A prompted post, idea originally from Please Don’t Eat With Your Mouth Open, taken up by Blonde (as prompted by one of her friends), and then shamelessly stolen by me. So sue me. “Write about the best gifts you’ve ever been given”

The alarm went off shockingly early. Another day, another dollar. I had to get to work and, although he had a day off, that meant he had to get up early too. I hit snooze for the third time (I have a five snooze limit) and rolled over, ready to surrender to that lovely dozy feeling that comes with waking up. But something was stopping me drifting back into the cocoon of unconsciousness.

Light. More specifically, bright sunshine pouring in through the window straight onto my face.

For the first time in ages a) it was light when I woke up and b) it was actually sunny. Will wonders never cease? And so, it was because of that simple ray of sunshine, that I ended up here:

Just because I could.The last few months have been something of a revelation.

The last few months have been something of a revelation. I have spent the 12 years in the corporate world being told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it by. I always had a boss. Who had a boss. Who had expectations, and objectives, and targets. I worked in the same office, day after day. I was surrounded by the same people, all dealing with the same problems as me. The time sped by in a gloriously monotonous fashion whereby I knew that no matter what happened (barring a firing!) I would go home at the end of the month with my paycheck, thank you very much. Sometimes I was promoted. Sometimes I got to travel. Sometimes there were shards of excitement – some juicy gossip, some chocolates from someone’s holiday – to break up the day.

And now it’s all changed.

I decide what to do, how to do it, when to do it by. If I don’t meet my own expectations, achieve my objectives, hit my targets, it’s my own fault. I’m the one who suffers. I’m the one who doesn’t get paid. I’m the one who worries about how to pay rent. Does it sound stressful? You’re right, it is. It’s the most stressed I’ve been in a long time but, at the same time, it’s the most liberated I think I’ve ever been. The stress I’m under now isn’t dependent on other people. It’s not about internal politics and getting a promotion and a boss who’s unreasonable. This stress is about me learning every day, about balancing budgets and bills, about finding new clients, about dealing with massive rejection.

All of these things I’ve given myself in the last 6 months.

I have given myself the gift of freedom.

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You can say that again

6 years ago today, I wrote a blog post about how happy I was feeling. It’s funny how life moves on and yet is so incredibly cyclical.

Then: “I have great friends”
Now: I have great friends. 

And I really do. The wonderful thing about my circle of friends is that they’re not really a circle – they’re some form of mathematical object that has lots of lines and intersections and overlaps. I have friends from all walks of life in a myriad of different countries. Each of them have memories with me that others don’t.

Some are rugby pals. Some are work colleagues. Some I met from twitter. Some from blogging. Some are old Uni pals. Some I feel I’ve always known. Some I’m just getting to know.

They all know my faults (of which there are many) and, for the most part, they gloss over them and see them as just another part of me. I love that about them. And yes, as before, I know where I can turn.

Then: “I’m starting to get a semblance of a social life back.”
Now: I need to cut back on my social life.

After I broke up with N, I found it very difficult to get back into the swing of things. Slowly I started throwing myself back into ‘getting out there’. When I moved to Switzerland, I was determined to make the most of my new life.

Now I’ve been here for nearly 6 years (I know!) and life has changed once more. My social life has changed. Instead of going out to 5 in the morning every weekend, I prefer spending my time with close friends drinking wine and talking about the world. I prefer going for a coffee and having a catch up. I prefer exploring the world.

There’s more to life than endless tequila shots and clubs after all! I wish someone had told 22 year old me that.

Then: “I have some money. Not a lot, not enough, but some.”
Now: I have no money. But it doesn’t matter.

One of the massive changes in the last 6 years is the money situation. I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I don’t owe any money and I have a little saved by. Granted, all the money I do have is being ploughed into the new business but, while this is an incredibly scary step for me, it’s exhilarating and brave (I’m allowed to call myself brave, right?) and such a fantastic adventure that I wake up every day excited for what the day will bring.

Then: “I love the freedom that living on my own brings me.”
Now: I’m still on my own. And thank god.

“I love your house,” she said, “it’s so cosy and homely. It’s so you.” One of the biggest compliments I can get is my friends telling me they enjoy being in my home. I love being the hostess. Whereas before, my house used to be my refuge to get away from the world, it’s now open to the world and whoever wants to be here. I love that.

Then: “I have fun crushes.”
Now: I have one fun crush.

…and he makes me very happy.

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