Finding my rhythm

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For the last couple of years the rhythm of my working life has been unpredictable, like an avant garde concerto, veering from intense passages that run so fast it’s almost impossible to keep up with any semblance of melody, to periods of wobbly calm, which remind me of the old metronome I used to have at home which was so overwound it was on the verge of stopping altogether, but instead lurched unsteadily from one beat to the next. Brief interludes that seem like a break but that actually just remind you that you need to keep the beat, not lose your place in the music before the next crescendo begins once again.

But I feel like in the last six months or so, the music is settling into a cohesive piece. There are still moments when it feels like I’m going to get swept away, but I don’t. I ride them out, and find myself learning how to navigate, I’m noticing the repeats, seeing patterns, feeling in control (to a certain extent). Friends and family may have picked up the beat before me, recognising my mood changes at each stage of a big project but it’s taken me a little longer to grasp.

When I jacked in a perfectly good job on a successful magazine to go freelance because I didn’t want my days at work to outnumber my days at home I thought that at best my career would be on pause. Really, I thought it would probably go backwards, especially when I realised that balancing work and the kids won’t just suddenly become easy when the twins start school next year.

What I definitely didn’t expect was for my career to advance. I didn’t expect the amazing opportunities that have come my way. To see myself challenged, to take on more responsibility, to manage a team. To get to be creative. At first I felt way out of my depth, but now I’m finding my feet and relishing those challenges. And for once I actually know what I’m working on for months at a time. Continuity, security, control. I’ve got it back in my life and I’ve missed it. I’m under no illusion – the freelance work is fickle so who knows what’ll happen after the final project ends in September, but for now I’m just going to enjoy not worrying about it.

Of course I’m knackered. Of course there are days, weeks even, when the pressure feels so great I think I’m going to crack, and all I can think about is what I’m not doing, rather than what I am managing to get done, but I’m pretty sure that’s normality for a working parent. But I know what makes me happy and I may actually be getting closer to finding a balance that suits me and my family.

That pot of gold at the end of the rainbow might be mine one day.

6 comments to Finding my rhythm

  • It’s good to take a moment and just take stock, see how things are actually pretty cool. So nice to hear that the balance is good right now, what a difference it makes eh? Long may it continue, I’m sure it will. Oh and I do love your desk ;)

    • Heather

      Oh I hope it does continue too. It’s only taken me 3.5 years to find a bit of a wobbly balance but at least I got there in the end eh?!

  • It takes a lot of courage to give up your job and go it alone – good for you that it’s worked out so well. It helps if you are talented and hard- working too, as you are. Good luck with the rest of the project.

  • I meant to say something along these lines to you when I saw you last week – I thought I must congratulate you on how well your work is going, and well, the fun of the farm and four kids made me forget!

    I loved reading this post and I am so glad that you are recognising your patterns and how you cope. I think you are amazing to do everything that you do I am sure I couldn’t manage it with two young children.

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