My friend Amanda uses the acronym “HALT” as a barometer for herself; becoming too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired signals a danger point, a condition she needs to address for her physical or emotional health.
Tonight I discovered my own danger point: resenting others for their free time. I had just booked tickets for yet another work-related trip, bringing my grand total for days home in November to eight. (And no, I am not saying which eight, in case you are a Nashville-area burglar. Then again, if you really want my DVD player from 2001, have at it.)
So, while pondering the exhausting month ahead of me, I drifted over to Facebook and noticed my new friend Anne’s status update: “Anne is so looking forward to a relaxing weekend, with rain!!” And I thought to myself, Anne has written a book, her blog gets way more hits than mine, yet she gets a relaxing weekend and I will spend it working. I want to sit on the couch in a blanket and listen to the rain. I want to go to the movies and then waste two hours at a bookstore. I want to spent an entire day NOT sitting at my computer.
For over a year now, I’ve lived by the freelancer’s credo: always say yes. Can you help me write a company newsletter? Sure. Can you help us redesign our website? Yep. Can you do the graphic design for my textbook? Absolutely. (Always say yes—even when you don’t have a clue—and figure it out later.)
I’ve accepted all these jobs and more because I have to make a living, and I’m really not complaining. I’m grateful for work and usually energized by the many different organizations I’m able to help. But tonight the danger alarm started buzzing, and I wondered if this really is living.
I think it’s time to say no to some things and trust that the clients really worth working for will understand, and possibly even ask again another time. It’s time to be more selective about my opportunities–which is actually a wonderful place to be. It’s time to set some boundaries, and during my eight days at home I’m going to get right on that.