Freelance Life

At What Point Does Your Life Actually Become A Daydream?

To: Caitlin
Also I’m doing this project that involves finding good expat blogs and writing about them, and it keeps making me want to move abroad/just travel around for a living.
I wrote that sentence and then I realised that for most of this year I actually *am* travelling around for a living, lol

I wrote that the other day in an email to my friend. And then I looked at it and wondered why I hadn’t realised I was pretty much already living the dream.

Why is that?

Because the dream isn’t always so dreamy.

When you’re reading travel blogs or looking at people who live the “digital nomad” life, you automatically assume that the beautiful pictures of beaches are all they see. You assume they have enough money to eat in that upmarket restaurant they’ve just taken a photo of, and not that they’re holed up in the corner of some dingy chain hotel room, munching on a stale cracker.

But, a lot of the time, the reality is different.

Basically, what I’m saying is summed up in this quote:

e0c66fafa9481d1146a3b7e35aa7c40fA couple of weeks ago I’d been sitting at my desk all day, desperately trying to hit a deadline for a series of articles that’d been commissioned at short notice. I met the deadline, wrote a few more things that were slightly less urgent, and then powered down my computer and went for a walk.

Whilst walking, another thing I’d once seen on Pinterest popped into my head:

b766e56756181bb9e2b0d8be19fe002cI promise I don’t get all of my life philosophies from Pinterest. Just some of them. OK, most.

I asked myself the question as I wandered around looking for a pub.

Would my eight-year-old self be proud of what I’m doing with my life right now?

Dude.

She wouldn’t just be proud.

She’d be bloody ecstatic.

If you’d sat down eight-year-old scar and told her that at some point in her adult life, she’d be living in a beautiful flat with a lovely fluffy cat, and that she’d be spending many of her days writing for a living, she would have wooped for joy.

If you’d then told her that future scar also did research in psychology and was a private investigator and worked in child protection and did stuff relating to the arts, I think the excitement might have gotten too much for her and she might have fainted, or puked, or bitten someone.

Hopefully not the latter. Children are weirdos though, so who knows?

Anyway, the point is that I’m now doing literally all the jobs I dreamed about having as a child.

I used to have these two folders in my bedroom, one labelled ‘Psychiatry’ and one labelled ‘Psychology’. I’d write down anything I found in books related to these disciplines and daydream that I was a research psychologist, working at a university.

I was a very cool kid.

And then one day one of my parents took me to John Menzies, which was the Scottish version of WH Smith, basically, and they bought me a little filofax thing that was made for kids who wanted to be investigators. It had a cassette tape (Menzies and tapes, I’m showing my age here…) that came along with it, and you could listen out for clues and fill in the little report sheets in the filofax and pretend to be a Very Important Investigator.

But above all I loved to read and write.

Whatever dream jobs I held, whatever I wanted to do with my life, I always knew I’d want to be writing at the same time.

One day, the teacher was going around the class asking what we all wanted when we grew up; what our dream lives would contain.

“A mansion!” Johnny
“A big swimming pool!” Sarah
“A helicopter!” Gary
“I want to be a pop star!” Gillian

And then she got to me. “What do you want, scar?”
I looked up at her.

“A flat, a cat, and a Fiat.”

Ever the ambitious type.

Now I’m an adult (allegedly). I have a flat. I have a cat. I have triplet careers in psychology, investigation and writing.

I don’t have a Fiat yet.

But I won’t let that get me down.

Right now, I am literally living the dream. It’s just that when I imagined it as an eight-year-old kid, or even as a twenty-something-year-old adult, I forgot to imagine the bills. I forgot about how difficult freelance life can be, how rubbish clients often are at paying on time, how much of your day isn’t spent on the job itself but on all its surrounding admin.

But you know what?

I still am living the dream.

And I’m going to enjoy it.

And if enjoying it doesn’t come naturally?

I’ll just channel eight-year-old scar.

1 thought on “At What Point Does Your Life Actually Become A Daydream?”

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