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  • Writer's pictureMr. FI Musician

7 Months of Insanity's been a while.

The first rule of having a successful blog is posting consistently, and when I started this blog, I was positive I'd be able to post once a week.

That lasted about three months.

It wasn't that I didn't want to write, or that I didn't have topics to discuss. I simply didn't have the time to write. March hit and my freelance videography business took off. I had 80 freelance projects in a span of 90 days, in addition to my 9-to-5 job. I can honestly say I've never been so busy in my life. I was averaging 100 hours of work a week. My exercising, eating, and sleeping habits deteriorated and I found myself staring at a computer screen for 12+ hours a day.

Mr. FI Musician, be real with yourself. Yes, everything you said above is accurate, but you know this state you were in had less to do with workload and more to do with your mom passing away from cancer in late January. You stopped writing right after she died. You couldn't pick up a book to read either. Your mind would wander to thoughts about her. Concentrating on anything besides work was impossible.

It was miserable...

...but also amazing.

I recognize I've been extremely fortunate during the pandemic. Being in a field like digital marketing and videography, so many individual artists and arts organizations needed help adapting to an all-digital world. As the emails and phone calls came pouring in, I saw an opportunity to expand my business.

My thought process:

If I say yes to everything that comes my way, I'll establish connections with a whole lot of people and businesses when they really need the help. And while it's not sustainable in the long term, if I can build relationships, I should have a healthy amount of freelance work on the other side of the pandemic.

So that's what I did. I said yes to everything. I worked with chamber ensembles, soloists, theatre companies, dance companies. The timing actually worked well. I knew my wife was going to be in Europe for three months while I would still be living quarantine life. If I wasn't able to go out and spend time with friends, I might as well bring in some extra income.

Me as people offer me work.

I worked my butt off and ignored other aspects of my life. On one hand, it paid off. My side hustle began to pay more than my 9-to-5. For the first time I started thinking about walking away from my full time job and use the extra time to continue building my freelance business and start up some music projects I've been putting off. Very quickly I could see the light at the end of the tunnel on my journey to financial independence. It's still a long way off, but I can see a way out!

Sometimes life feels like an endless tunnel. It's important to find the light at the end.

On the other hand, I burnt out. Bad. I realized sitting at your computer chair for 12+ hours a day is no way to live (I am so smrt). By the end of June I was on the verge of having a break down. I think it was a combination of working too hard and being away from Mrs. FI Musician for a few months.

Yes, you definitely miss your wife and you're still working too hard. But you know what is really bothering you.

So July came and Mrs. FI Musician returned. I decided to force myself to take time off. We went hiking and kayaking. I made sure to get outside every day, even if just for a 10 minute walk. I don't think the work load changed, but my mental health improved significantly.

As vaccines rolled out and the pandemic eased a bit, we were able to spend more time with friends and family. In August I officiated my cousin's wedding and spent time with family.

But even as things were getting better, I still felt stuck. I couldn't bring myself to write. Reading was still difficult. Besides hiking I wasn't getting much exercise.

You know what's up. You just don't want to address it.

This past Saturday was my mom's memorial service. (We waited until September so that we could be outdoors and allow people time to get vaccinated.) We made a quick trip to my dad's over the weekend and drove home on Sunday, exhausted from the two day trip. But I woke up Monday morning feeling like a new person. I went running for the first time in months. I knocked a ton of stuff off of my to-do list that I've been sitting on forever. And even though work has been more stressful than in over a year, I feel lighter.

So after all of this time, I think I've realized what I really needed was closure. I needed a chance to say goodbye to my mom, and now that I've done that, I can begin to focus on things besides work.

So I'm back to writing again. For those of you who were reading my stuff prior to this pause, sorry I've been away for so long. I hope you'll continue with me on this journey. Check back next week when I'll be posting an article about how I paid off $40,000 of debt in 9 months!

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