Yep, it’s my birthday. Again. They just keep coming, year after year. The “milestone” of 40 was last year, and I’m working today, because it’s the middle of the week. Hubby and I escaped for dinner last night together, which was nice, and my awesome local friends are kidnapping me for birthday fun Friday night, so expect some nonsense on social media then. For today, though, things are calm, no crazy party here.
I’ve been thinking about how much has changed in the last year, how much of our life is different, and how different I am as a person. Going full-time freelance, changing cities. Self-discovery and self-awareness. Whoo. I read a lot of books, spent a lot more time with my own brain, and figured out some clearer priorities.
I know I’m getting “old” because everything hurts, I complain about things I didn’t used to care about, I read more non-fiction and study economic reports…I know I’m not that old, but sometimes I’m afraid my next birthday will look like this:
I have to admit, I hate aging. Especially hanging out at conventions and with all these younger artists and creatives, I feel like this is me most of the time when trying to talk to anyone:
Really though, despite this year being a bit of a dumpster fire (to say the least) for many of us, a lot of good things happened in the twelve months between 40 and 41.
I attended the online Work-at-Home Summit in January, and because of things I learned there and subsequent courses I joined from the presenters, by May I quit my job and went to full time freelance and contract work. This has not only allowed more control over my schedule, and the freedom of being able to work wherever, it has also been a benefit to my stress levels and mental health. Is being self employed stressful? You bet it is. But it feels much more in my control, and that’s something I really needed. I still have a way to go to a fully “designed by me” life, but it’s making real progress. I work with people I want to work with, I get to spend more time helping small businesses and creatives, and I am doing work more aligned with my values and to help my community.
If you are interested in working from home, whether as a side hustle for some extra funds or to replace your current job, you should check out the free Work-at-Home Summit for yourself! I can’t recommend it enough. So many great interviews with people who have designed and built the life they wanted. And just because my work is admin related, don’t think that’s all the Summit covers! There are business people, creative people, and everything in between. The truth is, through the presenters at the summit I learned about some work-from-home options I didn’t even know existed!
After the Summit, I joined the Work-At-Home School, and in addition to gaining the knowledge and contacts to find my current main source of income, I was also able to take courses about flea-market flipping (which came in handy when Harrison’s parents suddenly handed over his entire childhood toy collection and we subsequently became VERY familiar with eBay best practices), more intentional writing, and time management.
Oh, that last one. What I thought was just another time management course turned out to be a full life course, incorporating time management and productivity hacks and connecting work and non-work all into one glorious set of systems and processes. I know I talked a bit about it before, but Carey & Demir’s Lifehack Bootcamp is what it says on the tin – it is intense, and it affects your whole life. In amazing ways. I THOUGHT I was pretty damn organized and put together, but I was still able to find vast ways to improve everything, including learning to prioritize and make more time for self care and fun. After all…
What else was this year? Let’s see – we traveled somewhere new (Baltimore with a quick swing to DC), we moved to Portland, we got a PUPPY…
So now I am working more the way I want to, I am living more the way I want to, and we live near and work with an amazing community of people that I am grateful for every day. I have new goals and ideas and a sense of purpose, something that had gotten a bit lost in recent years. My next year of life is full of new ideas and promise for me and for Harrison and for our life together. The road won’t always be easy, and in fact will often times SUCK, but I’m confident that in the end we’ll get where we wanted to and things will be AWESOME. The life we have is good. The one we’re building toward is GREAT.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go enjoy the rest of my birthday.