It’s been 75 days since I quit my job and decided to dive into the world of self-employment.
In that time, I drove around Tasmania's North West and kept warm by beach fires. I camped in pine forests and jumped off bridges into freshwater lakes. I drove the south coast of Western Australia and lived in a van and swum in bodies of water every single day. I ran down a highway naked. I went to Melbourne twice and hiked the Grampians and cooled off under waterfalls. I rode my motorbike in the nude through the back streets of a familiar town I once lived in. I was filmed for a Woolworths TV commercial. I hiked in five different states. I started working with politicians and universities and adventure brands. I took 9 planes. I slept in the Royal National Park and stayed in Jervis Bay. I got drunk on Tinder dates. I danced the salsa in clubs and in bedrooms at midnight until I was covered in sweat. I made double what I would have made if I stayed in my 9-6.
I was sexually assaulted. I wasn’t allowed to board a plane because I wasn’t wearing shoes. I stressed about the financial security of my business. My motorbike needed significant repairs. On four separate occasions, I felt uncomfortable walking home due to wolf whistles and beeping and snide remarks. The garage in which I live in was invaded by thousands of little caterpillars. I was fined for taking a hire car off-road. I got incredibly sunburnt. I recognised that my heart was ultimately empty and that I would struggle to allow someone to curl up and make a home in there again. I mourned the loss of friendships and I expected too much from those at an arm’s length. I battled with the arrogance that comes with starting something successful when old friends doubted you. I sent stupid texts in bouts of insecurity. I broke a heart.
I worked at a desk and missed having colleagues. I worked at a beach-side café and was thankful for the diversity of spaces. I went four days without showering. I listened to alt-J on repeat. I ran Skype meetings with a nice blouse and no pants on. I had a bowl of ice-cream in the bath at lunch time. I discovered that business has an entirely different moral code to personal relationships. I embraced spontaneity because I owned my schedule in its entirety. I wondered what I would do if I got sick and what would happen when I retire because tax and super and HECS-HELP payments are up to me now. I decided to think about those things later.
I tried to learn how to love my body more by being naked in front of friends and by being naked in front of strangers. I drew nude portraits of myself, studying the curves and folds that remain hidden in photos and behind full-piece swimsuits. With my pencil and a mirror, I explored the shadows. It became a nightly ritual.
I didn’t allow myself to slow down. I said yes to every single business opportunity, to the point where I had more work than I could handle, to the point where I am now looking into registering a company and hiring staff.
I forgot to dedicate time for the things I love like books and baths and handwritten letters. I realised there were some things I loved that I had to sacrifice for a while.
I learnt that if I speak the passion that dwells at the core of my being, then it will reach the right ears. Better friendships and bolder business opportunities sprout in those conversations and what joy it is to walk away from them feeling lighter, happier.
It is my hope that the next 75 days are as full of the ecstasy of risk as the first 75.