I’ve just had this compulsion to come to grips with what my past year has been like… But I really just want to focus on one thing right now, and it is the lessons that I’ve learned by not having a job. Or rather, by not having a boss, and having to in a lot of ways, fend for myself, use my creativity to get by, and re-bound through periods of uncertainty and discomfort.
While there have been numerous upsides to this new lifestyle that I have created for myself, which consist of being able to work from almost anywhere, set my hourly wages, cancel and make appointments at my discretion, and being able to do the work that I actually love, there have been some downsides. For example, since the summer, there have been periods where my spending power was zero, or actually negative. These periods were extremely uncomfortable and stressful, as I had never been in such bad financial turmoil before. Since the age of sixteen, with all but a few periods in between, I have always had a job, and had always been waiting for a check to come to my aid. But after quitting my job as a waiter, and getting fired, from my job as a salesman, I embraced the pain, and strove to find new ways to make an income.
What I ended up doing was actually what I think I was meant to do because it seemed to be a summation of what I had been learning from the past year. What I did was put whatever skills, and talents that I had, and was confident in, put it in a bucket, and began marketing and selling it. The skill that I chose was my English/writing abilities. Or in simpler terms I became a private tutor for people of all ages. Though this seems simple, and maybe even miniscule in the eyes of an on-looker, this shift was actually quite huge for me. The reason why this is so, is because for the first time in my life, I actually felt free. I felt like I had control of where my money was coming from, how much I could earn, and how hard I would have to work, it was all on me.
This shift in mindset, combined with my other monetary side dishes like my selling of the clothes and sneakers that I had barely worn, and my teaching of English to young Chinese kids through the internet, has made me feel like an entrepreneur. It made me feel like I had to bring it and stay on my toes to survive everyday if I wanted to make it. It made me feel empowered, and as I continue this pattern today, I still do.
Today I am still continuing these patterns of behavior. The pattern of staying on my toes, always preparing and searching for my next opportunity, and using what I know best to help others. I am proud of myself for not breaking and going back to the job that I once had when things got hard. I feel like I am figuring it out day by day as new opportunities continue to knock on my door. I am learning just how important negative times are to the end-all of your life just as the positive moments are. The struggle and pain almost always have the potential to become opportunities for you to step it up and seize control of your destiny. But most importantly, as a young man I feel like I am in the beginnings of really being able to set up the life that I want to live. The life of financial independence, freedom to move and be myself, but most importantly, the freedom to do what I want every single day.