Robert Frost write a poem titled The Road Not Taken. Name a road you’ve always wanted to travel. Where do you hope it takes you, and what might you see on the way?
Well… even while thinking of how much I wanted to be a writer, while I was younger, I wanted to be free of work. My dream was to earn enough money in one go (or win it) that I could just make it last, freeing me up to do whatever I wanted. That dream gradually changed, as I became more accustomed to the world of work. It turned into a dream of being able to work for me. No boss, no set hours, no preciously guarded lunch hour; I wanted to be self-employed.
Now I have enough friends in the biz to know full well that self-employment is not all sunshine and roses. You don’t get sick days or sick pay; if you don’t work, you don’t earn. You have to take care of your taxes yourself and that in itself is enough to get people into trouble. Pensions are sorted out independently, and, perhaps most importantly, if your job is the provision of a service, the ability to get work at all depends on what you’re offering and the economic climate. Much like everyone else I guess, but while they will still get paid whilst working under an employer, a self-employed person will not.
All that aside, it’s still a road I want to take. Yes, I realise the question might have meant ‘road’ in the more literal sense, but I often break rules while blogging here.
I want to be self-employed. I want to have the freedom to be with my boys (even if they are driving me nuts right now) and I want to be able to spend time with them. Its funny, but that has become the most important reason.
Right now I’m able to write this because Dave has taken them away. The house is blessedly quiet and still and I don’t have to worry about feeding them for at least an hour more. That time is precious, but I still treasure the time the boys are here. I love looking at them and listening to them and knowing that they’re mine little babies to love and nurture. The idea that I’d have to send them off to a baby sitter or carer because I have to work is just awful! Put aside the financial implications of such a decision; any money I did earn would straight away be put to childcare. At least working from home and for myself that money can be put to things we want/need.
The road to self-employment, I can already tell is going to be a hard one. It’s hard now; I’m getting a real idea of what being a grownup is like (at last?!) but I still have an income from my job. That will drop soon (bloody SMP), which, I think, will give me a good idea of how life will be while working for myself. So there will be lots of sacrifices. There will be plenty of stress and fatigue (though I doubt it can match now!). But there will also be growth. There will be a sense of pride and self-worth as finances begin to steady themselves from the combined efforts of myself and Dave. There will be pleasure in being able to spend time with both Dave and the boys. There will be still more pleasure in doing what I’ve wanted to do for very many years.
I don’t, for a second, imagine that we’ll be rolling in money from what my writing may eventually make. Hell I don’t think we’ll be as comfortable as we are right now. But we’ll be happy. I’m convinced that will be the outcome of taking this road. I’ll be doing what I want to do, which will make me happy, which in turn makes Dave happy. Both of us being happy will go miles towards ensuring our boys are happy and that they get everything they want/need. It’s much easier to deal with tears, tantrums and the like when you’re not in a bad mood. Believe me… I know! And they’re only a few weeks old at this point.
So there you have it; perhaps not what Robert Frost had in mind, but certainly a road I long to take. And will take in a month or two. I can’t wait!
My 80 Post Challenge is brought to you with help from Tom Slatin’s 80 Journal Writing Prompts.