When I worked at a desk staring at a screen for 8-10 hours a day, endured southern California traffic through bleary eyeballs, and drafted and re-drafted emails to clients and managers so I wouldn’t look stupid or flippant, freedom seemed so far, so lovely, so beautiful.
Then, I quit.
And then, I found out how scary and terrifying freedom really is.
The freedom that seemed to only exist outside office of cubicles, seen through windows and lunch breaks, tasted briefly on Friday evenings heading into the weekend – became the air I breathed. I was overwhelmed. It was too much.
I was so scared. Sorry that was an understatement.
I was scared shitless.
I didn’t know how to manage my time. I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere, wasn’t reporting to anyone, wasn’t accountable for work and deliverables.
So I did everything. I did everything to make sure I could, at the end of the day, say that at least – at the very least, I did my very best aka I paid for it. I did everything so no one could tell me leaving my bi-monthly direct deposit and security was a mistake. I made sure I had no gaps, no free-time, no moments of idleness.
I woke up just as early, did my morning routine of reading and writing, stacked my schedule with things I could work on.
The freedom I had pursued became my prison.
I was so scared that I would lose control. I was so scared I would lose my purpose, my fire. I was so scared of failing, of being judged, of crawling back to corporate’s door, knocking and asking for a position.
It terrified me.
And fortunately, it wasn’t working. No matter how productive I tried to be, no matter how much I filled my day with things to do, posts to write, opportunities to connect – I was getting nowhere super quick.
And I gave up.
I was tired and, in a way, even more stressed than before because I was trying to create something out of myself, out of trying to “catch up” and compensate. I had no guidelines, no one to tell me I was doing anything right or wrong. I was on my own.
My time was mine, my bank account was mine (well, that was always mine, but now everything in it was all I had haha), my resources – mine. My connections – mine. My purpose – mine. Accountability? Me. Motivation? Me.
And it was then that I realized this is exactly what I fought for. It was this freedom – that everything in my life, in my every day is mine and only mine.
I realized this is what I pursued. I pursued myself. I pursued my heart, my soul, my purpose, my passion. I pursued something meaningful to me.
And then I realized, this freedom was meant to give me meaning in what I choose to do, what I choose to value, what I choose to grow and create. This freedom was meant for me.
It meant I call the shots – on what made sense to me. It meant I decide what was important. It meant I only do things that truly mattered – to me. Not because I’m supposed to. Not because it’s what everyone else did. Not because I want to look productive. And definitely not because someone tells me to.
This post got too long. Tomorrow’s post is about what I’m doing with the freedom now that my relationship with it is shifting. Thanks for reading.