When life happens, what would you do with the curveball?
Being a freelancer means there are many things I can anticipate and even prepare for. It’s a fantastic place to be — especially for someone who is slightly OCD and an unapologetic planner. But what happens when your carefully-mapped work life is thrown a curveball?
At the beginning of this year, I faced two major crises simultaneously. One was related to a medical emergency and the other to the added stress of taking on roles I had not planned on taking. A beachball-sized curveball hit me in the face like a 10-ton truck.
My career as a freelancer was just beginning to take off and I had a few good contracts lined up.
But, as I struggled with a health issue, compounded by the stress of added responsibility, something had to give. All the planning in the world did not prepare me for not being able to work optimally. And I soon realised I was not equipped emotionally or practically to deal with the crises and still function at my peak. For weeks work had to be relegated to the backburner and the reality hit me of how utterly alone freelancers are.
Freelancers don’t have the luxury of paid annual or sick leave. We don’t have the benefit of a subsidised medical aid. I also realised that my contingency plan was woefully inadequate. With all of this on my mind, I put an inordinate amount of pressure on myself because I was so unprepared. And as the medical bills mounted, my anxiety increased. Sigh … a vicious, lonely, debilitating cycle.
I’ve weathered the worst and I’m now back at work 100%. However, a part of me still stresses about what I can do better in anticipation of a future crisis (because I am pretty sure another one may crop up). Life happens. It is what it is… all of those other unhelpful expressions come to mind here!
In this blog, I have no answers … I am just exploring possibilities. I’m hoping to get a discussion going.
To my fellow freelancers, what would you do if life happens to you? Have you ever considered “what you would do if …”?