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I’m finally almost well, except for a kind of constant sinus headache.  That’s good.  Now, I find I don’t know what to do with myself. 

I’ve always worked, and it feels strange and wrong not to be.  I had no idea how much of my identity was wrapped up in my work.  I feel guilty about not working like I always do.  And what’s more, I need to be working harder, since I’m trying to work for myself, and that’s where the stuck feeling comes in.  I need to fall back on my own advice to overwhelmed people: make a list.   Just like when I was in the office, have an appointment book with appointments, even if they are only with myself.

Discipline: my ever-devil.  I knew this would be a problem.  More later today.

Maybe if I spew it all out there, I’ll feel better.

I’ve been able to approach this whole self-employment venture with very little trepidation.  I know (rationally) that I have enough to see me through for a while.  But yesterday, I got nervous — mostly about money, but also about my abilities.

My first severance check came yesterday – and it was about 1/5 of what I thought it would be and I don’t know why.  I expect it was just that I was late getting my paperwork in, but I didn’t realize how much I was mentally counting on the severance money.  Now, in my head, I am shaping the concept that I won’t have any severance and will just have to make ends meet without it.  I know this is not necessarily reality, and I have to just call the company and find out what’s going on.  But just as I am one of those people who likes to set their clocks ahead by ten minutes to fool themselves into being early (or at least close to on time), I also find comfort in setting money aside in some way that I don’t really know it’s there.  Kind of a bizarre savings strategy.

So, okay.  No severance.  I have another small job from my one client.  I am starting to feel slightly better, so next week, I will start making calls to contacts.  This week, I will spend being creative, getting samples and resume in order, completing profiles on freelancing sites, crafting emails and creating my own brochure.  I will also target some publications, draft a few query letters, and work on articles. The money from articles won’t be huge to start, but I need the publishing credits. Local publications may be best to target.  And I shall prepare myself for rejection.

I’m sitting in a coffeehouse, taking advantage of their internet and green tea, and looking at the photography for sale on the walls.  It’s very good – I don’t think mine is good enough, and that’s unusual for me to be so uncertain in that realm.

Later —

I’ve now spent a very pleasant day researching magazine markets and coming up with article ideas.  But I haven’t done anything to earn any money today.  I hope I can keep myself from that way of thinking – or at least find a “happy place” in which to bucket it.

That song that goes “You and me together, can do anything, anything, baby” is on the sound system in the coffee shop.  I like that song.

About time to move on to what used to be Job #2.

That’s the little sign on the corner of my computer monitor.  The little sign at the top of the computer monitor says “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware.”  Both are pretty apt for me these days.

I am getting ready to leave my job – well, more accurately, my job is leaving me – on Friday.  I’ve been coming here off and on for almost nine years to the day.  That’s a long time.  It will be strange not to drive up, walk through the doors, settle at my desk.  Fortunately, at least in my head, the company is moving everyone into our “back-up” building, into a completely different environment/layout/set-up, so I comfort myself by thinking that it would be very different anyway.  Had I stayed, I might have switched to full-time work-at-home – which I’m going to do anyway with my own business.

But what I will really miss (aside from the steady paycheck) is the support system.  I’ve known the women I work with for a long time:

Kathy: 9 years – she heard my sorrow over losing my Mom daily; I’ve helped her through dating, marriage and two kids, and we’ve been each other’s moral support through some hellacious work schedules for the past 7 months
Kathy: 9 years – she was first my boss, and then she became my friend; she helped me move out when I left Pat
Denise: 5 years – very much like a sister to me
Kris: 20 years – we’ve been together at two companies and through the deaths of my parents and her dad
Debbie: 4 years – we compare notes about our kids
Colleen: 4 years – we’re talking about painting houses together in the summer
Christine: 5 year – we’ve always wanted to go out together, but we agree that might be dangerous – a big support for me during times of transition

With all of these women, I have shared tears, laughter, dreams, and rants.  At times, they were the only positive thing about coming to work.  While I know that I don’t need to let the relationships go, I’ve never been good at maintaining relationships, and the dynamic changes once you’re “out” when they’re still “in.”  I want to change my old pattern of letting people go, and try to keep these women in my life.

I know that some of them are closely following my plan for working independently, and wishing they could pursue their own dreams.  They’re watching to see how I do.  After all, if I can do it, they can do it.

So I owe it to them, as well as to myself, to be fearless.

January 2019
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