Archives for posts with tag: happiness
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Ben, happy in his bear beanie

Hellooo!  It’s been too long between post, I know.  Winter froze my words.

I’ve been busy with a family full of icky tums and runny bums (TMI?) and some deadlines of my own too.

Here’s a snapshop of my winter, I’m…

Making: Odd craft projects inspired by Mr Maker and my 4 year old.

Cooking: Magic chicken soup to rid loved ones of the lurgy.

Drinking:  Diet Coke again.  I have fallen off my detox wagon, for now.  Don’t judge.

Reading:  Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.  Saw her speak about embracing vulnerability so we can live wholeheartedly.  Inspired.

Wanting:  To get my hands on my brand new nephew, but he’s in Hong Kong.

Looking:  At my photography with fresh eyes thanks to my new student status.

Playing:  With the hepcats this weekend because I am judging the Australian Jitterbug Championships.

Wasting:  Time.  And enjoying every second of it.

Sewing:  Hand-stitched height charts for my sprouting sons.

Wishing:  I was in town to attend the first One Fine Day wedding event at Abbotsford Convent on 25 August.  

Enjoying:  Swing dance classes, after almost a decade off the floor.  Too long.

Waiting:  For our family escape to sunny Queensland, soon.

Liking:  Gorgeous new alternative wedding mag and blog, Hello May.

Wondering:  Why I have not owned flanelette sheets before.  So wonderful.

Loving:  Paton’s new bed blanket.  Now I just need crochet lessons from my Great Aunty Marj!  

Hoping:  To instill my love of theatre in my sons.  Took them to see seven tapping fellas, and one sassy chick, in Hot Shoe Shuffle.  

Marvelling:  At people who get out of their own way long enough to write a book.

Needing:  To see my mum.

Smelling:  A lemon and thyme chook roasting.

Wearing:  A gorgeous MAC lippy called Perpetual Flame.

Following:  The Hoopla.

Noticing:  The blossoms blooming all over town.

Knowing:  The days are long but the years are short.

Thinking:  That I love being the boss of me.

Bookmarking:  99U and LifeHack.

Opening:  Parcels, daily.  Must find some restraint when online shopping!

Giggling:  At my 2 year old’s frequent use of the word ‘actually’. Actually mum, I like pink.  Actually, I am not tired.  Actually, I don’t like beans.

Feeling:  Very content.

The format of this post is Pip Lincolne’s from Meet Me at Mikes.  Some of my other favourite bloggers are playing along too, see Kate Ulman from Foxes Lane (and check out her gorgeous new book, Vantastic).

So what have you been up to?
Cut and paste Pip’s list and let me know where to find your answers.

Writing makes me happy.  

For decades I have paid my bills by writing, in all formats.  Mostly, my prose is presented under a company’s logo or by someone else entirely.  But writing as work made me forget that it’s fun.

Personal blogging is new for me.  Putting my musing out there, in my own name, is leap of faith.  And when I published my first post in March, it was a tentative toe in the web’s water.

Thank you for reading.

I was blown away to see that 450+ people regularly read my ramblings.  Your responses, online and offline, have led to some really inspiring, encouraging, heart-warming discussions.  Thank you, from someplace deep within me.  

I began blogging for me.  But being heard, understood and appreciated has been an unexpectedly lovely side-effect.  

My blog is finding it’s place.

I began this blog without a clear purpose.  But putting myself out there is changing my life.

It’s helping me to clear my head and create, for your consumption.

I am enjoying the discipline of writing regularly.  It has helped me to find routine in my new freelance schedule.  And satisfaction too.

Blogging is helping me to overcome my perfectionism.  I have a million unfinished tasks weighing me down because I want to do them properly.  And this means I actually do nothing way too often. Perfect really is the enemy of good.   

My inner critic stops me all too often, by convincing me that everyone else is more creative, clever, talented, worthy… but bollocks!  I also know that it’s not about the best, it’s about who gets it done.  And so I am aspiring to be a completionist.  And I feel much more accountable knowing you’re on the receiving end each week.

This blog is also an exercise in consistency for me.  I am great at starting things, but not at sticking to them.  I bore easily.  There’s always something shinier that catches my eye and I’m off down that rabbit hole before I’ve wrapped what was underway.  So I am curious to see whether I can stick with this little blog.  Time will tell.

Blogging demands uncomfortable levels of self reflection for me.  Naval gazing has been something I have actively avoided in the past while I glorified busy.  But I am learning that reflection and gratitude are key to happiness.  And I want to recognise joy more often, and therefore chase it less.  

We must stop glorifying busy, for everyone’s sake.

Life’s frantic pace often sees us squishing our social interactions into sound bites.  I fear we’re losing the art of lolling, day-dreaming and in-depth conversation.  

I believe that the explosion of counselling/coaching services in recent years is a direct reflection of our inability to make time to really listen to each other day-to-day.  We are now paying people for their attention.  Bit sad really.

This blog is a way for me to share my learnings in more than Twitter’s 140 characters, a status update, or a coffee break worth of chatting.  A kind of free therapy I guess.

I hope it helps you to slow down too, even if only momentarily, and that it makes your heart smile.

Great breakthroughs, inspired art, real progress, and happiness all require us to be still, tune-in, reflect and be grateful.  And this is bloody hard when our task lists run to multiple pages and we’re spreading ourselves wafer thin.  

My new (financial) year’s resolution is one post per week, for a year.  

Let’s see where that takes us.

It’s noisy out there (WordPress alone has more than 63 million blogs!) and so I am very grateful that you’re reading my ramblings.  

Thank you.

 

On my 36th birthday I realised I had everything I had ever wanted.  Cue mid-life crisis.

It’s a nice problem to have, I know.  And yet a quandary none-the-less.

Now what?

I am achievement addicted.  I love the feeling of working toward something meaningful – planning, studying, saving, crafting, training, anticipating.  I get more of a kick from the process than the result most times.  And this trait has served me well to date.

But for the first time in my life, I found myself uncomfortably goalless.

I had it all – hunky hubby, gorgeous kids, happy home, healthy parents and successful career.  I should have been ecstatic.  Yet I was not as happy as I felt I could be.  But I did not breathe a word of this, for fear of sounding disgustingly ungrateful.

Then an insightful girlfriend gave me Getchen Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project”.  At first I was a little offended that she thought it apt, but on reflection it was genius gifting by her.  Much of the book is common sense, and it scared me to realise just how far I had strayed from the basics.  I resolved to make this the year I chose happiness.

In my eagerness to please and achieve, I had ended up carrying too much.  As wife, mum, boss, celebrant, photographer, friend and daughter, I made myself so busy that I had no time left to enjoy any of it.  And the stress of my over-commitment was manifesting in unwanted kilos around my waist too!

So I took stock of everything on my plate, and prioritised according to which brought me the most joy.  Then I made the brave decision to cut my job loose.

I’m pressing pause on my career, for now.  Giving myself permission to take a detour.  And making time to truly savour my many blessings.

Yes, my bank balance will suffer.  If I don’t adjust my lifestyle our savings will be hemorrhaging in fact.  But I am willing to take that.  After two decades of working I am deeming myself due for some long service leave.

If it sounds like I am justifying my decision, that’s true.  It’s been one of the most difficult I have ever made.  I love working.  And my job was with an awesome organisation, leading a team that I had hand-picked, for a boss I found inspiring.  But it took so much out of me that I had little left to give at home, and I hated that.

Having it all is possible.  But not having time to savour any of it was depressing.  Each week I survived the endurance test, but I was not having fun.  And it was making me feel yuck.

Sharing my decision to opt out has been an interesting experience.  People have told me they wish they could do the same.  You can.  Another working mum lamented the loss of a friend who shared the juggle.  I’m still here.  Others ask, perplexed, “so what do you do now?” which momentarily had me seeking a label for my new way of life.  My answer is simply “whatever I want!”  My father-in-law cheekily termed me “housewife” which is a title I hate.  It suggests I married a house.

I want my new title to be HAPPY.

I have not given up my career to be a mum.  I was already a mum.  I merely quit my job to create more space to enjoy my beautiful life.  And to invest time in being the best me I can be.

At the Big Hearted Business Conference recently, Catherine Deveny spoke about what she called ‘Fuck Off Status’ – that obligation free state where you can do whatever you choose without playing slave to anyone or anything.  Her advice included:

  • don’t have a mortgage or more children than you can manage on your own
  • use public housing, public health and public schools
  • have as few financial burdens as possible, because debt is the biggest barrier to being brave enough to do what you really want.

I resisted much of this messaging at first, but Catherine’s advice has played on my mind since.  She’s onto something.  And it’s sure worked for her.

I like the idea of not buying into the script that has been pitched to us – work hard at school to get to uni, work hard at uni to get a job, work hard at your job to get a raise.

There is another way to live.  All you need is less.  And perhaps choosing AWOL (another way of life) is the ultimate indulgence these days.

Stepping out is not the norm.  And I get that it’s an economic impossibility for many.  79% of Australian mums work, and that figure is growing.  For me, it’s merely a case of timing.  I am willing to bet that my career will get time to shine later.  But my kids will only be little once, and I will never be this young again.  I want to really enjoy now.

For years I have been striving for that elusive “balance”.  But I have finally decided that it’s not something you can achieve day to day.  We need to look at it over our lifetime.  There is a season for it all, and you can have everything, but it’s best not taken all at once.

My decision did not not feel fabulous right away.  Liberating, brave, and exciting – yes.  But it’s taken weeks for me to detox from corporate life.  And a part of me will always be tuned in to it.  I can take myself out of the office, but I don’t take away my professional skills in the same sweep.

Aussie music producer John Watson describes life as a four burner stove. “The burners represents yourself, your family, your friends and your career. True success involves you turning off at least two of those burners, and great success involves you turning off three of them.”

So it’s all about trade-offs and compromise.  I guess all we can do is be clear about what success looks like for us at each point in time.

Last week I read Alex Carlton’s “The Retro Housewife” article in The Age and I wondered if I was indeed the newest “cult of domesticity” recruit.  I have long been an admirer of the Stepford-esque 1950s aesthetic, but I draw the line at aspiring to the associated entrapment.

Inspirational baker and maker Pip Lincolne, responded to Carlton’s article with her take on women reshaping their lives and re-inventing themselves via all things home-y.  Her post “The New Domesticity” is a great read.

Perhaps I am just cementing gender stereo-types.  But I am no less ambitious or capable than I was when I was on the payroll.  I just want to find a way to do it that works for me and my family now.

That said, if I start building a backyard chicken coop or planning home-school lessons, somebody slap me please.

I’d love to hear about the bold calls you’ve made in pursuit of happiness.  Please do share.