Life

Priorities and Setbacks

Well, four months since my last post, and the real keyword of this post is “underestimating”. Life has thrown me for a loop over the past 4 months, but it’s been a fun ride.

First, on December 15, we closed on our house. It’s an amazing house, and I have the best home office I could hope for. A beautiful view of the Smokies, with a decent view of all of downtown Lenoir City. To be honest, I don’t ever want to leave my office. It is worth waking up every day just to sit in my office and bask in the sun from all the windows. I still haven’t unpacked all my office things… but all the important stuff is present.

We didn’t take possession until mid January due to the prior owners’ schedule — all the better for us because we travelled as usual to Maryland for the holiday period. A great highlight was seeing the new Star Wars movie in IMAX at the Air and Space Museum in DC. But then, the cascade began. First, the hassle of moving enough things to the new house to be able to live. (Beds. Refrigerator.) Then, replacing items that weren’t worth moving. (New couch). Then, it started to feel like home.

In February, my already tenuous work relation with my employer-slash-largest client (what do you call a full time position when you’re a 1099?) completely dissolved. Several reasons, but mainly due to broken promises, which became evident that they weren’t going to change, followed by a mysteriously missing paycheck.

I took this as a sign to take a step back. I focused on rehabbing our old house (new carpet, paint, a lot of repair…) and I spent spring break just enjoying my son. I had focused so hard on work over the past 3 years that if we weren’t travelling, I didn’t really take vacation days with him when he had a day off school. It was an amazing experience, both to enjoy sitting outside on our porch, and just watching him play all day.

Then, I caught the flu. On the first day that I was truly bed-bound, I realized what it must be like for people to die of the flu, and I was convinced of my own mortality. But, I didn’t catch pneumonia or any other complication of the flu, and after 8 days of full bed rest, I survived again.

So here we are, four months later — and I’m moving into a different stage of my life — job hunting. I’ve run my own freelance business since 2011 — when I stumbled on and wrote my first WordPress theme — and now it’s time for me to find something more stable. Having a full-time client for most of 2015, has truly taught me that what I really want is something more stable. Answering to only one person or company, where they understand the extent of my workload. I’m great at excelling under pressure, but there’s a vast difference between having 10 jobs, prioritizing them and working through the time, and having 10 clients expecting you to give them each the same 8 hours. The fluctuations of freelance work over the past 5 years, and the pain of clients who have financially stiffed me after a large time investment on my part, have taught me a lot of lessons, and the final lesson was that it’s time to move on.

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