Every year on my birthday I like to write an update… one in which I reflect on where I’m at in life… and one I can look back on in years to come and see the progress (hopefully!)
Just yesterday I was looking back at a very old blog of mine (from 2005!) when I discovered that I actually started this practice way back then. (This is where I was last year and this is where I was the year before that!) I definitely encourage those of you who love to write to do this. It doesn’t have to be on a public blog, it can be in a personal diary too. Just set aside one day a year to put your life down on paper or screen.
So where am I this year??
Well, firstly, a little bit late. I had every intention of sitting down on the morning of my birthday last Friday to put down all my thoughts about the day and then time ran away with me and I was rushing around like a crazy woman preparing my home to host some of my most special friends.
It was totally worth it. I invited those of my close friends that could make it to join me for a relaxed Friday morning brunch in my home… making the most of my new open plan kitchen space!
The idea turned out to be an inspired one as I was able to really relax and enjoy the morning. My friends could pop in and out between the hours of 9 & 12 as it suited them (fortunately many work for themselves so they are flexible with their time!) plus no one had to pay! I hate the idea of inviting people to join me for a celebration of my life but then make them pay for their own breakfast. It doesn’t feel right but unfortunately my budget doesn’t stretch to cover them all at a restaurant!! This way I was able to provide everything myself and they just had to show up! I bought champagne & croissants along with some fruit, yoghurt and cheese and good coffee and it was quite possibly the best birthday I’ve had! Such fun! So much in fact that I didn’t take one photo! Oops.
So what else is happening in my home, heart and head??
Home is good. We are loving our space. Every day we sing the praises of our renovations and how we are SO PLEASED we did them. Yes we have a much bigger bond to pay every month but the benefit we’ve been experiencing far exceeds the cost.
A few weeks ago we finally got enough money to put in our wood-burning stove in our living room and it’s transformed the way we live. Every evening my husband and I find ourselves gravitating to sit near it in the lounge with a glass of red wine and catching up instead of heading to the TV room where we’d sink into silence watching the screen. (we still do that, but less often)
Now all we need is a few more bit wintery storms to sweep in across Cape Town (heaven knows we need the rain!) so we can really bunker down and enjoy the hygge (more on that soon!)
Well, the run up to my birthday was actually quite a quiet and introspective time. I found myself feeling a bit melancholy and I wasn’t sure why…
Sometimes birthdays can do that to you, right?
An assessment of where you are in your life and where you want to be can leave you feeling a bit low.
For a few weeks I was feeling a bit friendless (odd, I know, I have all of you!!!) You see I struggled with friends in the early years of my teens and I think it’s still a big insecurity of mine… it shows up more than I care to admit!
In recent years I’ve been far more intentional about reaching out to friends and I do this practically by sending them messages or voice notes when I think of them. The problem is that not everyone does the same. In fact very few do!! And then the lies creep in and take over. The lies that tell me that no one likes me, or that they have enough friends, or that I’m trying too hard and actually they’re not really interested…. Oh the lies we allow to destroy our lives!
The TRUTH is that I have lots of lovely friends. The truth is that everyone is busy. The truth is that friendships sometimes do fall to the bottom of our “to do” list. The truth is we sometimes do take our girl friends for-granted. The truth is that I mustn’t believe the lies!!!
And then my birthday, filled with love and joy and laughter and precious people, happened. And my heart was filled to overflowing again and I was reminded that my life is full of friends. I needed that reminder!
I have been wondering if this “blogging” thing is actually a real career after all. I mean is it really going anywhere. Does it have a future? Will I still be blogging at age 50?? I still don’t have the answers but the headway I have made is to start thinking of myself as more of a writer or an editor… both of which are most definitely careers that have a future and that will sustain me into retirement! Now I just need to find ways to grow these areas in terms of my experience and find opportunities that will be good additions to my CV (do people still have those??? I haven’t updated mine in FOREVER)
Another big question going round in my head was whether to dust off my CV (or start from scratch) and head out into the big wide world of full-time jobs. My kids are that bit older and happy to be at school doing sports for most of the afternoon. We definitely could be saving more money if I was to be earning more money.. but then maybe we’d be spending more too!?
This thought has been going round and round in my head.
So I sat down to write it all down in a “mind map” to make some sense of where I’m at.
Full-time job vs Freelance lifestyle
What would you pick given the choice??
Full-time work has the perks of more money and a chance to build a career (given that I have another 25 working years ahead of me, if not more). The downsides are traffic, stress, a boss, limited leave, less time with my kids.
Freelance lifestyle gives me the exact opposite of the list above. Yes I get more time with my kids, flexibility, less stress & traffic and the ability to work from anywhere in the world! BUT I don’t feel like I’m growing a career or a savings account.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only mom in her
mid late thirties to be thinking this way.
Way back when I was in my early twenties and trying for my first baby I always thought I’d love to be a stay-at-home mom. Then that happened and I realised that it was FAR more hectic than I had imagined so I quickly found a way to be around as much as possible but to also have a break. An office admin job for 3 mornings a week. This morphed into 2 half days and then one full day a week before I found something that I could do from home – and have been doing ever since (alongside this blog)
Over the past 6 years my blog has become more and more of a mini-business for me and finally I can say that I’m earning pretty well from it every month. Not a full-time salary but definitely more than most and definitely very welcome considering how many YEARS of my life I’ve spent building this platform up.
So here’s my conundrum. If I go back to work full-time I may have to sacrifice this blog (and all it’s amazing perks) But then I’d be able to BUY the perks for myself – makeup, travel, stuff.
I’m still not 100% convinced either way but I think by putting this all down on paper (and now here) my choice is more obvious. What would you do???