A Different Daily Grind

Posted: July 26, 2013

Rural Pen

Working from home is everyone’s dream, right?

You roll out of bed whenever, grab a cup of coffee and sit on the deck.

When you get some energy, you take a walk or run or bicycle ride, then to settle down to work. Supreme contentment.

Let me tell you, working at home has its ups and downs.

Yes, I am the master of my fate. Well, at least my day.

Sort of.

As a freelancer, if I want to make any money, I have to hustle. That means I park myself at this desk and focus on the task of the day. Diversions, while pleasant, can lead to late nights.

Other things I’ve experienced:

Up: I don’t miss a simple question to a co-worker ending up in a half-hour discussion about a non-related topic that puts me behind in my work.

Down: I do miss people. I miss the creative energy that thrives in discussions with others. When I worked on a staff, during our brainstorming meetings, I often thought, “Together, we are genius.” It’s true. Given the right combination of people, we all make each other smarter.

Up: I don’t have to wake up to an alarm and try to cram in quiet meditation, an hour’s walk, showering, breakfast — for me, the dog and the cat— posting the mail and cleaning up the kitchen all by 8:30 a.m.

Down: I still wake up at 6 a.m., but it’s often hours before I’m dressed and ready. My rule is to be out of my sweats and into real clothes by noon.

Up: Living in the country, nature affords me opportunities for mental and physical breaks. My desk faces two windows. Throughout the day, I look up at the woods across the street or out at my shaded yard. I occasionally pick a few tomatoes or collect eggs.

Down: Living in the country, I cannot walk out my front door to a restaurant for lunch, the library for a book or a shop to pick up a gift.

Up: With gas prices so high, I save a lot of money on commuting costs.

Down: I get tired of staying home. Don’t get me wrong, I really like it here, but a change of scene is always welcome.

Up: Another money saver is lunch. It can cost from $6 to $10 to eat out in town.

Down: I miss eating out with my friends and co-workers. Plus, I’m out of touch. There are restaurants downtown I haven’t been to.

Up: I have the solitude I’ve always craved, time alone to gaze at clouds and stroll around the countryside, pondering the great questions of life as Thoreau did.

Down: I feel dull and out of touch. Generally, the greatest question I ponder is what to cook for dinner.

Some days, I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Our garden has never looked better. I love making delicious, nutritious meals from scratch. I have the flexibility to travel.

Other days, I crave the company of others, a routine and a regular paycheck.

I’m sure some day — if I end up in a “real” job — I’ll look back on this time as golden.

Luanne Austin lives in Mount Sidney. Contact her at RuralPen@aol.com, facebook.com/rural pen or care of the DN-R.

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