On Monday, October 7 2013—exactly 52 calendar weeks ago—I woke up in my sweet Kits apartment at the ass crack of crazy (ie: 6am or earlier). I hadn't set an alarm clock but I think my hyper-active internal alarm clock did its job and, eyes open only the slightest of slits to negate morning blindness, I shuffled into the bathroom and got in the shower. While shampooing my hair I started my daily 'run through what's happening today' list of to-dos. This time, the list was blank.
I then proceeded to get shampoo in my eye, almost slipped in the shower and, when the momentary chaos died down, ended up staring blankly at the beige and blue tiles at the end of my bathtub with only one thought in my head:
'Oh shit. What the crud do I do now?'
That was the moment where I realized that I was now 100% solely responsible for bringing in what was needed to keep my landlord from calling and from slipping into malnourishment. That I was in the captain seat, fully in charge and charting my course - on every.single.level.
So what the crud did I do? A little bit of everything. Enter the title: Jess-of-all-trades. You needed a thing done? I did that thing. Needed a something written? I wrote that something. Helping hand on a food truck? Heck yes. Crafting up cocktails a couple days a week? Sure thing. Lead some communciation based development work? Yes. Interview some athletes pre-Olympics? #duh. Of course.
I put pen to paper, words to websites, letters to chalkboards and everything in between. I was a 'yes' to essentially everything - yet this time, unlike others, it was genuine. I wanted to work with the people that were reaching out. I CHOSE the work - literally and figuratively.
In all of the sweetness and 'HECK YES! LET'S MAKE THIS THING AMAZING!', I saw myself in old habits: not taking care of myself by putting movement/yoga aside to work more and do more, sleeping less than I know I need, etc. I worked hours that did not support my lifestyle. I took on tasks that weren't correct for me and had to let some people down so I could get back on track with my original reason for starting this solo-preneur journey. I made choices from fear of scarcity. I slipped into doubt that I was cut out for freelance when work wasn't coming.
But again, it all felt different. I felt like a HUMAN. Each and every emotion or experience I had was real and was mine. Instead of comparing myself to what others were doing or achieving, working on or working through, I got to be me in it all - the good and the gnarly. And I chose to share it. I spoke up and spoke out. I shared what was real and I found my voice.
I saw myself coming back to life; stepping into my own skin, using my own words (some/a lot of them being cuss words - sorry mom) and bringing my past experience to the table as valuable skills and insights in my work. And in coming into my own and being me, and going through doing ALL the jobs that came across my inbox, I started the process of filtering out what was my work and what wasn't. And, I paid my rent. Every single month.
Every month I said (and still say) 'holy heck - how is this still happening?'. It's less from thinking that I couldn't or can't make #freelancelife work, and more from gratitude and thankfulness that I have had the opprotunities and experiences that I have in the last year and gotten paid in the process. On that morning 365 days ago I could not have even fathomed what was to come. Sweet heck, I had no idea the trip that I was about to embark on and how much I would change in the process.
So I am one year in. I'm in a new place from where I was last year. I've got new tools in my pocket and am ready to make some big leaps in what I am up to. I'm more committed now than ever before to make this experiment about learning: to keep an open mind, embrace obstacles as opportunities to grow, get curious with myself and others and to be unattached to life and work looking a certain way. Because what I know is when I am in the right place, in the right work, all I feel is ease. So here's to making year two as awesomely insane with a big 'ol helping of awesome on the side.
...and to 12 more months of paying my rent on time - and maybe a little vacay or summin'.
side note: 'enniversay' is not a typo. entrepreneur + anniversay = enniversary. #hereicomewebsters