I broke down in tears last Sunday night for the first time in a while. We had close friends over for a Christmas lunch and gift exchange earlier in the day, but I guess I was too excited so I just felt emotionally drained afterwards. I also only got about 4 hours of sleep the night before. So I was already a bit unstable, lol. That led to me having a really tiny mental breakdown that my poor husband witnessed since he was wandering into the room about that time. Poor guy was just on his way to the bathroom and then was caught off guard by a crying wife laying sideways on the bed. But sometimes it truly pays to know how to talk about money with your spouse.
Why I Was Really Crying
Well, Mr. BFS laid down next to me and kept saying nice things until I stopped “leaking” as he put it. His soft questions had me working through a train of thought that brought it all down to…I don’t feel stable. I was super excited about our day with friends, so I felt like that little kid after a super awaited Christmas…I don’t think anything could have lived up to my expectations. It was a great get together too – yummy food, thoughtful gifts that kicked butt, and even a little time hanging out afterwards. But I still felt like it ended too suddenly and everything was just over.
That thought led me to how fast I feel like everything flies by. I am constantly caught off guard by the date. It just doesn’t feel like mid-December 2012 already. Then that led me to thinking about our last full year together of hubby and me working from home. It’s been great but feels like it just flew by and I don’t have much new to show for it.
From April 2011 to December 2011, my online business grew exponentially every few weeks. It was crazy. In those 9 months, I went from having one or two clients to having more than 150 and I was killing myself trying to keep up with it all. That was the entire reason Mr. BFS started working at home at the end of January 2012…I needed help and he wanted to try. Well, the growth in 2011 meant I went from making $2000 a month online to making more than $20,000 in last December alone, so having us both work from home made sense.
Then Google changed their ranking program stuff, decreased the Page Rank of a ton of bloggers and advertisers, and scared off more than half of my ad contacts. So in April 2012, my dreams of making more than $200,000 a year came to a screeching halt. We were still bringing in good money (more than what we need), but it sucks to have a dream stopped by forces outside of your control. This year has been a lesson in the instability of self-employment and life in general.
As I tried to explain why I was feeling like crap to my husband, he responded uncharacteristically. He’s usually a great, big pessimist, but he kept saying things like “but we’re doing well” and “I wouldn’t have traded this last year for anything”. How does a girl stay sad when her pessimistic partner is all sunshine and rainbows? She doesn’t. He’s right.
My business is sustaining us and then some. It’s actually looking like it is recovering slowly from the Google slap too. We’re not anywhere close to the numbers of last year, but we are making more than we ever did working for others. And that should be considered a huge win. We are happier than ever before. And even when we had “real jobs”, we were never in positions that were guaranteed, so that feeling of stability I felt in my old job was all just false hope anyway.
In short, life itself is unstable. Nothing is ever guaranteed. If you ever feel like it’s all in your control, you’ll be rudely awakened by the realization that it truly isn’t. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I am now feeling a tiny bit of relief…I don’t control everything. It’s not all on me. I can do my best, follow my own advice to grow my sites faster, and even branch out to different hobby jobs, but I can only control my own reaction to things. So breaking down into tears just because I was tired, emotionally crazy, and feeling a little off kilter was probably not the best reaction I could have had. Oops.
Sometimes you just have to accept instability…and remember to get enough sleep so busy days don’t kick your booty, lol.
How do you deal with the lack of control you have over life? Any methods you’d suggest for others?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!