The Benefits of Leaving Office Life
Before I left my job, I'd read dozens of articles about how great freelancing was. How it was good to be your own boss, to have autonomy, be authentic and be yourself. It sounded like a giant sanitary towel advert with myself paragliding out of airplanes, jumping for joy for no reason and performing at festivals to huge acclaim.
Perhaps I had slightly rose-tinted glasses but I visualised myself sitting in a trendy cafe (sorry no one uses that word anymore do they?) with lots of young people, collaborating and coming up with new ideas. There wouldn't be a grey nylon carpet in sight or any signs telling me 'keep the toilet clean please.'
In reality it's been pretty tough adapting to not going into an office at a specific time each day and leaving again afterwards. Some days I've carried my laptop on my back all day because it given me a sense of purpose and made me feel like I'm working when I'm not. I'm conscious that I don't want to be the deluded guy who carries a suitcase and wears a suit when he's no longer employed. And whilst it's practical to have your computer with you, it's also quite unnecessary (and am now in danger of developing a serious back condition).
But there are advantages to leaving office life and that's the way I choose to look at my life right now (the alternative is TOO ghastly to consider).
You don't have to listen to others' opinions and feign an interest. You don't have to do that face in presentations and smile and nod (when all you want to do is shout and say AARGH SHUT UP FOR LORD'S SAKE WILL YOU?!)
You can eat lunch without having to explain what it is/where you bought it/if it tastes good/whether it was a good choice/whether you'd ever choose the same lunch again etc. You can just eat it!
You don't have to make small talk and think of different ways to say 'The Weather is Jolly Nice Today,' in the lift (this is a biggie)
You don't have to spend a day reading instructions telling you a) how to get boiled water onto your teabag b) how to get cold water into your glass b) how to keep a toilet tidy and clean d) how to photocopy a document
You don't have to talk to ANYONE unless you choose to. You can just sit with your mouth sealed shut all damn day. This saves a lot of energy
You can sit in the garden and stare at stuff without having to travel up and down in a lift
You can rescue worms that have fallen onto the path and would otherwise be burnt alive by the powerful rays of the sun
You can burn scented candles all day (this can be expensive so have started purchasing in Tesco for a pound each - yes honestly and they're okay!)
You can pick up a phone call from your Mum without having to find somewhere private to talk to her about your menstrual problems/anxiety/parenting/worms dying everywhere issues
And finally you can have a grumpy, shit day without having to make the effort to smile inanely and say cheerily I'm FINE, REALLY FINE! I'm FINE! No really I AM!
So my advice would be... if you're adjusting to a BIG change - try and pull out the stuff that you no longer miss. Don't dwell too much on the things that have gone and are no more.
Life is about change. It's unavoidable.
And look out for those worms on the pavement. No one else will.