April 1, 2014

On a Free Ride

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One day I woke up and realized part of the word ‘freelancer’ is ‘free.’

Not as in “I’ll work for free.” Rather as in “I am free.”

Free to conjure up and explore possibilities. Free to pitch ideas, to learn how to take rejection, to follow leads. Free to structure (or not) my day or my week any way I see fit. Free to shop for health insurance and have it stay put regardless of where my writing and coaching lead me. Free to sometimes be manic, like I should be generating something in every waking moment.

It’s all part of my special brand of freedom, the one I’ve cultivated and embraced, often find challenging, wouldn’t trade for the world.

Last year when a long-standing freelance assignment ended and I was feeling lost, for some reason the first thing that appealed to me was a travel festival in New York that I saw mentioned on Facebook. I signed up and spent the day listening to lectures from travel writers over the course of a Saturday. Seemed random, if open.

Months later, after having launched a new website and then, on a whim, traveling to Germany, I asked my web guru to add a travel section to the site. I wanted to write about the trip, as I had always done with other trips in various forums. To boot, I’ve been luxuriating in writing about my passion for travel in this blog, letting the idea of an Airstream adventure put me in fantasy mode.

So while it might seem out of the blue in some ways that I was drawn to a Facebook post that said “Travel Writers Wanted” a few months ago, it was anything but. Once I stepped back and saw this magnificent progression of events over the last year, it became abundantly clear that I’ve been making my way to this all along. As I work through the online travel writing course advertised in the aforementioned Facebook post, I am experiencing a calm assurance once again that paying heed to the universal flow is the only way to live well.

This is how things happen. They line up even when we may not be aware of it.

There are plenty of sappy, simplistic quotes out there about following your bliss. I’m aligned with many of them, except I’d add a big caveat. It is rare that we can spend 100 percent of our working lives in jobs that make us feel over the moon. Other factors intervene – timing, obligations, health issues, etc. – at various points in our lives. But if we spend zero percent of our working lives in jobs that we love and are good at, we’ve missed the boat on meaningful living.

While most of my working life has been spent in jobs that tapped into my gifts, it wasn’t until about a decade ago that I started to see the logic and brilliance of the natural flow of things. Going with it. Paying attention to it. Infusing it with energy. There are sign posts right in front of us and sometimes we just blow by them without a pause.

That’s a different kind of free. Free to disregard what’s right there, to be beholden to old thought patterns, to stay safe and comfortable, to equate toil with virtue.

I had to de-program that. It was essential for my well-being. Sometimes it feels like I’m living by the seat of my pants. It’s what I’ve chosen.

For me, that’s all part of free.

Free, free, free.

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