“Be careful what you wish for…”
I suspect we’ve all heard this phrase at some time in our lives. Something positive comes into our life that we wanted, but it comes with stuff we have “deal with” in order to have it, stuff we probably didn’t thing about when we asked for it.
Over the last six months or so, the pieces of my life have arranged themselves in such a way that I’m living the dream of a lot of folks out there: working from home, with virtually complete control over my schedule. However, I’ve found that setting your own schedule is a lot harder than I thought, and I’ve been struggling. Lately, I’ve been trying out different schedules in an attempt to establish some sort of daily routine that allows me to get my work done and also get in exercise, meditation, grocery shopping, etc. I still haven’t found the perfect formula, but I’m getting closer.
In 1995, when I started my clothing design business (which I did from home the first four or five years), I was still doing other jobs
—performing, teaching dance, choreographing, reviewing dance. These other jobs required me to be certain places at certain times and gave at least some structure to my days, which helped me focus my at-home work time. I also had deadlines for the design business—getting ready for open houses, completing a customer’s order by a certain date—that kept me in line and on task.
At the moment, the majority of my days are spent writing short children’s stories and articles for an education client—articles I can turn in at my own pace, as many or as few as I choose in any given week. The only real “deadlines” I have are when I invoice the client every two weeks, because I try to aim for working the same amount of hours each invoice period. I also do freelance grant-writing, which has deadlines but is more sporadic. Which means that most days I can write as much or as little as I want.
This is both wonderful and awful.
I love the flexibility, of course. When an out-of-town friend visits in the middle of the week, I can take the day off and spend time with her, because I know I can make up the work on the weekend. I can also work all weekend and then treat myself to a movie matinee on a Monday afternoon (when there are no crowds!).
I find it so easy to become distracted by other things: the house that needs vacuuming, the dog that needs walking, the laundry that needs washing, the bills that need paying; the garden that needs attention (and which I absolutely need to putter in to feed my soul and keep my sanity). Sometimes I have to leave the house and go to the neighborhood Starbucks or my local library branch, just to get away from all the things at the house that are whispering to me, trying to pull me off task. I end up wasting a lot of time and never getting to all the things I always dreamed of doing if only I had the free time in my schedule—like my own personal writing.
So…here I am. I’ve been given a wonderful gift that comes with a challenge, but it’s a challenge I gladly accept because I’m very grateful for the gift.
Which makes me think about the challenges I’m faced with from time to time. If there are gifts that come with challenges, then maybe there are challenges that come with gifts. Maybe it’s only our perspective that makes something into a challenge or a gift. How might our world change if, the next time we’re faced with a challenging situation, we focus on looking for the gift that the challenge brings us? Taking the thought a little further…perhaps the challenge is actually our wish being granted, but it’s coming to us in a different form than the one we had in mind.
Hmm. A thought worth mulling, worth “trying on” for a bit, I think….