There’s no debate among anyone that the world is one heck of a stressed out place. Between spouses, children, jobs, possible second jobs, bills and all the fact that every time you turn on the news the world seems like it’s on the brink of collapse it’s a surprise we’re not all mid nervous breakdown. I always thought I had a handle on it. I really did. Sure, I’ve had some pretty high stakes, high stress jobs in the past. I managed. I published. I did not perish.
Then I stepped out of the corporate world and into the world of the full-time writer. And apparently I didn’t know squat about stress before now. Paychecks are no longer secure for me. There is no one else to pull the extra workload should I get sick, hurt, or generally feel like slacking off. Everything rests on my shoulders. Meanwhile? Because I’m at home most of the house hold chores now fall on my shoulders too. Work is now slotted into 15 minute increments between coloring and reading stories and trying to figure out how the hell you make a meatloaf.
I’ve been both the world’s most wonderful mom for working all three days of the bookfair and showing up to help at school and the worst according to my Oldest because things that she wants now I have to say no to that back when I had a secure paycheck I could have just whipped out my wallet and bought.
All in all though the past nine months have been a learning experience. A chance for me to grow. I’ve gotten much more comfortable putting myself out there rather than hiding behind the rest of a work team. I’m more willing to take a risk. I’ve also learned that sometimes a coloring break is the best way to deal with the fact that something in my world isn’t working.
I’ve also learned to set boundaries – times when I look at the people in my life and say “no, I need to work” and “no I won’t get up at 4 am to do my stuff so I’m free to do yours later in the day”. I’ve also learned that the math and science parts of me haven’t died now that I have a more creative based career. As my hubby puts it I have schedules and goal worksheets and an organizational system that would make the most hardened efficiency expert weep tears of jealous rage. I have goals that if I succeed them would make Nora Roberts look like a slacker (if that’s possible after 200 books).
But the biggest thing I’ve learned in the past 9 months? I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to go with your gut and know that you’re doing the right thing. Am I stressed out to the brink right now? You better believe it. Would we be more secure if I hadn’t made this decision? You betcha. But I can’t bring myself to be upset about it. You know why? Because even stressed to the gills I’m happier than I’ve ever been before.