It’s been a while since I’ve last written. I’ve honestly been down a few rabbit holes answering just about any adventure that calls my name. To be honest, I was in a funk. Working from home is a sobering experience of freedom. I saw working for myself as being 50% self empowerment, 40% creative exploration, and 10% freedom. But I quickly found that newfound freedom has it’s challenges, and it quickly shadowed everything else. I was surprised to find that being accountable to others was necessary for me to not feel like I was adrift in space. In fact, I’ve found that structure is what keeps me from feeling overwhelmed with choice. This degree of freedom is not something that I am used to or comfortable with yet. A blank canvas can be intimidating, and so my solution was to set out some points on that canvas (so to speak) and play connect the dots and work from there.
This looked like me saying yes to a lot of different things and making commitments to a variety of part time work opportunities. I said yes to volunteering for Swap-o-rama-rama and got to participate in a fantastic event filled with DIY upcycling and full spectrum fashion. I said yes to doing graphic design and marketing work for Outer Aisle and their incredible community-centered farm to table restaurant. I said yes to assisting for Association Building Community and their burgeoning project to bring Peace Practices to local schools. Then I started to feel uneasy. What am I doing with my life? My mom echoed my inner questions and warned me about the need for stability, steady income and building into my future, about retirement.
When I started to get concerned about my Career (capital C), my life Purpose (capital P), and how everything I am doing in my life needs to count towards the big crescendo I get tightened up and worried. I have to remind myself of the unique world that we are living in, unlike any other that’s existed before. A friend of mine said something that hit the nail straight on the head. Up until a generation ago, it was necessary and expected of every person to dedicate their lives to a field or industry. One would have the focused drive to excel at their singular career: plan for it through training and education for years of their lives, climb the ladder and showcase unique talents within the field to get ahead, and fight management for a decent wage that matched their earned value as a worker, then perhaps even training their offspring to take it over. But the world is changing and the cards are not stacked in your favor. Higher Education is becoming less accessible, and less valuable. The glass ceiling continues to stand and women still make 77 cents to every dollar men make (see here), and people of color earn 65 cents to the dollar White people earn (see here). The middle class is disappearing and inequality is higher than it’s ever been (see here). So people are raising themselves up in new and innovative ways by opting out of the system wherever possible. Fed up with corporations controlling governments, communities around the world are empowering themselves to make things for themselves, to grow things for themselves, to create an inner trade economy that refuses to participate in the corporatization of governance.
The general atmosphere is changing as industries pop up and then collapse in bursts. Breakthrough technology overnight becomes archaic and outdated. Ways of thinking transform rapidly as millions of people brainstorm solutions together through online forums and conferences. Not only this, but money has a different value. Crowdsourcing moves ideas forward and popularity can fund a project easier than a bank loan. New forms of currency pull money out from singular control all-together.
I’m sharing all of this to show you what I’m coming to realize about the need for versatility. Being nimble in times of great change is vital. With this lifestyle of multiple part time gigs and self employment, I have the freedom to choose each and every aspect of my life in the moment, and not feel cornered into circumstances due to having a single source of income. Working for myself means that I get to create 100% from my integrity and not compromise on my beliefs.
And to be honest, it’s been really fucking hard. I think that the majority of us have been raised with the belief that we each are unique snowflakes that need to prove ourselves at every turn, that need to excel to the top of our ladders. What’s hard to accept, but I’m waking up to seeing is: yes, we are all snowflakes, but we each need to take personal accountability to how we are perpetuating the systems that are hurting the world through our unconscious ladder crawling to being queen snowflake. We need to stay nimble and awake in times of great change. The more that we can have freedoms to choose our destiny (again and again) through these changes, the more we can affect the new world that we are living into and choose powerfully with every step we make and not get caught in the climb to a never satiated goal of “success”.
Handmade Tailors and Seamstresses with their take on versatility: