I had always thought that by this age things would be a lot more settled in life; that I’d have a good income, somewhere to live with the one I loved and possibly a mini me or two. It’s probably the cliché ideal that we all imagine when we’re young and naïve; the belief that everything in life follows a certain path and along the way we’ll always know which decision is the right one at every crossroads.
To avoid a 3000 word dissertation or a preface to my memoirs; I’ll skip to the chase; most of those reading this will know how the story goes anyhow. The deviation from “the plan” probably started around the time I was 16; I didn’t follow the conventional routes but eventually got the whole university experience and degree under the belt. The next step was hitting the ground running into the perfect job role; with the perfect work-life balance. I eventually found that the best way forward at the time was doing what I loved as a freelancer, and for the last few years I’ve become pretty comfortable with it. I’ve gotten used to keeping an eye out for new projects; it’s almost become second nature to constantly take on new challenges and assignments. There’s also another weird trait that you develop too – you never seem to switch off; the mind starts to think about the next task or project, it’ll plan your evening and the next day, for you, without you consciously asking it too. I quickly (& quite easily) became enveloped into the idea of living to work as opposed to the other way round.
Over the course of freelancing, I’ve discovered a few home truths about myself: some were pretty good and some not so much. I learnt that stepping out of my comfort zone isn’t as scary as I thought it would be. That sometimes I might be a bit blunt in the way I say things. I’m an early sleeper and an early riser; I’m not really very productive after around 10pm and waking up at 6am doesn’t faze me in the slightest. I can be quite bad at making decisions. I’ve thought about this one the most and have almost put it down to some sort of mismatch with the whole brain-gut connection; where my ability to over-analyse things always seems to win the fight in rationalising decisions. Or it could just be in the genes (my mother is awful at making decisions – cue “The Wall” story from the renovation of our old house – I’m sure it’ll crop up again on this blog somewhere). And finally, that sometimes I can be a little impatient with myself; for some reason I’m pretty hard on myself about not getting to where I need to be quick enough.
The decision making is one that bothered me slightly; I know it’s not necessarily a bad thing (unless, of course you come face to face with a man eating predator and can’t decide whether fight or flight is the right way to go. Nope, I can’t really decide either :S). In fact, it just might have worked out as a good thing for me in the long run, Actually, come back to me about this in a year or so and we’ll see if I still feel the same!
The patience thing is another of the big ones. Somehow when it came to my own ideas, I developed this need for instant gratification (thank you G, for the introduction to the Stanford marshmallow experiment!). This need that told me that what I wanted should all happen simultaneously to in which the desire arose. Most recently this became the need to fulfil the desire of being creative; of using my three years of training to create an amazing new collection that would blow me away; it didn’t matter that I had no time to fit in this abundance of new work. I would make time! My passion would fit in around my freelance projects and it would happen. 2014 was the year in which I was going to do what I was made to do; after all there was no way I was going to turn 30 without starting my own new venture.
Then, something completely unexpected happened – I got offered one of those 9-5 positions with a little bundle of benefits attached. It took me a little by surprise; and made me sit back and take a closer look at the situation.
I concluded that I was tired; a little tired of always being “switched on”, of working late into the evening, of constantly being on the lookout for the next project. I’ve missed catching up with my family, of making the most of my weekends, of popping out to catch a movie.
Maybe, just maybe, this was exactly what I needed right now. Maybe, without me even thinking about it, the universe aligned in a way that I never expected and handed me the one thing that was missing from my life at this moment – that little bit of routine in terms of my work and career; so that I could focus on reviving that inkling of a social life that I used to have (and hopefully use a little bit of my free time to finish off my snazzy, new built-in platform bed!).
The whole situation coincided pretty well with another (slightly dreaded) moment of my life. I always thought I would hate hitting the big 3-0. It would be the moment that I would suddenly feel older (even if I didn’t feel much wiser), where I would feel the need to leave behind the moments of silliness and become serious all of a sudden. I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready for any of that.
But then this little change made me see everything in a new light. That life isn’t about with how many years have passed; but more to do with appreciating where I am and who I’m surrounded by, recognising what I’ve gained so far and accepting that what I’ve lost has enabled me to get to this point today.
Over the last week, I’ve realised that this moment for me has almost become the start of a fresh chapter in my life – the word new seemed to crop up a lot and stuck out to me more than anything every time I thought about where I was going next. So for the start of this next chapter, I think I need to capitalise on that – what the next “new” thing will be I’m not so sure – maybe I’ll start with a dramatic new haircut or something simple, but moving forward from now, I’ve learnt that everything doesn’t need to happen overnight– you may have a little bit of a wait but in the end things will come to you exactly as and when you need them.
P.S. there’s a few more posts to come soon! Keep an eye out for my elaboration on the “the plan” 🙂