Don’t do what you don’t want to do

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 10.37.27 AMIn January of this year I had this burning desire to write more. Since I had been contributing to a local magazine for about nine months, I had built up confidence, got myself published and thoroughly enjoyed it all in the process. With the magazine giving me complete creative liberty to write what and how I wanted based on the assignment, and I was receiving positive feedback on my articles, I had some major wind in my sails.

So I started looking into what potential freelance writing opportunities might be available to further feed my urge. My son would be going to school more soon, and building a stronger portfolio and sharpening my style could only be a good thing in the meantime. In addition, finding an outlet to decompress from my threenager’s tantrums and playdate circuit was much needed. But I tell ya—being out of the “workplace” since my son was born and becoming a stay at home mom turned me into that person I only read about on parenting sites and Today Show exclusives featuring moms trying to get back into it. I WAS OUTDATED. Whaaa??? Sure, I am on Facebook daily, get my news online, have an iPhone, iPad and an iMac. But, when I studied the skills that writers possess these days, it all sounded encrypted. I was so behind the times on the digital media world. How did this happen so fast?

I started to deflate.

But, thanks to Google, I could find out what all these terms meant to feel a little more up to speed.

I stumbled across a freelancing site called Elance.com and started building my profile. It took some time, but I entered all the necessary fields to get things up and running, and then I started perusing the jobs. Wow. Just WOW. There were so many opportunities out there. The first one I submitted a proposal for, I got!!! How awesome. I got started right away.

But then, it started consuming me.

I was obsessed. I found myself getting up early, staying up late, furiously working during naptimes and when my son was at school and thinking about writing when I should have been focused on my son. I was so dedicated, but it was coming at a price. My main job right now is to be a mom and keeper of our house, but these deadlines were becoming more of a priority and it just wasn’t fair to my son, my husband, my house, me.

Then, after initially receiving glowing feedback from the client, he started getting a little too critiquey (in my opinion) considering what I was getting paid. I respect advice and pointers, but I was quickly realizing that I sold myself short and charged far too little for the work that I was slaving for.

And, what I was slaving for was for him.

I began to realize that I did not want to be sacrificing my time and running myself ragged for someone else.

I want my writing to be for me.

So, I informed the guy that the previous assignment I had turned in would be my last, but that maybe in the future our paths would cross when I had more time.

I learned so much from this experience.

  • If I have an urge to try something, I find a way to make it happen.
  • I surprised myself with my writing skills and built up my portfolio.
  • I should have negotiated my rate better.
  • I need to work on accepting criticism better.
  • It was ok to put up the flag and decide that it just wasn’t working for me.
  • The assignment I worked on exposed me to blog sites of so many incredible people.
  • I was going to start a blog.

Isn’t it crazy how the world works?? All paths lead to somewhere. While the situation started great, then turned not so great, the events in turn inspired my blog. I am now in charge of when and what I want to write and can devote all of myself to my son when I am with him and not be half there.

My messaging here is this—it’s ok to try something only to learn that it’s just not for you. It’s called figuring yourself out. Your likes and dislikes. Passions and desires. What you can and can’t handle. Unfortunately jobs sometimes don’t pan out as they were advertised and people don’t end up being “the one” and breakups ultimately ensue.

I have accepted sales jobs only to find out that I loathe cold calling.

I have had positions that required me to do presentations and public speaking. No matter how many books I read or how many pep talks my husband can give me on the subject, I still panic and get hives when having to speak in front of people. Small gatherings and dinner parties? I’m ok. But ask me to say my name and one thing about myself, and the fear starts rising. Oh, and tip for hiding the neck hives—wear turtlenecks or scarves on speaking days haha.

I think that the ocean and the world that lives beneath it is a beautiful and majestic place. But it also freaks me the f*ck out. Therefore, I don’t snorkel and would NEVER scuba dive. I can get my fill waiting for you on the boat while you do it or revel in all its majesty over a National Geographic special in the comfort of my own home. True story-during a trip to Key West with friends years ago, everyone wanted to do a snorkel cruise. I went along with it, thinking I would muster up the courage when the time came for me to jump in. It never arrived. I stayed on the boat. A short while later, my friends all came swimming back with lashes on their backs because they were all stung by massive jellyfish. I felt horrible they all got stung, but it further confirmed I will always be on the sidelines of water activities.

A friend texted me the other day that they were starting a co-ed softball league and wanted to know if I would be interested in being on her team. I laughed and was like, “I think you have the wrong number.”

While on a work-sponsored cruise a few years ago, my boss signed our travel team up for horseback riding when we arrived at one of our port destinations in Mexico. I am not particularly an animal person, they tend to smell the fear in me and bad things happen, so to cut to the chase–riding a horse in Mexico is not my idea of a good time. But, my boss had paid a hefty price for each of us and I thought maybe I will be okay and not freak out? Not so much.  I was scared to touch the reins of my horse. So, while everyone on the tour glided down hills and across the beach merrily on their horses, I sat on mine with my hands glued to the saddle and had one of the Mexican tour guides riding beside me on his own horse holding my reins. RIDICULOUS!! Funny now.

With all of the things that I don’t do, I get pleasure and am talented at others. While I envy those that have the courage to jump out of a plane, or rock climb, or who can deliver powerful speeches at events, I just don’t do those activities.  But you know what, I know who I am and what my limits are…and am proud of that.

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