Today has been a lazy day, mostly because I’ve been toddler free!!! My lovely in-laws came for an overnight visit yesterday and decided to take my eldest daughter Billie back to their place for a couple of days! She loves spending time with her Nan and Pop so there was certainly no resistance from me. And with my hubby away at work and a very cruisey six month old to contend with, today has been a day of doing very little except taking the time to reflect upon the past year and do a bit more planning for 2015.
Usually my morning routine sees me lying in bed on my phone for 10mins, reading through some of my favourite blogs and checking out the news before I get up for the day. But with the holiday festivities I’ve fallen behind in my reading so after packing Miss B in the car and waving goodbye this morning, I pulled out the laptop and got up to date! And in doing so, I came across the list of questions that Kelly over at A life less Frantic had posted before the New Year and thought it was a perfect place to start my reflection. So here’s a recap of my 2014 and my thoughts for 2015!
1. What word do you think best summed up 2014?
Varied. For me, 2014 was surreal and the way I started out the year was far removed from the way I ended it. 2014 began sans celebratory drink. Not just because NYE normally sees me in full work mode (I coordinate our local community NYE celebrations), but also because I was 4 months pregnant. Another bubba was joining our family in 2014 and that alone guaranteed that the upcoming year was going to be an exciting one. Work was also crazy busy! Early in the year I was juggling some strategy development stuff as well a massive undertaking in bringing triple j’s One Night Stand to town. Months of running around at the start of 2014 culminated in over 18,000 people converging on the banks of the Murray River for a music festival the likes our regional town had never seen! And at 8 months pregnant at the time of the event, I experienced elephant sized cankles, many many late nights and a brain that did not stop churning!!! So it was a relief that afterwards, there was a little bit of time to wind down and get ready to meet our second daughter Asher, which we did in June.
Six months into life with two little girls and it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve experienced some pretty profound moments. Having kids does that to you I think, but one of the biggest surprises during my second maternity leave was acknowledging the grief I still have for my mum who passed away from breast cancer nearly 17 years ago. A whole new perspective of her has opened up to me as I navigate my way through motherhood without her. It’s been a big trigger for setting in motion some of the reflection, assessment and realisations that I’ve had throughout 2014! 2014 ended with a family outing as a spectator to the event that I normally coordinate. We were planning to come home after the family fireworks but got home about 10 mins before midnight so we watched the fireworks on TV before putting the kids to bed. A really awesome end to a fabulous 2014!
2. What did you do for the first time this year?
For the first time, in a very very long time I unpacked my dreams. Since the birth of my first daughter Billie in 2012, I had been toying with the notion of writing. I love writing and was good at it at school and Uni however after years and years of corporate writing I hadn’t written for fun in years. Whilst on maternity leave in 2012 something inside of me began to rebel and I really started to notice how stifled I felt; how my mind was constantly screaming at me to sit down and just let loose. But I resisted it.
Second time round though, I stopped and actually took the time to try and understand what my writing dream was about. When I really interrogated how I felt about my few half hearted attempts and false starts, I realised my issue was more about what was going on in my head than anything. I was embarrassed at my arrogance in thinking I could be a writer. I still am embarrassed if I’m honest, but I’m working on it and trying not to use it as an excuse. But if nothing else, 2014 was the year that I realised that my dreams were complete achievable… if I stopped overthinking everything and invested in chasing them.
3. What is one thing that happened that will have lasting consequences?
Aside from the physical aspect of having another child, this maternity leave has given me some much needed thinking time and helped me to evaluate and prioritise what I want out of life. Of getting to know my mum through the lens of being a mum myself with two girls, like she was. Of letting go of the fear and seeing a way forward to living a life more deliberate and fearless!
4. Was there anything you wish you’d done differently? Why? How?
I don’t do regret – never have. Are there things I could have done differently? Absolutely. Do I beat myself up about not doing them differently. Never. The way I see it is that the decisions you make in life lead you to the now. And there’s good reason why you are here right now so there’s no point lamenting and wishing about things that have already occurred. Deal with it, learn the lesson and move on.
5. Do you have a favourite moment from the year? What made it special?
There were two key highlights for me in 2014. Obviously the birth of our second daughter was a monumental moment for us. A very quick and quite dramatic labour (which only a 10lb 11oz baby that gets stuck can provide), Asher’s arrival is actually a stark contrast to the cruisey, laid back smiley girl that we enjoy everyday!
The second moment was the triple j ONS event. From watching the streams of teens race for the front of the stage as the gates opened, to standing back stage and watching Illy and Vance Joy perform the finale. I may have shed a tear or two that day, but I blame pregnancy hormones. (Oh, and my name in the credits on the ABC TV special was a very big SQUEEEEE moment – despite it being spelled incorrectly – lol!)
6. What lessons has 2014 taught you about yourself?
One thing that I’ve become very aware about myself is that I’m an all or nothing kinda gal and over the past few years that’s translated to all in my work/community life and nothing in my homelife. Well, not nothing really. What I mean is that I am all over my work responsibilities and work my arse off to deliver, but that it’s often to the detriment of things like the housework, our budget and being present in the moment when I am at home! I’m usually so knackered that being at home is where I just stop and breath again for a second.
Those that know me assume that I’m highly organised in all areas of my life and think that am very planned in my approach… ha, ha, ha! Smoke and mirrors my friends! But what I have realised is that in order to make the myth a reality, I need to put in some effort. After all, if I can pull off some of the things that I do with a fly by the seat of my pants approach then imagine what could happen if I made a bit more of an effort to retrain my thinking and become more deliberate in my planning and organising of my life… Wowsas!
7. How will the lessons from this past year change the way you approach the new year?
Living life more deliberately and less fearlessly is something I pondered a lot about in the second half of 2014. Not just for my job and my family but for my own dreams and goals too. For me, 2014 made me realise that I don’t live life very deliberately. I am the master of winging it and projecting a great façade on the outside but it’s a very reactive and exhausting way to be. That, coupled with an element of fear that’s been creeping into my thoughts (as discussed in my post yesterday) has really made me realise that this approach has really held me back from even beginning to chase down the dreams I have.
This blog is the perfect example. I’ve wanted to blog for years. In fact I set up a blog way back in 2007 in the lead up to my wedding and because I couldn’t get it right straight away I got rid of it – I’d rather not have anyone one see it than show something that I didn’t consider perfect – whatever that is!!! And that pattern still exists – despite some planning over the past six months, I’ve been so hell bent on having everything perfect NOW that I’ve stalled and procrastinated my way to complete and utter inaction. Not anymore! This time around I have a new focus and motivation by incorporating old dreams with some new ones. Not only is this new blog about me and working towards some of my writing goals, it’s also about my girls and the legacy that I’ll leave for them. A part of the fear that I’ve been harbouring the past two or so years is a fear of my girls not knowing who I am. Of not knowing my dreams, personality or perspective about the life we’ve created, especially if something should happen to me and I end up not being not around before they’re old enough to formed their own idea about who I am. Of course, I’m not planning on going anywhere just yet. But if something should happen, I’m hoping that they won’t get to my age and wonder about who I was as an adult and not just their recollections of me being ‘Mum’.
So this motivation, plus the fresh start to this New Year has given me the permission I needed to say to myself “I’m going to do it anyway”. Despite the fact that I haven’t got my blog logo finalised or finished my business plan, I’m gonna do it anyway! And even though I am completely aware that my writing is so horribly clunky and isn’t anywhere near polished enough to write the posts I want to write yet (which need to become much much shorter!!) – to that I say, too bad, I’m just going to do it anyway!
8. What do you most want to do in 2015?
Write. Write this blog and use it as a platform to exercise my creative writing muscle. Hone my skills and re-train myself to be able to switch between writing the briefing notes, strategies and reports that is a requirement of my job and being switching it up to be able to take a germ of an idea and craft it into something that I would enjoy reading for pleasure. That for me is the goal of this year. Or should I say, a goal of this year… phase one if you will. Phase two? Actually telling people that writing is a dream that I’m focusing on this year and saying it out loud… (SO FREAKING SCARY!). You, my non existant audience out in blog land, are the first to know!
9. What do you most want to change about yourself? The world?
I really want to slow my brain down this year. To stop thinking the million trillion thoughts that swirl around in my brain and start acting upon them. Or more specifically getting myself organised and creating the environment to support a more deliberate approach to life in 2015! I’m hoping that not only will that be a positive change for me personally, but that it’ll change the way I look at the world too. It’s becoming more and more obvious to me that we are living lives so fast paced and full on at the moment and not taking the time to focus on the things that matter. I know that there is a real movement of people who are making the deliberate choice to stop, take stock and rein it all back in. I’ve been watching this with interest for a long time but had never stopped to figure out a way for me to do the same. 2015 is the year!
10. What one word do you hope will sum up what you hope to achieve in 2015?
Surely I’m not the only fake it til you make it type out there… c’mon spill, how is your new year shaping up so far???