My apologies for the lack of life insights… I’ve obviously been rather busy.
When I started this series I had hoped it would be a monthly occurrence, but I have to face the fact that is just not going to happen. Every quarter would be a good goal. I’ll try harder!
Anyway, what’s the latest in my life? 18 months is a LOT to catch up on. Let’s just do the past 6 shall we?
Well, probably the biggest change in my life has been that I’ve started working full time. Yip. 9 – 5 (well, more like 7:30 – 3) I was offered a short term contract as Digital Editor on an amazing travel magazine and it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. So I took it on in November. Not the easiest time of the year to start a job, and never the easiest to do so after 13 years of autonomy! I LOVED it. Everything about the job was perfectly me and I feel into it very easily.
Sadly, five months in my contract ended and the position moved to Joburg, leaving me looking around. Incredibly I discovered that I actually really enjoyed working in an office, having a regular routine, colleagues and purpose.
Yes, the change was drastic and my emotions around the change were wild, but I pushed through and I’m so glad I did. Now, almost three months after the end of that first contract I find myself on another (longer) contract in the same company. Working in the digital content space for a client.
It’s been ANOTHER massive change – I’ve been thrown way out of my comfort zone of travel & lifestyle and thrust into the medical space (which has never been on my radar) – but I’ve surprised myself.
I won’t lie. There have been some really hard moments, but overall the experience has been really good. I’ve grown so much. I’m learning about “work” for the first time since 2005. I’ve learnt how to handle change, colleagues, clients, traffic, working motherhood etc. I’m still growing. I’m choosing to use this incredibly opportunity to grow as much as I can. I’m so grateful. The money helps 🙂
Now you may wonder why I would “give up my blog” or my freelance lifestyle for a full-time job? It seems counter-intuitive and goes against what most people want to do with their lives these days. I can say that I’ve actually found work to be refreshing. I think sometimes we need to force ourselves to do something completely different. Yes, it may feel really hard. But that’s where the growth happens.
Life isn’t meant to be comfortable and carefree all of the time – if it was we wouldn’t appreciate the comfort and freedom when we got it!
Fortunately my transition back to working full time has been made infinitely easier by a few dynamics that I’ve been lucky enough to have to hand.
Things that have made going back to full time work easier
- My hours are flexible. I get in earlier than everyone else, and I can leave earlier. This helps me to escape the afternoon traffic out of town (you have to leave before 3) and allows me to fetch my kids after their extra-murals.
- I discovered podcasts. These have made my daily commute FAR more bearable. I will share some of my faves in a future blog post!!
- I take the scenic route. I have 2 options to get to town. The highway or the windy way. I take the windy way. It weaves through the trees, forests and along the mountain. It’s glorious at this time of the year. I find myself appreciating nature much more when I drive this route and I feel that is always a good way to start the day – with gratitude.
- I listen to my favourite radio station or pop on a worship CD and enjoy some solitude during my commute.
- I have arranged secure parking near my office. For the first few months I had to park on the $$$$ street. I’m so grateful I have a set spot that is reserved for me and I know my car is safe and I am only a few steps from my vehicle if I need to rush off for a kid.
- I can work from home when I need to – helpful for sick kids. Interestingly I initially negotiated I would work 2 days from home per week. Now I don’t work from home unless I need to. I actually find I far prefer the buzz in the office. And I’ve realised you miss out on the team building, last minute meeting and desk chats (and cake, sometimes)
- My husband is supportive of my decision. He tries to help me where he can with the kids, but ultimately they are still my day-to-day responsibility. I’m hopeful that he will pick up more of the slack in time… but I know he will in an emergency.
- I have grannies available for emergencies. They aren’t pulled in on a permanent child care basis, but if I need a last minute pick up due to rain cancelling sports matches when I’m still in town I can give them a call.
- I’ve got a GREAT team. I work with some awesome humans. They make work feel like a fun place to be. We laugh a lot. My manager is supportive and the company I work for really do try to encourage a great culture. I’m grateful as this has made the trauma that is starting a new job far more bearable.
- I found a fab lunch time spot… for the first few months I battled along with bringing lunch to work or grabbing a sandwich. Now I’ve discovered the highlight of my work day – a little hole in the wall cafe that sells the most incredible healthy food. It’s not cheap as chips… but it’s far healthier than chips. Everyday I head across the road excited to see which salads are on offer and then I head back and savour the flavours.
- Now that I’ve found my feet, I’m finding ways to improve the role and gaining confidence in what works and what doesn’t and how I can contribute. It’s great to feel like you’re adding value and I appreciate this about the role. It may not be my “dream job”, but knowing I’m making a difference and doing it well makes me feel satisfied that I’m in the right place.
- I opt for super easy evening meals and I’ve found in busy weeks that it is much easier to outsource a daily task I find frustrating… cooking! I now order meals from a local lady who makes these Mon – Thurs. All I have to do is show up to collect and then warm it up. It may be a bit more expensive but in my books it’s TOTALLY worth it.
- I’ve hired someone amazing to help me out with all the bits I’m not getting to on my blog and it’s been a revelation. Having less time means I’m having to say yes less… and it’s really helped me to streamline my focus and choose to collaborate, attend and feature only things I really resonate with. I’m so grateful for Emma who also has a great business approach to my blog and is removed enough from it emotionally to treat it like the business it is. It’s been awesome for me to shift my blog back to being something I love to do, rather than something I have to do. And Emma’s continued to ensure it makes money which is amazing.
Aside from this MASSIVE change in my life I’ve also had a fair share of other events take place in the last few months….
My best school friend was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and has undergone surgeries and chemo and more surgeries over the past 6 months (all while mothering a toddler and a baby under 1) I wish I could have been more available to support her, unfortunately with my shift in my work set up that hasn’t always been possible. But she has been on my mind constantly and I’ve been showing up in the ways that I can.
My parents have found out they are moving into a retirement village and they are selling up the family home and downsizing in preparation for this big change in their lives. I’m trying to be as available as possible to help my mom especially with all the transition. I want to keep things as stress free as possible for them… so that often means making it more stressful for me. Hello 100 forms to fill out!?
My son is approaching high school and the first half of this year has pretty much been about one topic: “Where are you sending your child to high school?” Aaaaarggghhh. This conversation has been endless. It comes to an end today (7 June) when we find out where he has been accepted. It’s been an agonising process of open days, forms to fill out, interviews and entrance exams. I’ve been trusting for the right door to open, but now, the night before the big reveal, I’m feeling terribly anxious about it. I have extreme jaw pain from my late night teeth clenching… Hold thumbs for us will you?
And lastly, some good news, tonight we leave on our VERY FIRST international family holiday! This trip has been about 10 months in the making when we first booked our flights to Italy on a whim one Saturday night (some wine may have been involved!) Since then we’ve been saving frantically (hence the full time job!) to be able to afford the rest of the trip. We’ve got accommodation with friends for approx 10 nights, and then we’ve hired a car and will be exploring a few famous Italian towns with our kids. Ben requested Rome for the colosseum, Abi requested Venice and Brad’s keen on visiting as many wineries as possible. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Italy twice before. I’m returning to everywhere I’ve been so I’m not expecting anything new and exciting which is how I usually like to travel. What I am expecting is being able to enjoy the whole experience with my kids – from stepping on the plane, to tasting gelato, to seeing the Vatican. I can’t wait to see things through their eyes. I’m also quite keen to slow things down and see things at their pace. I’m know for racing from one site to another during our trips, often leaving Brad breathless, I’m looking forward to discovering a slower pace of travel. I hope I can do it!
If you’re keen to find out where we are and what we’re up to follow along on my Instagram @becomingyou
Finally you may have noticed these lovely photos of our family… They form part of a photo shoot I arranged with Shelagh from African Light Photography to celebrate my Mother-in-law’s 70th birthday.
It was a lovely day with the extended family, beautifully captured by Shelagh’s eye. I’m so grateful for every family photo we have ever done and these ones are particularly lovely. (And for those of you wondering – we paid for these and even paid for the photo book we made too!)
I hope you enjoyed my little life catch-up. Thanks for reading this far – on this post and this blog! I appreciate your support along the way. Please keep reading and sharing and commenting. Thank you x