Everyone always has this really glamorous idea of what freelancing looks like. Working from home, wearing whatever you want, sipping coffee while watching Netflix and typing away on a laptop. Making your own hours! It sounds great, and every time I tell people I work from home they’re always impressed.
Except the truth is, sometimes it isn’t that great.
About two weeks ago I started feeling sick, and it resulted in my first ever trip to the ER. I’m fine, all things considered, and it could have been a lot worse, but it still seriously set me back. For more than a week now I’ve been on bedrest and getting migraines due to a very limited diet, which means my working has been basically come to a screeching halt.
I’ve worked enough minimum wage and restaurant jobs to know how fleeting the concept of the Sick Day can be. Many employers don’t even offer it, and those who do give you limited time. Working from home feels a lot like that sometimes: you could technically take a day off whenever you wanted, but there is no ‘paid sick time.’ There’s also no getting someone to cover for you.
So the work just sits there, and you have to feel guilty about it. Except instead of feeling guilty from, like, miles away from where you work, you have to feel guilty while sitting near your computer every day.
I’m not really good at relaxing. I like to make work where there isn’t work, keep myself busy. Having actual work I need to do sitting around while I’m not able to get it done. Even when I can get it done, it’s hard for me to take time off. So sometimes I fall behind on things like… you know, reading, playing games, having a life outside of a job. Because we can’t work all the time.
But then I got sick.
I finished two books, Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Amazing), and Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (Not bad). And I keep staring at my “to-read” pile looking for some more.
I watched the entire first season of The Carrie Diaries on Netflix.
I finished The Banner Saga, one of the most compelling video games I’ve ever played.
And I slept, a lot.
The worst thing is? I enjoyed those books, that show, the game. But I still felt guilty. Even though sometimes I couldn’t keep my glasses on long enough to sit at the computer, and there were days when I just slept endlessly, I still felt guilty. I still feel guilty. Because being your own boss is hard, especially when there are other people relying on you.
This isn’t a happy post or a fun post or even a “moral of the story” post so much as it is a reflection. Freelancing is hard, and dealing with illness while you’re freelancing is really hard. But you get back at it, and sometimes the hole is really deep, but you dig yourself out. One bit at a time.
I’m still not feeling well and I still have a lot to do, but… you know. This is how things go. And part of being your own boss isn’t just making your own hours or deciding when to work in your pajamas, but also motivating yourself to get back to it after some time away and to work through things when you still aren’t feeling 100%.
Sure, stressing out is part of the process, but… you know. You get by, you do what you can.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my sick leave is just about over whether I’m ready or not… and I have a lot to do.