Some thoughts on turning forty and the general lack of stability in my work rhythm this year.
Having recently celebrated my 40th birthday, I’ve been thinking about my life a lot. I’m usually not the type to give stock to such milestones, treating any of my birthdays much like the previous one. I do not at all feel different now than I did when I turned 39, for example. But I guess it has been a weird year and now I’m wondering if that has anything to do with me reaching this rather arbitrary, but seemingly mathematically important age marker. It’s probably a silly notion, but I would like to examine it anyway.
Why has this year been unusual for me, so far? It’s hard to put into words, but I’ve had issues establishing a stable work pattern all year. Granted, my work/life balance has been pretty whacked ever since I started working freelance at the beginning of 2019, but so far, I’ve been pretty successful in getting my many work projects – writing, podcasting, live streams – accomplished without one impinging too much on the others. Now, the very nature of freelance work will often dictate a certain ebb and flow in any given number of these activities, but I’ve managed to juggle all of the different requirements quite well for the last couple of years.
This has changed in 2023. I have struggled to give some projects the time and attention they deserve, especially on the podcasting front. I’ve also neglected some unpaid writing at places like this blog. If I try to analyse where my time went inst ead, I’d have to come to the conclusion that there are two main factors that have been eating into this productivity: exercise and spending time with friends and family. Now, it’d be easy to get this productivity back by cutting down on those two activities. Problem is, I don’t want to do that. Both have been very beneficial to my wellbeing and I do feel happier with my life this year than I ever have before in the last 40 years. Since I credit these factors with improving my life so much, I don’t want to change what I am doing with regards to daily exercise and spending more free time with the people who are important to me. On the other hand, my work situation can’t stay as it is either. Something has to be done, I feel.
Having thought about this for a while, I feel that one key to improving this situation is better organisation on my part. I feel that if I get a more dependable rhythm established during the week – a set day for podcasting every week, fixed times in the day for exercising and so on… – I will be better able to deal with the unforseen factors of my work situation as a freelancer. Sounds easy enough, but the trouble comes when I’m trying to fit it all into a single week. So this then tells that I also need to cut down on some of those activities. That I’m being too ambitious when I’m trying to do all of the things I want to do.
So that’s where I stand at the moment. I think I have identified the problem I’ve been having all year and what I need to do to change it, while still trying to keep good things that have come from the change. I will start addressing this in the coming week, once I am back from the Starfield holiday I have granted myself for the launch of that game. With any luck, you will see me get back to more regular podcasts and more frequent posts here on the blog, among other things, very soon.
And to answer the initial question: No, I don’t think any of this has anything to do with me turning 40. These life changes have been developing for a while, it just happened to come to a head during this summer.