I’m not usually one to do things “because I can,” but lately I’ve reintroduced that card back into my hand.
The last two years, I’ve been navigating the waters of self-employment. It’s not really what I pictured for myself at this point in my life, but it’s reality, so I’m rolling with it. [Read: Not a fan of “twenty-something and single.”] Self-employment can be hard, because if you wanted to, you could stay in your jammies all day and watch TV and nobody would really know.
There are a lot of things that I don’t appreciate about self-employment, like filling out forms for self-employment taxes and other paperwork I loathe, not having coworkers (which can be good at times…), and not to mention the small task of finding my own “health benefits” and having a slightly less-regular paycheck.
But there are a lot of really cool things about being self-employed, too. Like not driving in rush hour (or commute at all, actually), not having to actually talk to anybody before 10 a.m., and making up my own schedule. [Read: I’m making it up as I go.]
Lies! All Lies!
But sometimes the OCD side of me takes over, and I feel I must conform to society’s idea of a workday for my career to count. Sometimes I think If I’m not being productive during the right hours of the day, that is, 9a.m.-5p.m. then I’m not really “working.”
That’s silly, isn’t it? I know there are night shifts and day shifts and all sorts of shifts, but I’ve bought the lie that a real career comes with real hours. And that I need that career to feel like a real adult.
But that’s not really true. There’s more to life than a career, than feeling like an adult, than having arrived at some milestone.
So I zoom out and try to see the big picture. In reality, there are a lot of really cool things I can do with my time that might not look like a career or count as “work” in corporate America but could make an even greater impact than deciding on letterhead.
So yesterday, I helped watch five kids so a momma could leave the house by herself.
I had lunch with my best friend.
And I didn’t start “working” until mid-afternoon.
Because I could.
Because I have the freedom at this point in my life to do things that matter more than semicolons and headlines.
Because in the grand scheme of things, I’m not going to count how many hours I worked in my office, how many articles got published or tweets sent. But I am going to give an account for my time: Did I help people or shut them out? Did I serve others or self? Did I love like Jesus or like Emily?
Disclaimer & Disclosure
I’m not saying you should mismanage your time with the “because I can” card. Actually, the opposite—how can you maximize the time and freedom you have to make a difference in someone else’s life and not just your ego-induced workaholism?
Full disclosure: I’m still working on this. The balance is hard to find and some days I feel as if I don’t accomplish anything on either work or ministry fronts. But it’s a process. [Read: I’m learning to be okay with twenty-something and single.”]
Now I’m going to help my mom with a major family project. Because I can.