Today, for the first time in my life, I fell off a horse.
I'm not a terribly experienced rider; a family friend taught me to ride about 15 years ago, but I never took professional lessons, and it turns out there are some things — rather important things — our friend didn't teach me.
In any case, Panama freaked out and bolted today when I was riding him. My first response was to grab onto the pommel, which my trainer said tends to make them only run faster. Then I tried a one-rein stop, but a little too late — I was already starting to fall, and when Panama broke free of that and started running back to the barn (we were in the pasture behind it) I fell off.
Luckily we still have a lot of snow on the ground, so I had a relatively soft landing. Even so, falling off a horse wasn't as bad as I had expected. I'm actually relieved that I fell off today, because now I won't dread it anymore.
Of course, I made sure I rode Panama again before the end of the training session. For one thing, I didn't want him to think he could get away with bolting on me, and for another, I didn't want to allow myself to develop a fear of it.
Writing about falling off a horse, and getting back up on again, made me think of my current situation with work. I've worked through most of the holidays, but with a relatively light load — in other words, only doing what I had to do, whether for deadlines or income. However, today is back to business as usual: Michael is back at work, and won't be allowed to take any time off in January. Meanwhile, I need to get back up to speed if I want to be able to make my fourth estimated tax payment on January 15th.
Getting back to work after the holidays is always difficult, but I think it's also important to do so. Just like falling off a real horse, if you don't get back on again quickly, you start dreading it and putting it off. And since self-motivation and self-regulation are vital qualities for freelancers, we simply can't afford not to get back up on that horse again.