I noticed the other day that the job that I quit nine years ago in order to start freelancing is available. I was hit with this unexpected twinge. Would they hire me back, if I applied?
That I would even consider this is directly related to my current state of disillusionment with freelancing. This particular ennui is nothing new—it comes around regularly. I tire of constantly trolling for work, writing on speculation, submitting, inching along from project to publication, wondering where all of this is going, putting myself out there constantly, in hopes of approval.
(A friend pointed out that I shouldn’t add “begging people to love me” to this list, as I did to her; that I should believe in my inherent lovability and put myself out there as a gift to others. She may be right, but when the demon strikes he takes my favorite wrapping paper).
But, no, I don’t want my old job back. Asking for that is attempting to rewrite history—like wishing to be pregnant again, which I do occasionally in moments of temporary insanity. This time, I dream, I wouldn’t vomit my guts out for six straight months. This time, I wouldn’t be a terrified, angry pain in the ass.
But I would. The same way I’d hate my old job back. This is the road I have taken. I am a freelance writer. All fantasies of some other less crazy-making, more stable job with an easily definable future—like nursing, or accounting—aside, this is what I chose, and this is what I am.
What it all comes down to (naturally) is fear; in this case, of failure. “OMG, I can’t see the train tracks! I’ve got to jump off of the train!”
But I’d just have to get on some other train, right? The trick is clinging confidently to the one you are on.