Celebrating how far I’ve come

A friend shared these words by Seth Godin on Instagram yesterday.


And I was reminded of the very first time I read them. It was around the time I wrote this blog post.

Go ahead – have a read and see what my days used to look like. I’ll wait.

Suffice to say –  I was stressed out of my mother-loving mind and two months shy of a complete breakdown. It was during this period I read something from Seth where he talked about being on holiday. He was checking his email at the hotel and caught people staring at him with pity, thinking how sad it was that he was working while on holiday.

Seth however didn’t think it was sad. He thought it was awesome he loved his work so much he had zero problem doing it whether on holiday or not.

Far out – that blew my mind at the time. What I would have given back then to have work I wasn’t trying to escape from.

Well … fast forward three years and you know what? I am just about there. In fact, screw that. I am there. I love my work life (actually all of life) right now. Sure it’s busy and sure it’s not perfect (because what life is) … but I am pretty bloody happy and whenever I go on holiday somewhere, I want to take my work with me. I know this may make me sound like a workaholic but it’s quite the opposite. The line between work and play is now really blurred for me in a pretty awesome way.

My clients are unreal … and for the most part have become great friends. I love the mixture of stuff I get to do every day.

Yes I’d rather not attend any meetings or do any admin, but hey, this isn’t Utopia you know!

So what am I trying to say here?

I guess I’m trying to say that it’s easy to just give in and accept that life is hard, will always be hard and that’s just how it goes. That’s where I was three years ago. I’d kind of given up trying to make things better because I’d decided ‘better’ wasn’t possible.

But it was.

We all have something we’re trying to escape from. For me it was work because essentially, it was killing me. For others it’s toxic people or heartbreak or financial stress.

I understand that some shitty things (like illness) can’t be engineered out of our lives.

But most things can.

And the best place to start is with the belief that things can be better.

I’ve been in that situation of despair. Of no belief. And it was awful.

It was a place where I thought ‘what’s the point/life’s too hard/maybe it would be easier to take myself out of it’.

It’s been years of really hard work getting through that to the other side. Two steps forward, one step back. Two steps forward, three steps sideways. Constant vigilance and management to ensure I don’t slip back into old patterns and ways and fall back down the rabbit hole.

And the thing that stops me slipping is belief. The belief I now have that life can be lived on my terms.

That belief is what makes me resilient, helps me through the hard times and makes me super appreciative of the good.

It’s funny – I was at a breakfast a few weeks ago where Michelle Bridges said when you want to make change in your life ‘it all starts with belief’. At the time I thought to myself ‘no way, it all starts with knowing what you want.’

But actually now I can see Michelle was right.

It really does all start with belief.

Thoughts? Am I just peddling aspiration porn here … or do you think we really all do have ultimate control over our destinies?

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  1. says

    I hadn’t seen that quote until you posted it yesterday, but I connected with it immediately… I wrote about the same thing in January after my Christmas holidays when I realised that the life I had been living during my holidays was the life I wanted to live full-time:


    Of course, the good thing for me is that I know it won’t be long now before I achieve my goal. I’m extremely fortunate and lucky in that respect.

    Unfortunately I’m not sure if everyone has this opportunity… while it’s encouraging and inspiration for people like us to wave our hands and say “Hey, look at us – we’re living our dreams” I’m not sure if everyone can achieve that – we’re both lucky to have an element of privilege to our lives — and there’s nothing wrong with that — but not everyone will have the opportunities to pursue their dreams as we have…

    But — I do agree that people need to live lives that are meaningful and fulfilling — and everyone should have the chance to do that — but I wonder if it’s a realistic choice for everyone – I suspect it isn’t…

    Sorry — I’m not trying to sound down or dismissive of this post – I get it – I understand it – it’s something I think everyone should aspire to – but what do we say to people who have to live unfulfilling lives and work in jobs that bring them no joy, not because they want to, but because they have no other choice?

    • says

      I have updated the post now :) I hate the thought of peddling inspiration porn!

      I guess I just wanted people to know that if they’re living a life they just want to escape … don’t accept it. Things CAN be better. But sometimes we get so caught in the cycle of ‘this is just how things are meant to be’ that we forget we have more control over things than we think.

  2. says

    You are proof that if you’re willing to work hard – even at not working hard – you will get there in the end. Change is possible and we are all able to build the life we imagine if we really desire it. x

    • says

      I really really believe this. I am hope I am right! I know there are a lot of people out there who feel stuck and like they have no choices. And I know that feeling because I’ve been there. But we all have more choices than we think.

  3. says

    Great post Kelly as always! I am still working harder and longer hours than I want to be but I am working towards something that is pretty freaking close to Utopia (ok so there will still be admin).

    It’s following people like yourself that make me believe it is worth the fight to make things better! Thank you

  4. Debyl1 says

    Kelly I love feeling your happy through your words.
    It is contagious.
    I don’t work but I do volunteer and your wonderful life lessons help me so much.
    You should feel so so proud of the incredible woman you are.
    Thank you for sharing and in doing so helping change lives.x

  5. says

    Hmmm! I’m not entirely sure I agree with Seth’s quote. I think even if I was doing what I love for an occupation, I would still want a break from it now and again to recharge my batteries and come back with fresh eyes and and re-energised spirit. I’m not yet living my dream, but I’m happy with my life. I’m working towards what I want to do, but who knows how long it will take me to get there? In the meantime, there’s always holidays…!

    • says

      I definitely know what you’re saying Son. I think what Seth was saying is … Have choices. If you want to go on holiday and get completely off the grid … Do it. If you want to go on holiday and check email or do some work … Do it. Do either because you have the choice to do so and that’s what you want to do rather than because you HAVE to. That’s what freedom is all about for me … Feeling that whatever it is I am doing, it is by choice :)

  6. says

    I think so and know so. We make choices in our lives that affect our destiny,

    I know I made a huge choice almost 20 years ago to finish college after dropping out. Basically, it cost me my marriage and some other things. I look at what I was doing for work back then and even though I was making great money the quality of my life was not great-so I quit, got a less demanding job and went back to school

    The quality of my life went up (love the breaks that an educator gets), got to spend more time with my kids as they grew up and more important became happier in my life.

    Fast forward to 2014 and I see where my life is and I am so happy. More important my kids (from the failed marriage) see what I do for a living and have a vision beyond their little world-a bigger vision that I know will take them far.

    • says

      These decisions are never made easily are they Patrick? It’s a shame we can only look back and know they were the right thing to do. It’s a shame we don’t necessarily know at the time

  7. says

    We all have choices, some more flexibility with their choices than others. I think a lot of the time people are paralysed by the unknown of the choices they have and therefore choose to just soldier on. The choice to take back charge of one’s life is never easy and it is never a quick journey. I’m still getting to where I will be, it’s close but still a while away. Patience and time. And hard work! I’ll get there.
    Good for you Kel, your journey has always inspired me. x

    • says

      I think the most powerful thing in life is understanding the choices that are available to you. And you are dead right Jodes … so many people find themselves paralysed because they think they don’t have any.

      But when you live in the first world like we do … you always have so many more choices than you think

  8. says

    I absolutely love this. Totally perfect. I’m trying really hard to give myself proper weekends and evenings – my partner and I work 24/7 so we have to actually scedule things like that in. Thanks for the reminder!

    • says

      I know it seems crazy/sad to some that people like us have to actively ‘schedule’ downtime … but whatever works right?

      I think we’ve all been fooled into thinking a good life either ‘happens’ or it doesn’t. But this is rubbish. When we let life ‘happen’ to us, that’s when things go awry because we feel we have no choices.

      Choosing to engineer things so we’re happy … I think that’s just smart

  9. says

    I think that knowing the choices you have is great.. and taking responsibility for yourself, not waiting for others to come and sort things out… Recently I decided to get in more help around the house – because I’d rather do about a million other things than washing/folding/hoovering etc etc and because I can. It feels great! Maybe it’s more emotional than anything else…. part of self care?

    Good food for thought in comments. I love what I do – the mothering day job and the writing – but can see that it’s also refreshing to have a break from both. AND I know I need slow time and down time to be let my brain get more creative.

    • says

      Definitely. I think what Seth was saying was not so much ‘create a job for yourself you don’t want to escape from’ as he was saying ‘create a LIFE for yourself you don’t want to escape from’. I love that idea

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