For me, one of the greatest challenges of having your own business (and working at home) is feeling lonely. I’ve started to notice more and more that my lifeline to the world is through the internet and this journal.
For the first two years I had my business, I was so lonely (and afraid of what I was embarking on) that I cried nearly every day. Nevertheless, something inside me knew that if I just stuck with it, it would be worthwhile. No matter how depressed I got, I wasn’t willing to quit.
After a particularly hard week, I spoke to a wonderful card reader/psychic I know in New Orleans named Lauren. I told her about my depression, how I cried uncontrollably every day, how I knew it was circumstantial, but I felt like I was becoming the crazy lady in the attic.
I expected her to agree with me when I suggested getting a part time job to get myself out of the house. I shared my “Clif Bar fantasy” where I get a job at a great company like Clif Bar that has yoga classes on site and where everyone loves their job. Instead she said, “Yes, you could definitely get a part time job. But consider that loneliness is just part of the deal right now. Sometimes you need loneliness to grow creatively.”
Something shifted inside me when she said that. What if there was nothing to fix? What if I could USE that energy instead of resisting it? What if I stopped trying to make it go away?
Almost immediately after that conversation, I felt more peaceful at work. I stopped leaving the house every time I felt anxious, I stopped making phone calls every time I felt alone, I stopped obsessively checking email. I tried to allow the loneliness as much as I could. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but having permission to allow it to be there, and understanding that discomfort isn’t necessarily “bad” was liberating.
I’m in a different place now. It has been three years since I started my business, I no longer work in an attic, and I only cry every once in a while. Don’t we all?
I still feel lonely at times. I still crave the outside world, and at some point I might choose that. But for now I’m satisfied with me, Superhero Designs, a little bit of loneliness, and you, who I love to talk to.