Freelance status approaches. I go to sleep excited. I wake up excited.
I also go to sleep feeling the fear, and wake up with it.
The freelance market is unforgiving in the best of circumstances. Self-funding everything from business expenses to healthcare is daunting and a totally alien experience. Up until this point some external entity worried about that. Some abstract administrator in another office, another building; conjuring access to medical care, a new workstation, a repair to the office floor. Largely unseen and working in mysterious ways. The Holy Ghost of Human Resources and Logistics.
Much of my life revolves around holding opposite tensions in a life-affirming way and it strikes me that a similar tension exists in the noncorporeal nature of coordinating the very condition in which workers find themselves physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s also another thing I never anticipated doing myself. But it’s become another tension that must be integrated; moving some of my perspective to an Overwatch position so the me that’s running around on the ground can get the other jobs done.
Fear moves in and tries to convince me that since I’ve never done it before it will go disastrously. That I don’t have the head for it, nor the background. Which all could be true. But that doesn’t make those tasks any less crucial and it doesn’t magically conjure someone to do it for me.
What happens instead, what I hope will happen, is wrapped up tightly in the reason that I’ve held so many tensions for so many years. What happens is this simultaneously mystic and totally grounded experience of becoming that person. Accepting that I can be that tree-level, cloud-level, high-orbit presence while putting one foot in front of the other on a foundation I create for myself.
There is the fear that I have no idea what the hell I’m doing and that nearly constant nag in the back of my brain trying to convince me that I’m simply pretending at all this. But three things comfort me, among others. First, the support and love from friends and family. Second: that these fears are a nearly universal phenomenon even for established professionals. And last, that the fear isn’t going to take care of these problems and that nagging voice isn’t going to do the paperwork either, and it needs to get done, so I’ll be on top of it like everything else.
Not resigning myself to “finding a way to get it done” but becoming the way it gets done.
There’s a certain clarity in suddenly separating from the track your life idled on for the previous decade. A sudden crispness of color and edge, a renewed inking of the lines of everything.
This is where I find myself today and it’s a damn strange, relatively unexpected place to be in.
At the beginning of the month I faced a hard choice: transition to a new job with a different department under humiliating, degrading circumstances or lose that security and move off into the unknown. Previously at least the engineer of my life’s own slow-motion train wreck, I had been relegated to shovel-wielding nobody in the coal car. I could propel myself into devolving and giving up ten years of progress. That was my only choice.
So I jumped off the train.
After spending ten years of dispatching 911 calls I felt it would be hard to hit the ground running. But suddenly the years-long knot in my chest is gone and my back no longer aches from shoveling existential coal. There are options, and lines, and edges.
You never appreciate the edges and lines of life until you realize it’s all been dull for years. Suddenly the termination of each surface is brought into sharp focus. The focus comes, surprisingly, not from the terror of impending freelance status and possible failure, but from a renewed intention to be present in my own life. Decide to show up and suddenly the world comes back in full and vibrant notes.
Am. Journal of Psychiatry, via Reddit: Effects of Post-Session Administration of Methylene Blue on Fear Extinction and Contextual Memory in Adults With Claustrophobia – “Methylene blue enhances memory and the retention of fear extinction when administered after a successful exposure session but may have a deleterious effect on extinction when administered after an unsuccessful exposure session.”
IB Times: Upgrade Your Brain: Liquid Hard Drive Implants Could Increase Intellect – “Scientists at the University of Michigan realised that digital information could be stored on colloidal clusters after observing them switch between two states – such as the 0s and 1s of traditional bits – when placed in a liquid.” – A lot further off that chip-based implants but perhaps much more viable in the long run.
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology via Reddit: Rising Rates of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae in Community Hospitals – “The rate of CRE detection increased fivefold in community hospitals in the southeastern United States from 2008 to 2012. Despite this, our estimates are likely underestimates of the true rate of CRE detection, given the low adoption of the carbapenem breakpoints recommended in the 2010 CLSI guidelines.” – CRE is scary, scary stuff. Scarier than MRSA, and from the epidemiology folks I’ve talked to, even scarier than XDR TB.
“Introverts are collectors of thoughts, and solitude is where the collection is curated and rearranged to make sense of the present and future.”
Laurie Helgoe, “Revenge of the Introvert” in Psychology Today