defined. I feared that to give up any one thing I love was to give up that part of myself and be placed into a box. So I wanted to do them all… Photographer/counselor/professor/writer/choir singer/nursery care provider/mentor/decorator extraordinaire with a perfectly immaculate home/ad infinitum. But as the year came to a close and I finally stopped long enough to see how much of life had been spilling out sideways, I had to woefully admit that I cannot do everything. At least not without perfectly losing my mind and successfully drowning my self. I have to choose one thing, and do it well, and let all the others be. This is scary for someone who doesn’t want to be confined by even an idea. Yet, It’s restricting to be everything all the time! And as much as I fear it, it’s freeing to finally be ready to make that decision.

Just to get some interaction, what do you think I should choose? Share your feedback!


One thought on “Free(lanc)ing Me

  1. Danne – I know for me, professor was appealing precisely because it offered a rhythm that would allow space for other things. The trick being to sit down with the yearly academic calendar and plan out when there will be vacations and what pursuits will fill the rest of the spaces…otherwise, you’re right back in that same space of having too much going on at once. I totally understand what you are saying and that same dynamic is behind the changes I’ve recently chosen to make. Focus…it’s a beautiful thing.

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