Monday, 3 October 2016

finally freedom

A quarter of a year.

3 months, 3 days of everything and nothing: where has that time gone?

I had wanted to sell my business for many years but always wondered what came after. I still don’t know. A few close friends knew the enormous stress I was under for very little reward. For the last 12 months, more money had gone in than come out. Once an offer was accepted I couldn’t wait to hand over the keys and run. Run as fast and as far away as quickly as I could. But two days later I was back in doing the last section of training and I hated it. I haven’t looked back from that point. Never regretted the step that on paper was suicide for my finances: just don’t even think of a pension fund: it doesn’t exist.

Selling a business, unless it’s a very big one is not a money pot. I walked away with a £600 van and money to keep me going for 12 months providing I was frugal. With a mortgage to pay and all the usual bills, it was just a good job that materialism isn’t in my vocabulary!

Month one was my rest month. I never thought I could do it. No work for a month? Would I miss it? Would I be tearing my hair out? No. Not one iota. I went camping and then I went camping some more. I found the pleasure of camping mid week, chatting to a lot of older retired people and how they adjusted: I did a lot of listening and absorbing and wished that this wasn’t a temporary state I was in. July passed in a blissful warm haze in green fields.

Month two was my tidy the house and find places for things month. Some got sorted, a lot still needs sorting. Instead I did a lot of being creative, drawing and painting. But I also did a lot of sleeping. Long blissful nights and lazy rises. The minute the business was sold, the alarm clock was unplugged. I’d still awake at 6.30 but it was a blissfully rested natural awakening and then after Joey had been out the back, back to bed with a cuppa. Jobs were applied for covering a variety of disciplines from car park attendant to head of marketing. Not one interview was forthcoming. I continued to draw and paint, walk and delight in waking up feeling alive.

Friends could see the stress had lifted from my shoulders. Evidently my whole attitude has changed [obviously this is one of those things you can’t actually see in yourself]. My confidence as a person was coming back. This was something that had got lost many years ago. The outgoing carefree person had got lost under the stress of all manner of things. I had become totally introverted, didn’t want to go out, felt inferior, useless, unloved and worst of all I suppose, a failure in all areas. But I was coming to peace with myself. Releasing myself of all the blame for every situation; that I was to a large extent, normal in the burdens I carried. But I still had hated going out as I couldn’t afford to do it!

With a bit more confidence returning a few major things happened. I enjoyed my own company, I always have had to some extent but now I was really enjoying the solitude. It was refreshing and healing. I was also happy to use the word no. I wasn’t actually going to do anything I didn’t want to do. I wasn’t automatically going to agree with someone just to appease them. I would disagree, ask pertinent questions. Not to be argumentative but to understand their point and to challenge my own beliefs. I also refused to waste my time being involved in things that I didn’t feel were valuable to me. My life was getting shorter by the minute and I wasn’t going to do anything that wasn’t for me. Finally after a 24 year marriage and 10 years living alone I was finally starting to put me first. It was liberating. I
would do what I wanted to do and I would do it for me.

Month three was a mish-mash. With almost two weeks booked for Spain it should have been a pleasant break. I had missed my last trip due to the sale and now I had some business to attend to there, and then I was gone. I dropped down to the coast to be a tourist for a few days and what a revealing few days they were.  A drive out here and there visiting places I’d always wanted to go; a meet up with a dear friend and some lovely early morning sunrises really gave me my life back. I felt like I was getting somewhere at last, my life was back in my hands and I was feeling liberated making these massive life choices.

On my return I felt deflated. There was a giddying euphoria when making life changing decisions, but then what’s next? I had no idea. I was to a large extent a zombie. Rattling around the house without much thought of what was coming next other than the need for work. More CV’s sent off and more rejections. I now needed to re-plan the next steps whilst I waited for work. But you can’t wait for work can you? When you have always been self employed that’s just not natural. You have to be creative to put food on your plate, to pay the mortgage and the bills. Failure is not an option to anyone working for themselves and I knew no other way.

A lot of thinking was going on. Sometimes I didn’t know what I was thinking I just knew it was happening. What did I really want to do with my life? That I did know, but how could I achieve it?

And before I could blink, month three was at an end. Two massive decisions had been followed through and strangely enough I was still feeling relaxed. Not once had I looked back and regretted what I had done.

What I did know was that now I was getting itchy feet. I wanted to start regimenting my days, to have some order. I needed to push myself forward as an artist and a designer. I needed to get some money coming in. So in month four of my stress free life, I’m going to be pushing forward. Foisting myself and my services on facebook and hoping my friends spread the word of my services. I have a mental marketing plan, a whole lot of time and it’s now time to kick myself up the ass and be confident. The last bit is the hard bit. I don’t blow my trumpet very well at all. I know I’m good at what I do but..... let’s see what is around month four’s corner.

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