When I was a kid, I wrote a song. Let’s say it was a one-hit wonder. Never made it to the album, nor lead to a second one.
With all my 7 year-old seriousness, I wrote about freedom. Except it wasn’t positive at all. It went on like
“Free as the air, free, free, free as the air, I’m not free, I’m not free, freeeeeeee, freeeeee.
No one is free, no one, no one, no one is free, oh yeah, oh yeah, free as the air.”
You don’t even want me to sing it. It’s that bad.
However, despite the clear lack of musical talent, it speaks louder than anything else about how I’ve always felt.
Imprisoned. Confined. Trapped.
School was torture. Although I loved to learn, getting stucked in a classroom all day, waiting for other kids to understand what I figured out in seconds was excruciating.
I escaped this mental prison nose in books, reading about others’ lives, dreaming of the day I would finally get released.
Almost felt like it was to happen as I moved on to university, with the more flexible schedule and time off between classes. I felt liberated in a way, but not quite there yet.
Then it hit me. Full-time job. Beige office. Regular hours. The whole package.
Working with cops. When I thought I was about to escape jail, I was back in, for longer periods than ever.
I became so magnetic the Universe couldn’t help but bring me what I wanted. Creative, demanding, wonderful projects.
With my ever-expanding aura (thanks, Kundalini), I’ve been blessed with more and more of those recently. I’M. LOVIN’. IT. I feel so alive. The more I do, the more energy I seem to get.
Beh bye, jail. Here I come, City of Angels. I’m on the highway to heaven, almost there to making it to Cali and never leaving Venice again, eating vegan cauliflower Buffalo wings from Erewhon and drinking celery juice every damn day.
Soon, I’ll finally be free. I’ll freelance. I actually think it’s part of the reason why I love freelance more than entrepreneur, this strong inner desire to never get attached ingrained in the word itself.
Or so I thought. I was getting higher and high with all those Breath of fire practices, until I felt dizzy (or maybe I was hyperventilating?)
Anyhow, I’m realizing that in order to do remarquable work, I need a solid foundation. Seth seems to agree, as he says that it’s hard to take risks when you need to pay the bills. Freedom comes when you get specialized, but in order to get those specs to be awesome, you might need a dead brain job.
Although I look like an angel, I swear I’m a human. I get tired. Sometimes I just want to sit on my comfy couch and Netflix chill. Watch Mad Men ad nauseam, until I feel like lighting a Lucky and drinking scotch at 11am.
Amy Whitetaker, author of Art Thinking, explains how she realized on her way to pursuing a career in arts how although all her projects were alluring and exhilarating, she felt at lost. All mushy cushions, not one to rely on when you lust for a quick Sunday nap after brunch.
Creativity is already messy. It doesn’t have to be stressful too.
That’s why you need a couch.
I’m in love with mine. Best purchase ever. Perfect office at the end of the evening to finish that rush project, and wonderful when I just want to grab the latest novel I picked up from the library and fall asleep after a couple of paragraphs. Oh, and yes, of course, eventually to cuddle with my future stunning husband.
Like Amy, my sofa is not a luxury. It’s a must. These days, I need it more than ever. My couch allows me to rest to get more energy for all the dazzling projects coming my way. But mostly, I need it to get me if I fall. Because with those over-the-top projects, I’m taking risks. I’m showing up, daring greatly (Brené would be proud of me).
Inevitably, as I get out of the cozyness of my living room – and of my PJs – the probabilities of me not succeeding are higher. I’m no longer reading and watching the pillow fight from the side, I’m jumping in the King-size bed of life, with strong odds of me losing a few feathers in the midst of it all.
That’s why I’m done with people getting all fluffy about their title or position. Needing to justify to others when they introduce me that I am not the typical civil servant.
I’m telling you, I am. I love my steady paycheck, I feel blessed for my sweet 35-hour work week schedule, and I cannot wait for all the days of I get for the holidays. When I’m sick, I can take the day of to go see a doctor’s. When I’m on vacation, I’m fully on vacation – unplugged, wearing my bikini all day, eating my parents’ food by their beach house.
The thing is I’m part of the problem too. I was the first one to blame, disregarding my job, telling about the benefits with a look of disdain on my face and a bitter taste in my mind. I’m guilty of perpetuating this belief that working for the government is a second-class job.
It’s not. It’s a great job, there are plenty of very nice and brilliant people with powerful values similar to mine, aka family and friends, openness, diversity and inclusion, fun and balance), and if you persist, you can find ways to challenge yourself enough to keep it interesting.
Like anything else you would do for 40 hours a week, 35 in my case (yup, that’s part of the perks), motivation can ebb and flow. You get pissed with some co-workers, you feel trapped by the constraints imposed on you. But after a while (I guess that’s part of getting older, and hopefully a tad bit wiser), you realize that no matter where you’d be, life sucks from time to time. It’s not a question of changing life so much as it is about changing the way you relate to it.
I’m seeing more of the big picture now. Work as this important part, yet still only a slice in my chunky strawberry life pie. The pie I get to eat on my EQ3 couch, the one I bought with my sofa job. The one I can sing on my one-hit wonder, because I was right after all : we’re not free, but who cares when at the end of the day you get to lie down on a robust couch, covered with soft pillows?