Today I took the train and worked a 9-5 shift in an office. These two events, while seemingly insignificant to your average individual, somehow felt pretty huge to me.
I have spent the best part of the past 18 months working on a freelance basis from the comfort of my own bed. Completely undignified and, to the casual onlooker, utterly unproductive, I established for myself a sweet little gig doing what I love: writing content. But just as all good things must come to an end, that blissful spell of crumb filled computing and nap laden deadlines too ended.
It’s for the best. Really, it is. I mean, who could live like that? I could, and quite well it seemed, but arguably at the risk of losing my sanity, will to care, and ability to communicate with the outside world. Overrated qualities I grant you, but completely essential to a fully functional adult life.
This relaxed “freelance” lifestyle suited pregnancy, raising a new born and, if I’m honest, my slightly insecure disposition but as my son reached almost one, it was time for a change. I felt ready; ready to do more than just tend to my son; ready to be more than just a mother.
And so the day came. The day to answer to an alarm, wear a dress and get public transport. I couldn’t help but feel entirely out of place and on edge for the first six hours of the day. All of my comforts – my baby, my sweats, my makeshift desk bed – were nowhere to be seen.
It was time to face the real world, where people wash their hair, wear shoes and have adult conversations. There were points I could feel my dry-from-washing-dishes hands shake with nerves as I tried to perform even the simplest of tasks. Like the proverbial fish out of water, I felt truly out of my depth.
It wasn’t until the journey home, when I had time to reflect upon the day’s events, that I achieved some kind of clarity. I surprisingly didn’t feel drained or overwhelmed. In all honesty, all I could feel was excitement. I couldn’t wait to get home to be reunited with my boys and my beloved surroundings. It occurred to me that this step might in fact be good for me, in spite of the heightened levels of anxiety.
Can you really experience the joys of home if you’re forever cooped up in it? Can you see those moments with your child for what they really are if you never experience anything outside it? Perhaps we need those new pressures and uncomfortable butterflies in order to appreciate the beauty of our personal lives. While raising a child is far from a walk in the park, there is a sense of security that few other pursuits in life can offer.
I am incredibly lucky in that my new role is part-time and I am able to spend the majority of my week at home with my son but I believe this experience will be all the more special given this new distraction. So, while I might have these initial unsettling feelings of misplacement and discomfort, it seems to me that this new balance will make for a much more wholesome and appreciative way of life. I now look forward to my next day at work, if nothing else so I can experience that wonderful feeling of looking forward to going home.