Yesterday was my first day as a freelance journalist. Of course, since I have no actual commissions, no actual journalism was accomplished. It was a day for life admin and Sorting Shit Out, a day for feeling my way towards a routine.
You see, going freelance isn’t just about the freelancing. It’s about shaking up my life patterns, with the bad habits falling to the bottom like siftable sediment, and the good habits floating to the top like… maybe cream?
(Which is to say, no matter how bad things get, I must never take up a side career in mixology.)
Anyway, Day One started pretty well – working on my website, firing out some emails, buying stationery, figuring out my Dictaphone, blitzing the first day of my new half marathon training programme, getting changed out of my pyjamas well before lunchtime and otherwise being marginally productive. Antsy, yes, but productive.
I ended Day One freaking out and forcibly sedating myself with wine.
“I can’t do this,” I slurred, sloppily, sloshing yet more wine into my fast-depleting glass.
“Yes you can!” said my housemate, administering some of her home-cooked banana bread.
“Jsroijrhktskjnsrhtkjskgjkjkhmgsklrlkagerl,” I said.
Sedation hadn’t been part of the plan. The plan was to do some core work, complete my filing, make an elaborate salad and possibly open a soup kitchen: good habits all that would have fit breezily into my new existence. Monday wine would be relegated to the life I’d left behind, along with everything else I do that disqualifies me from functional humanhood.
Out with boozing and in with schmoozing! Out with blowing a tenner in Pret every day and in with innovative uses for butterbeans! Out with chucking my unopened bank statements in a drawer and in with detailed accountancy spreadsheets! Out with crossing myself in the presence of all technology, and in with so-called ‘tweeting’ from a ‘Mac’!
One thing at a time, my housemates told me. One thing at a time.
It is evident that my expectations are too high. In reality, it’s going to take a while to find my groove: to wake up in the morning and have a plan for the day other than ‘flapping about’. And I need to have more patience during the designated flapping period; to treat myself like, say, a baby bird that has fallen out its nest, other than a failing prototype for a self-facilitating media node.
Anyway, I start Day 2 with a sore head and resolutions to do better. “I get knocked down, but I get up again” as a wise man in Chumbawumba once said. No matter what happens over the weeks ahead, I am going to be one bad-arse baby bird.
Categories: Millennial life anxiety
British freelance journalist living in the Netherlands