“I’m taking strain.” Hands up if you say this on a regular basis. I’ve been saying this for 6 years. Every year has brought a different type of strain, but the basic oh-god-how-much-more-of-this goes on.
2008 was the first major year of taking strain. That brought death-of-mother-in-law, emigration-retrenchment strain. Sydney was a useful distraction.
2009 sashayed in with failing-marriage, reverse-emigration, divorce strain. A classically awful year and the easiest to explain to outsiders.
2010 was the year of vintage strain, or, as I like to call it, my year in hell. That was resign-or-take-a-pay-cut, you-could-be-retrenched-at-any-point strain. I spent the year on many, many tranquillisers. 2010 is the reason I lose things and battle with short term memory.
2011 was the year of what-do-I-do-next strain. This was the year I realised I was completely unsuited to corporate life and a salaried job.
2012 was, logically, the year of taking-the-leap strain. I walked out of my job in January. It was a little bit scary, but a huge relief.
2013 brought a goodbye to Australia, the birth of our agency, and running-things-on-my-own strain. It was the loneliest year of all, the one that dunked me in the deep end and got me doubting myself and everything I knew – but also the year that taught me that maybe, just maybe, I was more than a freelancer: I’m a business owner.
2014 has been a different type of strain. To focus on the agency, I’ve walked away from all my freelance clients, which has meant reducing my income to pretty much zero while the hours are longer than ever. But I have clients, and partners, and we have a dream, and that’s a lot to hold on to. I keep reminding myself that I should be lucky to have these problems, and that others are way, way worse off than me.
So here’s to taking strain. Although, if I could have any choice in the matter, I’d like a tiny little bit less.