I did this yesterday. I lay in the sun, in the grass, and counted good things. Last week was, well, interesting to say the least and I'd reached the end of it feeling deflated. One slightly negative thought tends to throw open the door to all of its friends and they all come rushing in, determined to party like a fresher at university.
Work, feeling a bit under the weather, a son home from school with the same bug, builders and plumbers intruding on my peace, emergency trips to the vet, the inevitable crash after the Thames Path Challenge and a myriad of decisions and jobs just made me want to scream. I didn't scream however. I went for a run and tried to run so fast everything would be left behind. That definitely didn't work but hey, I might have given passing drivers a laugh.
Then, I read this article about the stresses of homeworking on The Telegraph website and I found myself nodding along in agreement. Yes, the washing. Yes, the deliveries. Yes, the feeling that you're part house-keeper part home-worker. Yes, the continual battle to get people to take you seriously. It was the perfect piece to read after the week I'd had. Woe woe woe. Sob sob sob.
But it was perhaps at that moment that the wide open door in my head that was allowing all of the shouting horrid thoughts in was slammed shut. And it was slammed shut by the prospect of the alternatives. Because, however tough this whole working for yourself balance thing can be, the key words in my previous sentence are the ones that made me lay in the sun and count the good things. I work for myself.
A few years ago, I had a short and unhappy dalliance with the corporate world. I would don my office attire and leave home before my son was even dressed for school and return home in time to cook dinner, shout about homework left undone and put him to bed before doing the whole damn thing again the next day. The holidays were worse - no flexbility, no fun, no opportunities to take an hour in the afternoon for a game of badminton and catch up later. I spent my summer in an air conditioned office trying to share an enthusiasm for weddings that no-one else wanted or understood and attending meeting after meeting where nothing was done and no-one spoke their mind. I happily left. I'm not cut out to work like that, for people like that and in that kind of environment.
So when I re-read The Telegraph piece, I looked at it differently. I want this lifestyle. I want to walk my son to school while he still wants my company. I want to go for a run, to pop out if I choose to and I want to be the grown up, working to my own schedule and making my own decisions. I want to have flowers on my desk, pretty on my walls and the freedom to pick and choose my clients. This creative, difficult, fantastic, hard, soul-breaking, heart-filling life is the life I have chosen and it is good. It is full of opportunities and devoid of dullness. I don't have meetings that make my eyes glaze over. I have meetings with people that inspire me to do better. I don't do someone else's bidding. I dance to my own tune.
And, that's worth the juggling, the balancing, the ups and down and any amount of washing you like.