A Retrenchment Observed – one year in.

October marked one year since my job was made redundant and I began this current adventure.

Sometimes I’m shocked that it’s already been a year.

Other times I’m shocked that it’s only been a year! 🙂

Working at my old job was often described as ‘like drinking from a fire-hose’ because there was SO MUCH to learn and so little time to learn it in.

Losing the job didn’t much change that!

Here is what I’ve learned so far:

‘It takes time’ is a huge understatement.

I didn’t settle into this new life with anything like the speed I had expected.

And I don’t mean just the starting a business – I mean EVERYTHING.

I feel like I’m just now starting to make progress on getting my life together. (And I’m not even certain yet that I’m right about that.)

Then there’s starting a business. OY.

I mean, I expected that to take time. I knew I wasn’t really ready yet, when this ‘opportunity’ arrived, but … wow. So many overlapping learning curves. It’s like riding three roller coasters at once. (And I’m the girl who was perfectly happy sticking to It’s a Small World, thank you very much.)

THEN there is improving my skills, plus learning how to be a business person. Oh, and the marketing stuff. Networking. Creating contracts and forms. And overcoming my life-long terror of all things accounting… the list goes on.

It takes LOTS of time.

Which brings me to trust.

Turns out you can’t just ‘do’ trust once and have it over with.

A humongous piece of this learning pie has been about trust. This is not an area in which I excel.

But it DID progress. I finally started to get it that, for me, life was going to have to include a strong dose of faith and trust to survive this adventure. I got that. And I put it into action!

For awhile. Then I found myself in a relentless panic, and had to come all the way back to the start and learn the trust thing all over again.

I’m think I’m on version 43 of cycle right now.

And I HOPE I’ve got it down finally, but I’m not being too definite about that just yet. Let’s evaluate that success in a year or so.

Preparation helps.

I did learn that preparing for difficult times helps enormously when they arrive.

Was I as prepared as I wish I had been? Oh, my goodness, no! But I was prepared in several important ways, which is why I’m not completely crashed and burned already.

Several years ago I learned the value of ditching debt, and had done that with the exception of my school loan. I had noticed the fragility of our times, and so had worked hard to sock away a good Emergency Fund. I had WANTED to make some changes, so had been inching toward getting more formal training in the area of my work that I wanted to expand.

These all, especially the savings and reduced debt, have made this year possible, and are more than worth every sacrifice they required!!

More preparation would have helped more!

Now that I’ve seen how important my few tiny preparations have been, I sure wish I had started preparing sooner, prepared a lot more, and been more willing – and able – to move forward more while I still had a job to cushion me.

Could I have survived doing the certificate program that I wish I had done? I don’t know. Maybe I was too sick a couple years ago to pull that off successfully. But I sure wish I already had the certificate.

Should I have just paid off my school loan instead of participating in the loan forgiveness program? Probably. I’d have less saved, I suppose, so it’s hard to say, but debt-free is where I want to get to, and where I want to stay!

And I SHOULD have saved even more than I did! No question about that!

I’m pretty frugal. But when you know you’ve only got one year’s worth of living expenses on which to succeed or fail in building a career from scratch, the Ghosts of Poor Spending Choices Past become haunting.

But, life is what it is.

I wish I had done MANY things differently. In the end though, beating myself up over the areas I wish I had changed won’t increase my energy for the future. And I need all the energy I can get!

So, I’m making note of what I want to change in future, and trying to do things as right as I can now, but then I have to accept my mistakes, failures, and weakness and move forward anyway.

One year in, you may still not know the outcome.

It’s taking time, and I’m still scared that my progress won’t be fast enough. I want to make this experiment work. I want to be able to support myself as a full-time freelancer, and not have to move back to full-time employment. I still can’t tell if that is going to work out.

But, I am maintaining gratitude for the blessings I have, and an attitude of joy in my expectations for the future.

That is two retrenchment goals accomplished!



Be well.

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