How good is good enough?


[Image Credit: woodleywonderwork]

That’s exactly what  I feel like.

It’s been almost 5 months since I quit my job. Now that I’m writing for a living, my blog’s taken a back seat. Paid writing takes precedence.

I’m a great believer in planning ahead. But it’s not quite worked out like I’d planned. In a good way and not so good.

I started off as a freelance writer, writing about technology, business and careers. According to my plan, by 3 months, I’d move away from the core writing, hire a few writers, have a nice fat client list, and start making 3x the amount I made at the old job. Well, wasn’t quite a plan, but a vague hope. Instead, at the 5 month mark, I’ve averaged just about the same as my old take home salary. And I’m pissed. Even though the hourly rate is higher, but I’ve worked lesser hours.

Now I’m an IIT-B, IIM-B alumni. A go-getter. An alpha. I hate slowing down. I’ve got to keep growing. So it’s been a bit of a let down for me. Okay – a big let down. What with not yet raking in more moolah than I can count. I’ve been so disappointed in myself, and this ‘step down’ that I never told more than a few close friends that I quit my job, and am now freelance writing!

So in effect, I didn’t leverage my network or my background to land my current clients. Stupid. Right. Got it.

Extreme version of the Impostor Syndrome.

But when I look back in a not-so-self-flagellating manner, I see that I’ve actually done a lot.

– I’ve got more hugs and kissed from the little fella in the last 3 weeks, than I did in the last 3 years. We’re having fun together :) Him and me. Finally!

– At month 3 as a freelance writer, without leveraging my network or background, I was making enough to pay the bills. I still have to get over the taxes.

– I’m finally able to get 6 hours of sleep a night. Some nights. When I’m not beating myself up for being such a loser aka a freelance writer with degrees from the best colleges in India. Or when I’m planning out each detail of the business I’m about to start – in my dreams.

– I’m enjoying the kind of lifestyle I’d imagined for ‘retirement’. Being able to ‘experience’ the day. I see the sun rise and the sun set everyday. I know just the right time before noon when the sun filters through just right on my little garden making the green almost glow. I ‘work’ a few hours a day, and ‘live’ the rest. I got a home office with an amazing view.

– What I really want now is to fine tune it further – reduce the amount of time spent on housework by half (or down to zero!!!); and same with ‘work’ time. I still work 10-14 hours some days, though those are rare. I average 4-5 hrs of ‘paid’ work a day. I want to halve it; and of course quadruple my hourly rate. Ya, I want the sun and the moon and the stars.

– I still have crazy deadlines sometimes, and clients who don’t pay, and an existential angst every now and then. But the overall stress level is way lower that at my last job. I’m more in control of who I work with and what I do.

– I get to learn. A lot. In the name of article research. Which I thoroughly enjoy.

– My eating patterns are ‘healthier’ now. Lighter, regular meals. I’ve even lost 5 kgs since July. Though I still haven’t gotten around to regular exercise. And  I still cant quite keep away from sugar, pizzas, maggi, cookies, cakes, bread, wafers, pasta, butter, cheese….etc. You get the hint.

– And did I mention I cleaned up a lot of junk around the house.

All in all it’s been a mixed bag. Not the kinda stuff you brag about from the roof tops – or Facebook. But no mean feat by any stretch. For someone who’s been hooked to a job all her life, it’s big. It’s big – the knowing that I can earn a comfortable living on my own, even without a job.

When I look back at all the angst of the last few years, juggling work and home and everything else, I’ve come a long way. There are still bills and deadlines and huge to-do lists piling up. But I ‘feel’ better. Better able to handle them. I feel more in control. I’m no longer playing by the rules others made for me. I no longer conform, or feel the pressure to (well, mostly). I’m figuring out what works for me. And doing it.

I’m shaping my life – the way I want it to be. I’m making the time and space for things that matter to me. And for me. When I can put aside my fears and apparent lack of social standing (no big name job, no leveraging the fancy degrees).

It feels like an all together new journey. But it’s just the beginning. As I struggle to figure out a balance – between being content with ‘enough’ versus wanting more, being more. Living one day at a time, slowly, gently, versus blazing a path. I’m inherently a very restless person. An over achiever. A perfectionist. It is very very difficult for me to slow down. To not do a hundred things together. To not go out in a big flame. That’s my personal struggle. What pace to set for myself? How far to push myself.

The more I do, the more I live, the more I am, the more I see, I realize there’s so much more to do, to live, to be, to see.



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