We know the life we imagine having in TCI is most likely very different from the life we will actually end up living. Yet, it is this dream of a life that keeps us propelling forward. We know this disconnect exists, but still chase the dream. Why? I don't know if there is a real solid answer to this question. At best, the answer is fluid.
I'm already seeing some of this disconnect in the preparation stage. For years, I imagined the life of a freelance writer as a romantic adventure full of beautiful phrases and endless possibilities. Sure, this may exist for someone, somewhere. But the reality I've found as I have put my toe in the water in this new career direction is a bit different. My misconceptions are obvious when put on paper. The logical area of my brain responds with, "Well, duh!"
Write What You Want, When You Want
Nope. Write what they want when they want it. I am so far very lucky to have incredibly awesome clients who are beyond reasonable in their expectations, so I am by no means complaining here. The reality is that they have a need and I have a skill that fills their need. That skill is in no way my ability to pontificate about my perspective on the world. That, dear reader, is reserved for you. Lucky, lucky, you. The skill they require is mostly my ability to research and then the ability to turn that research into something well-written and useful. This often translates to boring. And, as Murphy's Law would dictate, my so far limited client base tends to all need things at the same time. This can be a challenge as I am still working full-time in my soon-to-be former profession. Although it is soon-to-be former, it requires much attention and time. I'm not the kind of person who can mentally check out before a job is finished and while my current role may have an expiring clock on it, I am still committed to performing at the top of my ability until the last day. It's a good thing I'm great at multi-tasking.
Work Less, Play More
Again, nope. I can already tell I'll be putting in a lot more hours to maintain my current income when I transition to freelancing full-time. Has this made me question my decision? Not at all. The fact is, even though much of it might be boring and sometimes verging on tedious, I enjoy writing much more than what I'm doing now. I'm better at it too. Even though the idea of having more play time may be a bit of a misconception, my happiness level will skyrocket. Isn't that the point of playing more? The increase in satisfaction is definitely worth the trade off. I don't want to die having spent majority of my time staring at a beige office wall. At least with freelancing I'm able to be out in the world. I can perform my trade in much less limiting locales. I'll take it. Death by beige and rote is not how I want to go.
I'm Done with Corporate Rules
Probably not. After taking a heavy swig of reality, I've realized there is a pretty good chance I'll be punching a time clock somewhere for the foreseeable future. I'm okay with this. I've long since let go of any importance I once associated with title or rung on the corporate ladder. I've tasted that and found it very bitter. Not my cup of tea. I know what income mark I need to hit and that is the only goal. Hitting that mark will give me the freedom to do what I want to do - write. If a minimum wage job is what it takes to bridge the gap, so be it. I'll be the best retail clerk, phone agent, assistant, or peon I can be while I'm on the clock. My aspirations in life are no longer tied to corporate culture goals. My aspirations lie in finding the best in the little things. Making memories when I can. Letting out my creative soul. The freedom in redefining life away from my job title is liberating, to say the least.
I am not the next Rowling or King. I will not spend my days and nights living in the world of my imagination. Nor will I ever, most likely, get people to pay me for putting to paper the whimsical stories in my head. That is the life I imagine. But I will continue to work toward realizing my fantasy. I will still put my words on paper, so to speak. I may even work up the nerve to write a query for one or two of these pieces some day. Even if I don't, I will relish the ability to use my natural talent rather than trying to fit myself into the image of someone else's reality. I will punch a time clock as long as I have to and identify myself as the person I want to be - a writer, Husband's partner-in-crime, an adventurer, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I'll relish my happiness so much more than I once thought I would relish my job title.