As two people with neurodiverse brains, self-insuring to guard against being laid off or just not hired is essential to our general well being. It has been almost two months since Mr. Frugasaurus finished his exams and dove headfirst into freelance work and writing full-time. Even with the wedding and everything surrounding that, it is quite amazing how much work he has been able to do.
Even during the very first month, there were enough projects from his company to make him pull in a paycheck that was able to cover not just some, but the entire share of his expenses, and more than his stipend was as a student. He doesn’t seem to take it in at all, but I am amazed at how smooth the transition has been. Even now in the second month, he is set to blow past that by a mile, easily earning him enough money to set aside for months when there are fewer projects.
On my side of the freelance spectra, my little Etsy shop it growing slowly, and I am trying to publish something at least once a week, maybe two.
Over the last year since starting this blog, we have both realised how important it is to our mental health that we earn an income separate from an employer and their paycheck, and why we consider this our version of self-insuring for life.
Unfounded or not, both Mr. Frugasaurus and myself have some issues that can make it a challenge for us to get and keep traditional 9 to 5 jobs. Mr. Frugasaurus, while he is an excellent networker with great social skills, has irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), sometimes keeping him stuck in the bathroom for an hour at a time.
Even though workplaces are obliged to accommodate disabilities, can’t you just imagine how colleagues would respond if he stayed in the bathroom half the work day? Or if he came in late because he simply could not leave the house?
No, for Mr. Frugasaurus, it is little doubt that whatever career he pursue, it would be much easier for everyone involved if he did work-from-home, project based work. Where his wage is based on how much he has done, not spending x hours in the office.
Me on the other hand? I have already talked about my autism, which adds an extra challenge when it comes to getting jobs. I also struggle with impostor syndrome, leaving me to live in perpetual fear of being fired, which is no good for my long-term health.
Words cannot describe the relief I have felt these past few days, when it became evident that Mr. Frugasaurus might very well be able to support all our expenses already. Not a year from now, not two or three, but already. Knowing that we will still keep a roof over our heads if anything was to happen to me and my earning capability has been a huge load off my shoulder, and a great boon to Mr. Frugasaurus’ self-confidence.That is self-insuring to me – making sure you can cover your bills, even without someone else employing you.
We can also not hide that we are freedom seeking millennials, and we want the freedom a laptop-based lifestyle offers.
Mr. Frugasaurus is often asked by his grandmother to watch her dog while she travels, and he likes to be able to do so, as he gets to visit the rest of his family at the same time. Plus, he can work just as well with her internet as he can with ours.
We both have friends all over the country and overseas, and it has been difficult to travel to visit them, because we have been either locked in place by work or studies. We hope to be able to do more slow travel to visit friends and nurture those long-distance friendships.
I am prone to bouts of depression. Some of them so heavy that Mr. Frugasaurus has in earnest asked me to see someone. I am reluctant to, because my blue-collar upbringing makes it really difficult for me to accept that it is “allowed” to take time from work to go take care of one’s mental health.
Heck, I technically have a full-flex schedule so long as the work gets done, and I still get into the office at 07.45 and leave at 16.30, because that is what has been drilled into me from early childhood.
By building a self-funded, self-employed lifestyle on the other hand, I would be able to schedule in things like trips to a psychologist, guilt free and relaxed in the knowledge that any work of mine can be done later, and the only one who’d loose out if I didn’t get my tasks done in time would be me.
Hell, the added flexibility might even be such a relief to my system that I wouldn’t even have to go see someone. Wouldn’t that be a treat?
We wish to hike more, garden more, do even more homemade cooking and, eventually when we buy our own place, we wish to take our time maintaining it and learning to maintain it, not just contract it and miss out on the sense of accomplishment and pride from being able to take care of our own house and our own lives.
Watching Mr. Frugasaurus succeed at this, and watching my own tiny online efforts pay off has lit such a fire under me. I know what it is like to work all summer, having to stay when my friends travel around the country and meet up with old friends at historical markets all summer. I want that. And I really want to buy a small farm with M. and our respective partners.
Not just because I want a small farm, or because M. grew up on a farm and has invaluable knowledge, but because we both agree that we work incredibly well together. We easily get 4-5 times as much stuff done when we are together as when we are alone, easily allured by that shiny box and a cat or craft in our lap.
We are just waiting for the right place to come sailing along. With great internet access, so we can keep those online income streams rolling.
I honestly don’t know what better way to try to secure yourself from sickness or crappy job markets than to try to build a (somewhat) passive income stream that you just keep adding on as best you can, when you can.
So when Mr. Frugasaurus asks how I am able to write a blog while working full time, I always tell him it’s because I am fuelled by this dream, and the alternative is to feel stuck and dependent on my employer. Who, however great, is still a dependency, and being dependant on anything has always made me nervous.