Just a few new year’s resolutions…

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while (and paying attention, I know, rather a big ask) you may recall that I’m not a fan of ‘giving things up’, it doesn’t seem like a terribly positive way to live one’s life.  I try to take something new up for lent each year, for example.

Now we have the start of 2014, a chance, possibly, to wipe the slate clean in some areas, to start afresh, make new plans, change bad habits.

With all this optimism and the appeal of instant betterment, the temptation to make lots of promises to myself that I’ll have forgotten before the end of January is still quite strong, but my first resolution is to resist that very temptation.

Instead of aiming for a shiny new me (possibly also thinner, fitter and perkier, more energetic and more successful) before the end of January, I am going to change (change, not give up) or start one thing each month in 2014: here are the first few, I want it to be a dynamic list, not a static one, so I plan to update/change as the year goes on.

So, here’s my attempt number 1:

January – organise myself: set aside time in my diary for trips to the gym, shopping, time with friends etc as well as work and make those appointments immoveable;

February – join a yoga class and attend without fail;

March – research and book an Easter holiday in the sun;

April – celebrate my birthday in style with the people I want to be with rather than conforming to family expectations/peer pressure;

May – join a dance class and attend without fail;

June – to be continued 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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2013 has been quite a year, roll on 2014 :-)

So, 2013 was the year I started my own business – after years of saying I could/would never do such a thing and about 6 months of telling people I was about to do it.

It’s been amazing.  Amazingly exhilarating while at the same time incredibly scary, heartwarming and eye-opening.

Having now tried it for all of 10 months, I would take my hat (and possibly a few other garments if you were to ask really nicely) off to anyone who manages to stay self-employed and solvent for any period of time.

Barring any great disasters, the business is now self-funding and even paying me some money when I have the nerve to draw some out…the number of people I have to thank for supporting me to this point is not quite endless but too long to keep your attention: it includes friends who have trustingly become my client (in some cases without actually asking for a “mates rates” discount on the fees), clients who have paid be early, my mum who offered me an investment of what she could afford which is my company’s emergency money, not to mention many, many people on twitter and other media who have offered kind words of encouragement, occasionally keeping me from total despair 🙂

In other news (to use that well-coined phrase for the last time in 2013) I got myself off the anti-depressants, injured myself skiing (thankfully not permanently – although I would not recommend getting one’s face in the way of a button lift), and became a Finance Director.  A bit of a mixed bag but I am rather liking the rollercoaster of endless opportunties tempered by (again) the blind panic when things just don’t seem to be going in the right direction.

Personally/romantically, things are as complex as ever – probably the subject of another blog…

In summary, am in a better place than this time last year…physically as am near the seaside and emotionally ever so slightly more well-balanced.  Thank you to everyone reading this – if you are one of those who deserves a big hug for your contribution to my 2013, hopefully you will realise and cash it in at the appropriate point in 2014 🙂

 

Everything changes…and that’s a fact: a musing

Title courtesy of that great philosopher Meatloaf…blog post content by me.

As another birthday approaches (no, I can’t believe it, either) I can’t help reflecting on how my attitude to life has changed over the last couple of decades.

Looking back, as I was growing up, I assumed that the aim in life was to get it right and then stay there. I had an idea (largely unarticulated, even to myself) that once I had “got there” or “made it” I could stop striving, metaphorically put my feet up and cruise for the rest of my adulthood.

It took me a really long, long time to realise that life really, really doesn’t work like that.

Unfortunately I spent quite a long time – particularly in my 20’s and early 30’s) getting increasingly frustrated that I hadn’t “got there”.

As time went on, I became increasingly unsettled that I seemed to be losing sight of where or what “there” was.

And it took me even longer to realise that “there” kept evolving anyway. And even longer again before it hit me that living the same way for the rest of my life would be boring at best.

Of course, some people seem to know exactly what they want: they have clear goals from a young age, work towards them and achieve them. Looking from the outside, what the rest of us don’t see is the times they try something and fail, then try something again, maybe slightly differently. We don’t see what those people might give up along the way and what they might wish they could change. We just see the shining, successful exterior which matches with what we thought they always wanted.

By contrast, I grew up accepting the received wisdom (largely from my parents) that what a reasonably bright working class girl needed to do was to work hard at school, get good qualifications and get a good job.

Then to succeed at that job by er, working hard.  (There seems to be a theme here).

I assumed that at some stage I would get to a certain level of prestige, income etc at work at which I felt comfortable, and then I would reap my reward.

Instead, work got harder and harder, expectations increased…I started to realise that life isn’t really like a mountain where you climb and climb until you reach the top.  It’s more like an Escher painting where a great deal of striving uphill can get you back to the same or almost the same place, or possibly somewhere totally unexpected.  Life isn’t a linear progression, it’s more a series of vistas, some more delightful than others, some rather less so but all new in some way.

Of course, in some ways, working that out was the easier part…what to do about that new realisation?  If there was no longer a need to spend my time focusing on a pre-defined (albeit imaginary) goal, what should I be doing, and what had it all been for?

I’m not sure I’ve worked out the answer yet, but I have made some radical changes…I’ve moved from the city to the middle of the countryside; and after over twenty years of full-time employment I’m trying out self-employment for the first time. After years of being office based, I’m now working from home. Relying on the work I can generate as an individual rather than being part of a much bigger machine.

Although I have spent some time setting out my goals and ambitions for the business, I don’t know where this will take me…but I do know that I’m learning and growing and wherever the journey ends I should have some fun along the way.