The time of year’s fast approaching when we look back on what’s been achieved in the previous 12 mths… and what’s not.
But this year’s even more special, we’re heading into a new decade, so let’s reflect on what we’ve achieved over the last 10 years – you’ll be surprised just how much you’ve done, I know I was!
Sometimes we’re hard our selves, not really taking in just how far we’ve come, focused instead on what goals we’ve not yet reached.
That feeling like time’s running out affects us all at times.
Reflecting on what we have achieved is empowering & encourages us to reach for other goals.
When I look back to 10 years ago, we were living on the Central Coast, yearning to live in the country.
Somewhere along the Mediterranean belt, so we could grow grapes, make wine, keep sheep for cheese making, have a diverse farm & earn our living off our land.
With the vision that I’d create my wares in my studio on our property & continue to sell locally & globally…
All this within half a day’s drive of our current location so we could easily visit family & friends, stay connected to the network of people who’d become important in our lives over the previous 10 years.
Several weekend getaways exploring country towns, what they had to offer, Brendan (hubby) applied to teach in the public school system… which is how we ended up in Yass.
Yass ticked many boxes for us… so we packed up our life & moved, within 9 weeks of our first visit to the town.
We rented on farms to get the full country life experience & saved as much as we could to buy our own property. Not knowing the area at all, we spent every spare moment exploring our new surrounds to find the right property for us.
Many hurdles & learnings later we finally bought our little cottage on the hill…
As first home buyers without a large deposit we had to settle on 2 acres rather thank 200… still, it was ours, and we could use the land to grow our own food… diverse farming commercially, would have to wait.
Isolation set in…
I’d experienced isolation living on the farms we rented on, but here in our beautiful little cottage on the hill it was amplified, working from home alone to earn an income doing what I loved, using my skills & resources, handcrafting my way to earning a living.
The next big goal became – moving my business into town!
Post Graduate Studies…
While it wasn’t necessarily on my major life goals list to further my formal education, happy with just a Bachelor in Visual Arts & Design, but the thought of opening up a business that was much bigger than just me working on my craft, establishing a creative co-working space to reduce isolation for other professional creatives in the region became important to me.
Creating a space with an incorporated retail store representing others, along with an integrated workshop area so I could continue to make & sell my wares.
The vision for this business seemed far more complicated than I felt equipped to create on my own… leading me to post grad studies in Collective Entrepreneurship.
Surprising myself, by achieving many high distinctions throughout, and national finalist of a global business planning competition, up against MBA students… keeping in mind I was not an academic, merely focused on creating a business that solving a problem in our rural location.
I’ve since followed up with completing numerous other courses & readings to refine my knowledge & skills in all things business.
Bricks & Mortar Store Opens!
Expressing the excitement to see my dream becoming reality, isn’t easy, there really are no words…
First with our little inception space & now into this magnificent building on the Main Street of Yass.
I’ve learnt so much over the last 32 months…
Been tried & tested…
Delighted & disappointed…
But I can say with all my heart, this has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me personally & professionally.
Ten years ago I would’ve never thought I’d be where I am now, by now I expected we’d be living & working on our property together.
Life had other plans, we can’t always predict the path we’ll take to our goals.
Many years earlier in a life goal conversation with hubby, I expressed a desire to one day have a space that harnessed traditional skills & offered a community opportunity to thrive professionally with those skills.
I wanted it to be a place of learning, for people like me who finished school, opened the newspaper & couldn’t find any jobs that remotely represented their interests or skills.
Very quickly I realised I’d have to create that job for myself, which is why I became a photographer.
Way back then when we first married almost 23 years ago, we also dreamt about living in a rural location growing grapes, making wine, having a farm… with my photography studio on the property where I’d fly people in be photographed.
But again, life doesn’t always take the path you think you’re headed down.
There are bends, hills & bumps to navigate along the way adapting to the situation you find yourself in is so important, making the most of opportunities that fulfil a need at the time & for the future.
Which is why there’s so much value in looking back, recognising what’s been achieved, the ideas we have in our heads don’t always match the reality of what’s possible in the current situation we find ourselves in.
That doesn’t mean we’ve failed it, just means we’ve had to take in account all factors.
A life shared with other’s is more complicated than living alone, but there’s so much more joy & fulfilment from sharing our life with others.
Having a husband & children means their needs & wants play a part in the bigger picture of what’s achievable too… communicating what’s important to us is key to working towards everyone feeling fulfilled.
Restructuring & Reinvigorating
While we’ve not managed to buy & establish a diverse farm, yet, we have in the last year restructured our finances, reducing our ongoing personal expenses & put time into reinvigorating our veggie patch.
Which not only makes us feel good when we’re out digging in the dirt, it’ll also allow us to eat more off our own land… plus, we have other plans that will lead to a small scale commercial operation relating to growing & tending to our patch.
When I list those achievements one under the other, with a few extras added… I could in fact add more, but won’t for simplicity sake… the list looks like this:
- moved to the country – started completely from scratch building a new support network.
- bought first home & farmlet, establish a very large veggie garden.
- completed post grad studies & continued to fit in learning among all other commitments.
- opened a commercial space not only for me, but to share with others.
- restructured (which was a mammoth task) in order to facilitate further growth & opportunity.
- increased yoga practice to every day, to improve health & well being.
- mentored others in building their professional identity.
There have been many bends & hurdles to navigate through out these last 10 years but there’s also been so much satisfaction.
Over the summer holidays I’m planning to get the whole family to list their personal & our collective achievements from the past decade… celebrate these achievements…. and then plan for future goals going forward.
I’d like to encourage you to do this too.
Take out your journal & your favourite writing implement, mines a natural timber HB pencil which feels so good gliding across the stock of my journal of choice.
- Write a list of what you’ve achieved over the last 10 years, every little thing you can think of, it can be as small as reinvigorating your veggie patch or as big as completing formal studies.
- Put an * next to the unexpected achievements, those that came about simply by responding to a need at the time, then write down how much this has improved your life/situation. Having a commercial space in town for me not only reduced isolation it’s increased my productivity & revenue, it’s a much more efficient use of time then travelling to trade, which I did love doing but it was no longer sustainable for us as a family.
- Write down things you’d really like to achieve that are important now, in your current situation, it could be to achieve financial freedom or being able to allocate time to working on your creative career.
- Write what this looks like to you, free write, just let it flow… think about how you wish to spend your days.
- Write what you think you could do to get this underway, it could be as simple as buy & read that book you’ve been thinking about for ages.
- Invite your family to do this for themselves & collectively, what are your family goals going forward?
The value in writing things down is, it frees up your thinking, once you initial thoughts on paper, more thoughts flow through & you unlock the treasure that lies in the depths of your thinking, the treasure being answers you already have inside you, as to how to reach your goals, you can do it!
It may take longer than you hoped, but time will pass anyway so why not spend your days reaching for your dreams rather than living in regret that you never really gave it a go.
Being the last post for 2019, I’d like to say a heart felt thank you for reading my posts. I hope they’ve helped you in your journey creating a life you’re passionate about & would love to hear from you if you have any stories to share about how they’ve helped, inspired or enlightened you in any way.
After Christmas we’re taking a few weeks off to rejuvenate & prepare for another year of living a life we’re passionate about.
Wishing you a safe & merry festive season, enjoy the treasured memories you create with your loved ones & be sure to take time out for yourself to reflect on (& celebrate) your achievements.
Ps. See you back here January 16th, 2020!