Next Friday, not this Friday, but Friday, February 28th will mark my official month of independence. My last day working “full-time” was January 29th, so not exactly a full month (but that’s February’s fault, not mine!), but the freedom has been both fearful and exciting at the same time.
As I write this, I have about $17 to my name until a large payment is deposited into my business account, and another custom order is paid through my Etsy shop. I have a car payment, rent, my cell phone bill, and student loan payments that need to be paid. And while I have had some sleepless nights wondering how and where this money is going to come from, all I can think about are the two custom stationery orders in the works, as well as the one I am finishing up in the next two weeks and the one I’m mailing out tomorrow. I am also thinking about the referral program I launched to entice previous customers, friends, and fans to spread the word (and as a way to say thank you to those who have supported and continue to support my business growth) about the wonder of S2 Stationery & Design.
My “to do” list grows longer and longer with each passing day. Not because I am not working, but because I have custom projects I am focused on. Additionally, I have a ton of creative ideas sitting in my head waiting to be sketched out and mocked up. I have designs I’ve researched sitting in my trusty notebook and already started in Illustrator that I just need to sit down and work on. And then, something like a blog comes up, or I need to send a newsletter, and that all falls to the side for a minute, half a day, or even a full day.
That’s when the fear hits. Can I do this? Am I up to doing this? Have I made a mistake? Am I going to be able to eat next week? How am I going to get to my part-time job? What about my rent next month? It’s almost as though I have the devil in red on one side saying, “you are nuts and I love nuts, but this is nuts. Why do you always think you can just leap and everything will be okay? I’m here to remind you that that’s not always the case!”
Then there’s the angel. The all glorious angel, except she’s wearing hot pink, and she keeps whispering, “You’ll be fine. Listen to me, ‘You’ll be fine!'” She doesn’t throw out questions, she throws out statements of encouragement: “You are doing this!”; “Don’t listen to her, she has no guts!”; “You won’t know if you can do this if you don’t do it!”; “Not only will you be able to eat next week, the fear that you won’t be able to eat is only that, fear.”; and my favorite, “What does your gut feel? Close your eyes and breathe calm, you have this.”
In all those moments of fear and certainty lies excitement. An excitement that at times can seem risky, but when I get a email inquiring about my custom design work, I breathe in a sigh of relief and remember that the angel is hot pink is right, that I do have this. That the road to freedom is not easy, nor is it full of monetary riches, at first, and maybe that isn’t my initial goal anyway. It requires an excitement of the unknown mixed with a dash of respect for fear. It is the crossroads of falling in love, really.
When I think about the moments where I’ve fallen in love, it’s always with the excitement of the uncertainty that comes with not knowing what’s next and the fear of what may be lurking around the corner. It’s knowing that both are working with you to reach your destination, but more importantly, it’s knowing that the falling, the part where you slip into love, will help you land where you should. Again, not easily, and not without a few bumps and bruises, and maybe not as you had planned, but you will land and it will be okay, even better than okay.
Speaking about my freedom, here is what I do know about experiencing day 12 of freedom:
- My road to freedom involves only having $17 to my name right now, but having almost $6000+ floating around and headed my way.
- My road to freedom allows me waking up at 7:30am, making coffee, sitting in my pajamas or even just a tank top while planning my day.
- My road to freedom involves going for a walk in the middle of the day to take photos for inspiration, or to make a snow angel in the most recent snow storm that hit New Jersey.
- My road to freedom is allowing me to offer a volunteer day worth of work at an organization that needs the assistance in exchange for attendance in programs that involve my field of paper and paper arts.
- My road to freedom inspires me to be more creative about reaching customers and designing new products to reach said customers.
- My road to freedom includes being able to dash to the supply store or to my printer’s office during the middle of the day should I need to.
- My road to freedom allows me to wake up grateful for a new day that allows me to be me, even with $17 in my bank account, and the sense of feeling that this is going to work out.
- My road to freedom leaves room for some pretty thoughtful and honest conversations with myself about desire and where I want to go with this freedom.
- My road to freedom has me going after what I want and being willing to risk it all for that want.
That is my beauty behind freedom and falling in love.
What about you? What does your road to freedom involve? How are you falling in love with Freedom? Are you excited? Fearful? Do share in the comments and don’t forget, part of the road to freedom is loving the journey, even if you only have $17 to get you moving.