It is news to no one that I’ve been basically sitting on my couch for the last year and a half due to illness. It was a mystery illness that had potentially permanent, life-altering consequences, so it was very tough to make plans. All of the Bucket List entries on this blog so far were made before I got sick and included lots of cool things that I couldn’t really think about too much in the last 18 months.
I’m thrilled to say that the mystery has more or less been solved. It was a simple solution, and I’m on my way to recovery. There is cautious optimism, but all signs point to “I’m going to get much, much better.” I can start thinking ahead again! Yay!
Here’s the thing. I’m not the same. I’ve changed physically in some ways, and I’m told that my full strength and stamina might never return to what they once were. I’m told that I might always have to deal with low-grade pain. I’m not scared of any of this (and it may turn out not to be true), but it does come into play when I start to think about what to do with my time. I have always defined myself by my career and let work take priority over everything. My relationships have suffered (especially with my family), and I think my health has probably suffered, too. My life perspective has been… just… warped.
So, illness is terrible, but while I’ve been sidelined, I’ve been given the gift of time. I’ve been given the gift of peace and quiet. It turns out, when I allow myself space, I don’t want to be married to any job (which is good since I haven’t had one in a while), and as it turns out, I don’t want to spend the rest of my days slugging it out and working days, nights, weekends, holidays, whatever–to make money for someone else. I think I can do better. So here are some things I am legitimately considering, and I intend to at least try all of it.
Writing a Book
I always joked with people that I should write a book someday. I’ve made a few half-hearted attempts in the past, but I’ve always abandoned the project. I get all embarrassed and self-critical, and then I get conveniently “too busy” to keep going. Well screw that. I’m going to do it. I don’t know quite yet if it will be a memoir-of-sorts or if it will be a work of fiction loosely based on things that I know about… but I’m going to do it. I will self-publish if I have to. For the first time ever, I actually believe I have the skill to pull it off. Why not?
Hey! I’m already doing this. I always thought you had to have some sort of piece of paper saying you are qualified to do this, but guess what? You don’t. I’ve gotten several jobs, and already have two long-term deals with clients thanks to Elance. I’m making money, and I’m doing something that’s interesting to me. Best part of it all? I can dictate my own schedule. If I am having a tough time focusing, or if I simply have too much life stuff happening, I don’t HAVE to work on anything that day. I just will have to put in some extra time the next day. I’m totally fine with that. I get to treat myself like an adult, and it’s great.
I learned how to sew when I got sick, and it turns out, I love it. It’s a ton of fun. I’m still pretty rough, and I definitely need more lessons. That said, I want to make stuff. All kinds of stuff. Bags. Skirts. Shirts. Pants. Everything. I want to make stuff for myself, and I want to make stuff to sell. I want to open an Etsy store. Correction: I don’t just want to do this. I NEED to do this for my soul to survive.
In the distant future (distant because I have zero capital at this point), I want to own and operate a coffee shop. I am so passionate about good coffee, and customer service is in my blood. I want to create a space where people can come, relax, socialize, be creative, discover awesome music, and enjoy the wonder that is coffee. This one is a bit of a reach for me, mainly due to the crazy amount of money it takes to build and open a place like that, but I just believe it’s going to happen someday. And I know cafes and restaurants fail all the time. If I ever have the privilege of having one of my own, mine won’t fail. I will not let that happen. It’s too important.
Ok, so this isn’t so much a career option for me, but it is something I want to do, and if done right, it will make money. I’ve never been interested in investing. Sort of like how I’ve never been interested in fashion. Surprise! Things change.
I honestly just never thought I was smart enough to think about the stock market or anything having to do with investments. Apparently, it’s just like anything else. You just need to start with the basics and go from there. So thanks to Jim Cramer, I might actually be able to turn a little bit of money into a little bit more. Eventually.
I know working for yourself can be an uphill battle, and I know that some people don’t win. I’m just saying that I think I can do it. I want to try. I’ve never tried before, and I refuse to go through the rest of my life complaining that the people who are successfully self-employed are somehow better or luckier than me.
Privilege and luck can be made.