The harder I work, the luckier I get.
If there’s truth in that statement, then I must be the luckiest soul on this planet.
March marks a very big anniversary in my life.
So let’s start at the very beginning a very good place to start…
In 1997, I quit my corporate job to get married. My family almost died of shock. I mean, who quits their job to get married? We know the answer to that now. I got truckloads of advice from all over the place from near and distant relatives. I was confident that after moving to another city, I could always get a job after a brief break.
Life had different plans. I was okay with that, since my son came along ten months later. My hands were full, in more ways than one. Fast forward a little – and nature took its course. My son grew. No stopping that, eh? The restlessness began to set in. We moved again, to the city we live in now. We struggled to afford housing and finally, realized that it was better to invest in our own apartment than be fleeced by a rental.
We house-hunted and found a place. Through the purchase process, we spent sleepless nights over figuring out ways to repay the hefty loans that we had to take. Clearly I had to start looking for a job pronto. And I did.
Except, again, life had different plans.
In a job market that was in a deep slump, I was either over qualified for something, too old at 35 years, or it wasn’t the right fit for me. I lost count of the placement agencies I interacted with.
I admit I was a little freaked when I did find good jobs but couldn’t take them because of my specific situation at the time – small son at home and Mom who had a health problem. It freaked me out some more that the company I worked with earlier had an opening for me and was keen to have me back – but I had to decline that perfect offer, because it meant travel for half the month, besides the late hours.
And all the time, as our bank balance became leaner, our anxiety over making ends meet was mounting. Babies cost money and so do doctors. We spent sleepless nights. It is funny how when it rains, it pours. It was as if Life was testing us to the limit. Somehow we managed.
What goes down, must come up
That’s the truth. Desperate, I took up a part time job that paid peanuts. Still, it was something, and I consoled myself that I was saving on many counts – no commute, as I could walk to work, it was only half a day’s work so I could be with my son – so no worry about paying a creche – and so on and so forth. I also took up some freelance training offers – but the good ones were very few and far between.
I spent four years doing this – during which time my son went through playschool, nursery and then started Grade 1 in the school where he is now in Grade 12.
And then it happened
My Mom’s health took a turn for the worse and she was in and out of hospital. It seemed like we spent more time in hospital waiting rooms than any place else. During one of those waits, I was whining to my Mom about the way things had been and the way they were now. Always optimistic, my Mom got me to pull out my writing pad (yeah, we always carried one). She made me list all the things I fantasized about doing. After trying to laugh it off, I did. I had nothing to lose anyway.
I admit I was surprised to see one of the top three things I wanted to do was “Writing” Each one of us fancies being a writer at some point, right? I did, and often. At work, I enjoyed handling all the communication and newsletters. I wrote fiction. I wrote poetry. Heck, I even wrote “that” kind of stuff for fun. Imagine being paid to write!
My Mom suggested I put some feelers out. Those days, we had just a couple of social networking sites and I wrote “Looking for freelance writing work” in my profile. The next day, I had two messages – one was an invitation to be co-editor for a business magazine and the other was to ask if I’d like to join this outfit as a content writer. I said yes to both.
Again, I quit my job. I had some trepidation – but imagine my stunned surprise when my boss suggested I work from home with a slightly different profile. Why didn’t I quit earlier…was my first reaction. Oh well.
This was March 2004.
I now had two freelance assignments and a work at home job.
I was about to start a new life.
Working from home.
It was a bold step.
I can tell you, it is no cakewalk – it is a life-changing decision and full of uncertainty and what ifs.
- What if the work dried up?
- What if I didn’t know where my next project was coming from?
- What if I had long periods without work?
- Would I be able to survive like this?
The fear, oh the fear – always waiting to pounce at me!
Yet, I took the step. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and friends who convinced me I could do it. They told me I wasn’t the kind of person who’d sit back and feel bad about something – I’d do something about it.
How could I let that faith down?
And so that March, I started marching ahead into a whole new phase of my life – to be a work at home Mom.
I am happy I did. I work hard. Life is not always easy. Time management is a huge challenge. But I have a decent flow of work and the rewards are priceless.
And then there’s the blogging that I completely enjoy.
So maybe I don’t wear 4 inch heels, lipstick or change clothes thrice a day. I used to, in my corporate job, you know. I don’t meet people in their offices. I don’t have human contact for hours and it can get lonely. Sometimes my social life is restricted to visits to the supermarket.
But I am focusing on the good stuff – on the quiet that helps me get work done, the ability to work from the comfort of my home, being available for my family practically 24×7, the opportunities that have come my way and of course, instant messaging and video-chat with friends. I am grateful that today, I can donate a big chunk of my earnings to charity. Nothing can be better than that!
Yes, I am glad I had the courage to start a new life.
Optimism rules my life! Just like this video!
Did you make a radical decision that changed your life? I’d love to hear about it.