(Pictured here: Not me. But that’s totally what I look like right now on the inside.)
So it’s nearly 3:00 on Tuesday as I sit down to write this, and up until about an hour ago I was convinced that today was Monday. It’s, uh, not. The weird thing is that I had deadlines yesterday and I met them all and yet, this morning, I was sure it was Monday. Again? Still? I really don’t know.
My kids didn’t have school yesterday, so that’s part of the problem. It made the day feel Not Like A Regular Work Day, so I’m going to blame that for my temporary time warpage. That’s the first rule of parenting, anyway, isn’t it? Blame the children? I’m sure it said that in my manual.
Oh, don’t be jealous just because you didn’t get a manual. Anyway, my confusion over the day isn’t really the point here.
The point I actually want to make is that life keeps surprising me, and in particular, this job keeps surprising me, even all these years into it. And that’s… kind of neat, actually.
First surprise: I can learn to delegate. I often joke that I went into freelancing because I don’t play well with others, and being my own boss was the only way to make sure my control-freak self would feel satisfied that things are being done the right way. This is only sort of a joke. But! As time goes on, and as my business expands, I’ve learned to let go, some. I have outsourced a number of business-related services and—as I realized, sitting in my accountant’s office this morning, dealing with a tax hiccup—I am perfectly at peace with letting the capable people I’ve hired do their thing. I can even—shhhhh!—let my husband take over kid duty sometimes and not break out in stress hives.
Second surprise: Some of the things I do for my job every day are useful real life skills. Another joke about my chosen profession (which is only sort of a joke) is that I finally became a writer because I’m really just not very good at anything else. Not entirely true! It turns out that having to pimp myself out for work means that when it comes time to do things like drum up donations for my kids’ school, I’m happy to do it while others cringe and murmur that they “could never go ask for stuff.” Not only that, I negotiate without shame. This morning I had a merchant offer me a $10 gift certificate for an auction I’m organizing, and by the time I left, he’d made it $40. It’s not that I’m so super-fantastic, it’s that practice has actually made me comfortable with asking for what I want in a way that works.
Third surprise: I really do adore my officemate. Remember when we finally got a dog, and I said, “Hey, maybe this will help me get up now and then during the day instead of zoning out at my desk?” Recently in the cooler weather, the dog has been spending long stretches of time outside, and at first I kind of missed having her pouncing all over my office. But then… I realized that if i was looking around missing her, I could get up and go outside for a few minutes, myself. How about that! In lieu of human companionship during the day, she’s excellent company. I knew I’d love having a dog, but I really didn’t know how much she’d improve my overall health.
So what about you? What—if any—has surprised you about your solo career? Or did you think today was Monday, too?