Sometimes, though, the freedom to order your own days makes it all worthwhile.
A few days ago I was just about to tackle a current deadline when my teen-aged nephew, M, called from the school counselor’s office. He’d just learned that a friend had committed suicide, and was too shaken to finish out the day.
His mom had okayed his leaving but could not break away from work (she’s a teacher) to come get him. Was there any way that I could?
You bet there was.
I spent the next four hours with M. We had lunch, talked and read a poem the school counselor had given him. Mortality is a bear at any age, but especially when you’re only 16.
Freelance life = versatility
Would he have gotten through the day somehow had I not been available to pick him up? Well, sure. We all do things we’re not sure we’re capable of doing.
But I remember my own 16-year-old self, and how rattled I’d have been if a friend had killed herself. Thanks to my chosen profession, I was able to step up. My being there might not have fixed everything all better, but it helped at least a little.
Obviously I had to make up the lost time later (see “no paid time off,” above). But I was fine with that. The older M gets, the more acutely I realize that very, very soon he might no longer want to spend time with his aunt. Any time I can help him – or just hang out with him – then I will.
Flexibility is essential to me at this stage of my life. I want to spend time with my midlife sweetheart, have a long lunch and some bad TV with my best friend (who’s experiencing serious health issues), declare a light-workload week (or a no-workload week) and take off to visit my daughter in Phoenix or fly to the East Coast to see my dad.
If I don’t do these things now, when will I do them?
Freelancing makes it possible. I hope that your own freelance lifestyle lets you do the things that are important to you, too.