The life of a freelancer is like balancing on the cliff edge. The abyss is always a foot slip away – there are no safety nets. It is also an empowering life. You may earn more than the equivalent on a contracted salary based job. And it is not usually 9-5 – it is whenever necessary – but the days can open up sometimes. You hustle, you work, you know the days count – but a gig is not a life. In a survey of people who were terminally ill, something that came up was that they wished they had not spent so much time fretting about work, wasting time – literally.
Freelancers, generalising of course, tend to love what they do and that’s why they can throw the dice with more confidence they’ll pick up work. But obviously, stress, especially with family to support, will gnaw away at the brittle nerves like a thousand termites are nesting in your insecurity.
It can be increasingly hard therefore to find ways to relax. Like almost every media type who has reached 4O and is clinging on to sanity, I tend to have wine to switch that switch to off (ish) but last night I sat on a chair in the garden – the day’s heat still radiating from me – thinking about problems I didn’t want to think about and then it began.
A good storm – if you immerse yourself in it – is like the ultimate spa. I was in the garden, it was pleasantly dark, I was shirtless and with an almost empty wine glass, trying to breath some air in after being indoors on a hot summer afternoon – when the first cracks of thunder shuddered through the clouds I gasped. It was 1:30 AM. The sounds were like God’s warnings of what might follow, hard and deep and beyond the human realm. The lightening that erupted lit the clouds from behind and framed them in micro moments. Massive clouds, I realised, were above me – invisible in the dark and awe provoking me with a flickering back light of electric energy.
I heard myself say ‘wow’. I don’t say ‘wow’ ever. It was a ‘wow’ revelation.
A fast wind smashed through the nearby treeline – an invisible dinosaur had charged. I could feel it pour into the spaces around the house and then it slammed me with its sudden power.
Following that came the rain – tropical rain – so hard, sweeping and relentless that it almost had a personality. It was as if a deep feeling has become weather.
I took enormous pleasure in not going back indoors, in holding my wine glass and feeling sensations on me. I felt, as people do on these occasions as if this was just for me, despite the fact all the lights were going on in houses nearby.
The lightening forked to ground about a mile away, but by now every other second was punctuated with lightening or thunder. The air pressure released, my head became lighter and my sinuses cleared in a perfection of hearing and smelling, from a dull senselessness. For the first time in a long, long time I relaxed. I was enjoying the storm throwing everything at me in one go – it was like getting it out of the way.
I sometimes feel that I am listened to like antennae picks up sounds. I feel no connection to a listener. As a writer that feels like isolation. Writers are not talkers, they have chosen a different medium.
I did not reach for a phone camera. That would demean the experience.
This was written about two months ago – I just thought I would publish it as didn’t at the time.