I have never been one to be bossed about and luckily for me when I was working, the bosses that I had were really lovely. Taking a break out of working life to care for my sick husband has meant that I haven’t had to deal with bosses and workplace politics over the past few years and whilst that has been fantastic for my sanity, my finances have taken a real nosedive.
Most of the regular readers to my blogs will know that I became ill during my time out of work and that has hindered my return. Some of you might recall that I was studying to get a degree in English and that I had many options I was pursuing. Getting sick myself has certainly brought with it a whole new set of problems that have meant I had to delay my return to work.
Late last year an opportunity arose for me to become self-employed. I have to admit I really didn’t think I was cut out for self-employment; sure, I write and that’s always been freelance, but the opportunity that was presented to me seemed too scary. It was definitely something I was qualified to do but I just didn’t know if I had the energy and know-how to be my own boss.
I started working on my business in the new year and felt it was something I shouldn’t talk about much, which was crazy because how was anyone going to know about the services I provided if I didn’t market myself. I started posting online, mostly on Facebook and found that it wasn’t so scary after all. You see, we tell ourselves that we have to live our lives a certain way, we have to fit into a certain mould before anyone will take us seriously.
At the beginning of the year, I decided that I was no longer going to limit myself. I was going to put all of my time and energy into growing my business and take myself seriously instead of putting myself down. The thing is I was giving advice to people as part of my business and telling them that they shouldn’t be so hard on themselves, they should be nurturing themselves and being the best version of themselves, yet here I was cheating myself and being negative about me. So I gave myself a stern talking to and started practicing my preach.
In the beginning it seemed a very strange thing for me to be doing. So used to prioritising everyone else I found it really difficult to put my own needs first. I felt selfish, I felt like I was letting my loved ones down. I persevered and eventually I realised that I was worthy of the same time, energy and commitment that I gave to everyone else. I mattered too.
Working from home, for myself, doing the things that I love has certainly been a revelation. I have discovered talents I never knew I had. I have learnt to prioritise my time and energy in such a way that I have a much better work-life balance than I ever dreamt would be possible. I understand myself so much better too. Many of you will be aware that I have several chronic illnesses and these illnesses prevent me from working in a traditional job. They limit what I am able to do and certainly make life interesting. Being self-employed has given me the freedom to become independent again financially. Prior to this I was claiming disability benefits and with all of the cuts, my money was going down but my bills were steadily increasing.
I am not going to lie to you, there are days when I am confined to my bed, howling with pain and feeling like a ten-tonne truck has hit me. I still have those days, I still am chronically ill. I still have the mobility issues. The difference is I get to choose when the work gets done. I get to set the pace, I get to decide the hours and days I am going to work and if I hit a rough patch then I can work from my bed if needs be.
I am grateful for the opportunities my life has presented me with. Admittedly, there have been many challenges along the way, but one thing I can honestly say is that I am a survivor and when the going gets tough I get tougher.
Living life on my terms is so rewarding and fulfilling. I cannot thank the people who have helped me to achieve this enough, without them I would still be procrastinating and wishing for a miracle.