The struggle to balance your day job with your dream is one that I’ve struggled with most of my life. Well, I say most of my life but I haven’t entirely adulted until recent months. I guess it doesn’t really help matters when you spend many of your (rare) free evenings exhausted and at the mercy of your Monday – Friday strict sleep schedule. I mean, will it EVER get any better?
Having worked full time as a writer, you’d think I’d tire of writing anything come 6:30pm when the alarm bells sound (in my head), that it’s time to go home. But you see, I don’t feel that way at all. Instead, I plan to write each and every one of my elaborate article ideas, on the journey to and from work. But where am I failing exactly? Well, my first mistake is thinking I have more energy than I actually do, the second is thinking I have more time on my seemingly short commute, than I actually do and finally, the overall willingness to succeed often escapes me.
It’s an odd feeling, but when I start tapping away on those keys it’s as though I’d never lost the urge or the passion to write. However, the fear of having only two hours in which to write, eat, shower, get ready for the following day and sleep is an exhausting one and one that I’ve struggled profusely with as of late.
In 2016, I left a job that was draining me to my core and my whole reason for doing so, was that it was taking away from what I actually wanted to do with my life, write. I had little time to tend to my boyfriend, friends and the only escape I did have, were long weekend breaks abroad every so often. Which, understandably, I’d sleep on, be a total bore on and complain come Monday that I didn’t rest enough during. That job for me, was my breaking point. I looked in the mirror and had no idea who was looking back at me. This is partially because I’d lost so much weight due to stress and an irritant toothache that refused to budge, but we’re talking metaphorics here. I knew that it was time to jump ship entirely and pursue my dream, time to focus all of my energy on the one *thing* I really loved.
At the very start of my freelance career, bar a few panic attacks and temper tantrums, things seemed to go quite well. I was finally getting paid to what it was that I adored and people often told me how much they adored my online rambles of total and complete nothingness. It was great. But they don’t tell you of the stress that comes with working on your own terms. No one mentions the difficulties of chasing invoices for months on end, being paid poor wages, having a number of jobs fall through and having to stay home because well, you’re poor. As someone who isn’t living unless they’re abroad, it was time for me to find another role, my anxiety and I couldn’t handle the pressure and the thought of failure a moment longer.
So here I am, in yet another full time role to make ends meet. Although admittedly, this job is miles better than my last real full time job, I can’t help but feel it’s holding me back from my full potiential. Now, that’s not to say that my job isn’t a delight, it’s just that all too often I return home after a nine hour shift, collapse onto my bed and I’m only awoken by the sounds of the Love Island opening credits. My free time is torn between the things I want to do, i.e binge watch Netflix while drinking a glass of red, and the things I have to do, which all too often means making sure I’m somewhat ready for the following working day.
Today, I’m right back where I started, battling my passion with my day job. Today, my day job is winning the overall battle and my passion is taking its last breath. Today, I’m fearful that the five year old with hopes and dreams inside me is terrified of losing that ‘spark,’ we’ve so long held onto in our 24 years of age. It’s a terrifying concept balancing your income job with your true passion. I mean, it’s all well and good actually having a passion but it’s upsetting not being able to do anything about it. Or simply, not having the time to do anything with it.
For me, personally it’s something that I’m not sure I’ll ever master despite the solid advice I receive from peers (who all finish work at a reasonable hour). Sure I may have the same hours in the day as Beyonce but we have to note that she probably has people cooking her brekkie, ironing/picking her daily ensembles and I assume, wiping her bottom while she practices vocals on the loo? But I digress. My point is, we’re living simpler lives than Mrs. Carter and I’m all but certain she’d crack too, under all of this pressure.
Think about it, I need you to really think about this: how does anyone expect us to prosper, eat well, exercise, consume our five a day, drink water, work hard, catch up on Love Island, work on our after work passions, catch up with friends and have matching eyebrows, without full time help? I mean, honestly?!
I understand it’s something many of us millennials are struggling with because despite the degrees our parents and teachers assured us (drilled into us) that we would need, it’s still incredibly difficult to merge our passions with our actual jobs. For many of us, it is a bit of uphill battle dedicating the appropriate time to both. Perhaps work/life balances don’t actually exist and the only time you really have to yourself is the two days a week allocated to either ‘live like there’s no tomorrow’ or the far more plausible, ‘sleep’. A depressing thought to say the least.
Anyone struggling with the nuisance full time – passion battle, I say this to you. You are not alone and I too kick myself when I fall asleep diagonally on my bed, after I’d drummed it into my head, that I’d allocate at least one hour to writing something (anything!) It happens and – I hope, I so hope – that one day we’ll actually get the hang of this work/life thing and will all prosper passed this level of the Matrix.
Keep. Hope. Alive.