Self-employed, full speed ahead

I admit it. I am very excited for 2014. The year will bring my 50th birthday, which perhaps is what has led to a lot of soul-searching and reflection in the past months. I don’t mean angst or wringing of hands, thank goodness, but I have been thinking long and deep about what every person my age realizes at one point or another: more years are behind me than are before me. What do I want to do with them, beginning now?

Mortality is what gives our life meaning and focus, after all. Steve Jobs, in his now famous Stanford commencement speech, explains this in words that I can’t improve on (he did not know at the time how few years of life remained for him). Skip to the 9:00 mark for his “third story” about why “there is no reason not to follow your heart.”

The problem is that my heart often feels pulled in many directions at once. Like many of you who are reading this, I wish I had multiple lifetimes to pursue multiple passions and careers: teacher, writer, freelancer, speaker, to name only a few. And, like you, I also have regrets for still other paths I considered along the way but did not follow.

As much as I enjoy all that I do, it is time to shelve with love one or two of my identities and to focus more intensely on others, which is why this spring I am making the transition to full-time freelancing (indexing and writing). I’m at a point where I can earn as much by working at home as I do splitting my time between jobs. Working for longer stretches of uninterrupted time is more conducive to my personality and temperament. I am also lucky to have the support of my family. While the change brings some uncertainty and discomfort, as all change does, it feels spot-on right. I am ready.

Although I won’t make the complete switch for a few more weeks, I have started with a website and blog re-design—both to present a new professional face to the world and to remind myself of why I am doing what I’m doing. Take a look, let me know what you think (maybe even subscribe to the blog), and if you know of anyone who needs a book index, send him or her my way. 😉

What meaning of life changes are you contemplating or experiencing at the moment?

7 thoughts on “Self-employed, full speed ahead

  1. Lisa, this post resonates so strongly with me and my place in life at this moment, especially the wish for multiple lifetimes! I’m so excited for you, and I’m encouraged to see someone I so love and admire confidently following her heart.

    A new career path, evolving relationships, and exploring my changing roles are things that come to mind for my 2014. As always, I’m grateful for your example.

    • Thanks so much, Hannah! Your support means a lot to me. I can see you in a lot of different roles and careers, in part because you are do darned competent. 😉 May 2014 be filled with joyful change for you, as well (and sunshine, but then no need to wish for that where you are).

    • Thank you! Yes, I am very excited. I will miss my students like crazy, but, as one friend wrote to me, it is time for this. Every change involves a loss of some kind, it seems.

      • Bitter sweet I know. Your students will always remember you. When I left an agency to go out on my own, I thought I would miss the clients enough to keep in touch and visit them. As it turned out, I think of them fondly from time to time (as I am now) but the new in my life was so big and exciting, the ‘old’ became less connected to me quite quickly. And of course the largest lesson of all was for my ego…I was replaced in the client’s world and replaced well.
        It was win win for us all.

  2. Congrats on your transition – I’m jealous! Regarding reflecting on life etc., I recently heard an interview with Viggo Mortensen. He said something that was sort of creepy yet sort of profound. He claimed that from an early age, 7 or 8, every morning his first thought when he wakes up is how unfair it is that we all must die. Very morbid for a child, I thought. But looking at his career and achievements as an artist, I don’t think it is a negative so much as a powerful motivator. At my age, it is a thought that crosses my mind much more often than it did when I was 7! But I still have a tendency to ignore it and live like the fun will never end. Maybe Viggo has the right idea. Keeping the Grim Reaper in the forefront might be the key to achieving. Or it might be creepy. 🙂

    • Thanks, Lissa. I’ll have to listen to that interview (I have the link from your blog). Some of the writing and research I’ve done has been on gifted children, and a lot of them have existential thoughts and questions at very young ages. Definitely a scary thing for parents.

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