September 29, 2016

it seems every designer or artist’s blog eventually goes the way of this line: it’s been a minute since i’ve posted here. apart from an irrational, self-imposed censorship out of fear of appearing narcissistic for keeping a journal about my life and personal ruminations…i’ve been a little busy.

it’s been over a year since i cut the cord and made the slow transition to freelance. i say slow because i eased the rift with a 7-month stint at an advertising agency, of which i will say little other than that i’m glad to be done with it. you’ll hear a lot of creative folks who have made the jump praise the freelance lifestyle, with it’s less-fettered creativity, lack of workplace bureaucracy, ability to work remotely, and greater freedom of choice. i am here to say that yes, the joyful cries from beyond the wall of corporate comfort are true: these are all large checks in the “pro” category.

bearing in mind that all of this is only my personal perspective, i’m also here to say what’s also told by some, but certainly less often: shit is fucking terrifying. i don’t mean to suggest for a minute that i’d like to go back to working for someone else anytime soon (though, truthfully, i have comforted myself in the darker corners of freedom with the light of that glowing exit sign), but i do mean to be transparent and honest about my experience. though obviously not a struggle shared by everyone, for someone as chronically optimist and gung-ho as myself - who naively assumed i’d be backflipping naked into a pile of money with a martini in my grasp, designing logos from a white sand beach - there is much more work to be done to reach stability on your own.

the benefit: it grooms you for self-reliance, for organization, and for a work ethic as strong as it should have been all along. and the good news is that this equilibrium - financial, emotional, relationships-not-faltering-because-you-can’t-fucking-stop-working equilibrium, is most certainly there. i’ve been able to travel more, to visit my family more easily, and without feeling bad for asking another human being if i can take time off of work (what is that feeling, and why is that feeling?). i’ve begun to take better care of myself physically (some weeks more than others), mentally (some seasons more than others). i’ve started to get back in the habit of hobbies like music and cooking. and perhaps most importantly for me and my striking ability to contract boredom rather quickly: i can take on work that isn’t explicitly related to graphic design. that’s not to suggest that all these things were inaccessible in the throes of a full-time job, but they certainly took a backseat to just getting home and relaxing at the end of every day.

for all it’s drawbacks, freelance has loosened the restraints and allowed a larger-picture view of the things i’d like to accomplish in my one finite lifetime, without the monolithic embankment of a full-time commitment following beside me on my path to the horizon. it has been far, far from a picnic, but it’s a waltz i’m learning to enjoy, to roll with, and to not worry so much about.

and i think - at least i hope - i’ll be a lot happier in the long run for the trouble.