As I sifted through piles of the previous year's expenses, invoices and accumulated receipts, I found myself in a rerun of my life in 2015: romantic, social, and professional. All the ups and downs, the excitement and the solitude, the increasing visits to boutiques and then the crunched-down, supermarket list to cover the bare necessities. This has to be something that only a freelancer could most likely identify with.

I was sorting through all those experiences last month: January and February warming up and getting hotter in March, followed by an intense heat wave from April to July and right after steamy August, things started to simmer down with less frequent trips and spontaneous adventures. By the time, November 1st rolled around, I was deep in the memoirs of 'what was', 'what the hell was that about?' and the feeling of disappointment lingered.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't get upset by it but it made me realize how much I've grown in the last year alone. It also showed me just how willing I was to dive into love after all, to give of myself for the benefit of a great, passionate relationship, and my willingness to be there in every sense. I'm proud of myself for it because I realized how vested I was in letting love in and giving things a real chance. If I had judged myself for doing not enough or not being there more than I could, those self-deprecating thoughts slipped away into thin air as fast as they surfaced. It also made me realize that I would like a partner who is equally invested and committed to being there. Not that he wasn't - but it wasn't enough.

And so, in an effort to make logic of twelve months worth of intense, exciting and powerful life, I stapled together memories of itineraries to Capri, trains to Rome, purchase receipts of seaside dresses, manicure cards (11th treatment: filing and polish free of charge), and exaggerated amounts of pay-as-you-go mobile cards to accommodate late-night calls and sweet serenades. I looked at them all and thought, 'wow, what a year'.

Yet it was the first time that I truly felt the taste of utter disappointment, calling it by what it really was rather than a 'heartbreak' because it wasn't that. My heart was wholeheartedly there and in one piece all along which was what made it all so beautiful. It was the feeling of being let down that tasted salty and at times, bittersweet. I suppose the business lesson here is that you invest, not really knowing what kind of seed you'll plant but you give it a shot, take a risk. Plant a seed and watch it grow. Just like most things in life.

Socially speaking, friendships expanded, group meetings grew bigger and dinners lasted much longer. We talked it all over a lot of wine and coffee with lots of cream and cinnamon. And yes, plenty of freshly baked morning croissants.

Then came the career highs, the frustrating impatience to see projects through and push through 'let's wait for another round of funding', or 'we're not sure it's a good idea' (especially when you know you're totally on the right track with your insight), followed by a change of management and then renewed hope, and brighter invoices. It's incredible to see how a year danced through my life like that. I made choices for myself, most of them benefited me and others simply taught me, 'Nope, not that way, go this way'.

Sometimes I actually receive returns on all of this material that accountants love to call their 'work'. To me, the greatest return from all of this is life experience and I wouldn't change it for any secure office job, because there really is none. The life of a freelancer is not an easy one - don't be fooled - you need to have a lot of resilience in the face of change and disappointment. Contracts are made and broken quicker than bonds in elementary school. You're forced to grow and move from your comfort zone all the time.

What's nice is that you can look back and actually see the process for yourself. You don't just learn to improve your finances (well, you try, and with your accountant's suggestions of course) but you also get a better idea of where you want to go, you aim higher. Here's to an even brighter outlook in the coming year.  

E xx

Published by Eleonora