So on Monday night, after declaring my triumphant final exit strategy just that morning, I settled in for another long night of hustling as I played catch-up on several projects I hadn’t had time for over the weekend while simultaneously attempting not to fall behind on the work I was supposed to complete that day…all while occasionally refreshing my inbox for updates on my car sale or news on the recent gig applications that were bound to push me over into the victory zone.
And, during one of my hopeful refreshes, an e-mail popped up from one of the blogs I regularly write for—thanking me for the recent posts I’d sent them, as they always do, and regretfully informing me they were changing their marketing strategy and canceling their blog indefinitely.
I wrote for this particular client three times a week, and they represented a good third of my current freelance income.
This is the danger of blogging for other people. Even if you have a contract for X number of posts per month, it’s largely on an as-needed basis, and it can be ended at any time. You hope it won’t be—you assume it won’t be if the blog is solid enough (this client was an large international institution with a well-established blog, not some fly-by-night startup)—but the brutal truth is, you just never know.
I can absorb the loss now (budget-wise) because I’ve still got the day job, but morale-wise? It’s a blow, and a fairly nasty one.
Because now the leap I knew I could juuust about make with enough hustle and sweat is that much farther away. Now it goes from looking “doable, albeit slightly crazy” to “put this back on the back burner; you’ve got a long way to go yet, honey.”
Your Timing Is Suspect, Sir (And I Refuse to Give in to It)
This cruel blow to my barely 12-hours-old victory reeks of the universe’s way of doing things. It’s always been a tricksy bastard (a dear, mysterious, impishly tricksy bastard), and I’ve seen it pull many a prank before that looked foreboding but wound up being an endearing “gotcha!” story in hindsight. Either this particular setback is one of those looks-mean-at-first, closing-a-door-but-opening-a-window deals, or this is the fates trying to tell me to slow my roll and settle back in for another long haul.
It really could be either. I have no way of knowing at the moment. A sensible person would wait for further instructions and clues as to how to proceed.
But I have long since ceased being a sensible person.
And I know for a fact (corroborated by a great number of dreamers and revolutionaries over the centuries) that the way things turn out after a setback is determined largely by the way you choose react to it. (Note the important word: choose.)
I can choose to tell myself that I got too Icarus in my ambitions and move back three spaces, returning the cards I’ve collected thus far and praying to the (apparently unkind) fates for the patience to endure my current status quo for another few years without doing severe bodily harm to myself, a coworker, or a household appliance.
I can choose to say “You got me. I didn’t really think I could pull this off. Thanks for the reality check, old buddy!” and then slink off to cry silently and for a very long time in a corner, resenting the world for not letting me get what I want.
Or, I can choose to imagine that this is the universe’s way of testing me, of seeing just how much I really want it. (Hint: I want it a lot.) I can continue under the belief that this is still the final leg of the quest and that setbacks will happen, because the universe is a master storyteller, and every good story has those “oh crap, it’s all for naught!” moments right before the final victory.
I choose to operate under that assumption. Because, quite frankly, it would be pretty shitty to operate under any other. And I’m not one for living shittily.
The Fatal Flaw in the Scheme
If this was meant to cow me, it was not designed very well.
Because anyone who knows me at all knows that telling me I can’t have something I desperately, desperately want only makes me more determined to get it.
Telling me I have to wait even longer for something I’ve worked long and hard and doggedly for only makes me work longer and harder and doggedlier.
Am I disappointed? Hell yes. Do I still want to go have a cry in a corner and call the world a stupid poohead for being mean to me? Yes, as any person initially would. And I just might do that for a short while, just to get it out of my system.
But, once I’ve had my cry and brandished my name-calling abilities, I will wipe off my mascara tracks, sit back down at my computer, and keep plugging away.
Because that’s the only way that I know to make this happen, and I mean to make this happen.
It’s really that simple, when you get down to it.
Image: felixtsao / Flickr
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