Freelancing Can Be Incredibly, Deeply Lonely
And the anxiety certainly doesn’t help.
Sometimes, I am sitting at my computer, still in pajamas at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, tickity-tapping away on the keyboard, just checking task after task off my to do list.
Sometimes, I am sitting at my computer, still in pajamas at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, wondering why I am so bored, how I could have read all of Buzzfeed and Huffington Post, why no one wants to talk to me, what my husband is doing and contemplating how much cheese is too much cheese.
Freelancing is amazing. In so many ways, it has been a release for my creativity, a way to make a living doing what I love, working from home and hanging out with my cat.
In other ways, it has cut me off from the outside world.
Though I moved to NYC over seven years ago, I have struggled with making friends here. When I first moved here, I had trouble finding a job, so I couldn’t afford to go out and meet people, then met my now-husband about 5 months after moving here. Dating made me want to spend less time out at bars or trying to meet new people.
Over time, I became boring. I was work-friends with my colleagues, acquaintances with a bunch of people, and close to my husband’s best friends, but never truly found my own circle up here. My best friends in the world live in different states and we text all the time. Some of my clients have become my friends, but they, too, are virtual.
Now that I work from home, I sometimes struggle with loneliness. My anxiety will pop up and try to tell me that I’m crazy or sad or unlikable. Sometimes my husband takes too long to text back and my brain runs away with conspiracy theories.
I’m not afraid to admit it.
Entrepreneurship is not all sunshine and roses. It can be a struggle, even when you’re doing well.
I lost out on a potential client today and I’m bummed because the project was so incredibly interesting and I really thought they were going to work with me.
I am also looking to add one client to my roster, but in my current anxious, emotional mood, I feel like looking right now would be a mistake, so that is a task best left until tomorrow.
I love my life. I truly do.
But if anyone ever tells you that freelancing is always exciting or easy or fun all the time, don’t believe them. Just like any job, there are good days and bad days, there are great clients and less-fun ones. There are busy days and days when you don’t ever finish that damn project you started first thing in the morning.
I try not to beat myself up over it.
It’s been almost exactly one year since I started my business, and sometimes I think I should be further along, sometimes I think I’m doing great, and other days I have a hard time getting off Facebook and Instagram.
I’m not looking for pity. I am all about the real journey of entrepreneurship and refusing to hide my mental illness just because some people don’t want to read about it.
My anxiety sometimes takes over my emotions, and because of that I have spent the majority of my life constantly gauging where my emotions are and how they are doing and making sure they aren’t off the charts in one direction or the other.
Well, today is a lonely day. A day I feel emotional and alone and frustrated at even feeling this way, given how lucky I am to have the life that I do and to be able to write for a living.
Not that those things matter. They don’t factor into my anxiety. In fact, I would say that on bad days, the anxiety simply tries to make me wonder what would happen if I lost it all.
What an insidious disease.
Tomorrow will be better. I’ll wake up on the right side of the bed and will happily hop to it and get a lot done.
But for today, I wallow in loneliness, un-texted back.