I found myself writing out this email to a dear friend who has been through a similar transition, but a few years ago. After writing it out - I thought I would share this 'out here' to see other peoples thoughts and experiences, if they have had them
An update is that I have been able to begin to work freelance and to create the kind of flexible, meaningful life here in Stettler that I am looking for. I have a monthly contract with a nearby town to run their community sustainability awareness projects for the winter/spring and am also picking up some work at the local newspaper. Am hoping to work with Waterlution as an Associate and also talking to Schumacher about going back to facilitate a course for them. The summer should also be busy as V. and I are planning to plant a large garden and I have committed to working in it and also (if we get enough) taking things to the farmers market. In between - I am also applying for some part-time roles like being an enumerator in the census which will bring some income, perhaps help me meet others but not take away from my other projects and ideas.
So it is as if - without much effort - after my thesis I have found myself living the life I have craved for a long time... or better: living into the life that I am wanting.
Yet, the last couple weeks have been interesting in terms of processing and living into the kind of life I am building here.
Now that the new year is here and I am picking up some work - it is like I am still adjusting to being self-employed. Not a student, not employed by someone full-time, but not un-employed either as I do have contracts that are starting to bring in income and promising leads for the rest of the year. It's like I wake up each morning - and sometimes throughout the day - amazed at the fact that I living close to the lifestyle, and living into the lifestyle, I had craved for so long. One that is flexible and fluid with no major lines in my day and life between 'work' and 'life'. I am working on projects (paid and volunteer) that are about creating healthier rural communities. I have time to spend with my family and friends; cooking and knitting and other projects are not relegated to nights or weekends. I am making less money but I also need less money to live this life. But there is this odd sensation lingering - an uncertainty; something like anxiety about the instability or a guilt about not working hard enough or more hours. I'm not letting it guide me in terms of seeking security or work in places that would take me away from doing what I really want to be doing and living... but it is there. It helps that I have V to talk to about this and we support and encourage each other. When I get the feeling - I just take a moment to reflect, to remind myself of what I am doing, of what's on the horizon and to be grateful for the adjustment because it means I am creating the lifestyle I desired.
I find myself wondering how other people have handled their transitions and journeys in building their practice and life. What was hard (practically and emotionally and any other way) and what helped?