Given I have spent the last oh, eight months or so making some fairly comprehensive changes to my life, I am finding myself faced with this question on a fairly regular basis:
So, what exactly are you doing with your days right now?
And it’s not people I have just met that are asking this question, it is good friends. So in the interests of keeping y’all in the loop, here more than you need to know about what I am up to these days!
Firstly, to know how I’ve gotten to here, it’s worth re-capping where I have been …
Where I have been
After studying Human Movement (Sport Science) at the University of WA, I graduated in 1998 with a BSc. I worked for 18 months as the Sport and Recreation Officer at UWA Sports before realising that while I loved sport and health & fitness, these were not industries I wanted to work in. I’d always had a love of design and was already self-taught in many key programs so, encouraged by a graphic designer friend, I decided to re-train in Graphic Design and Multimedia.
Within one month of finishing my new studies, I secured a graphic design position with a marketing agency. I worked with this company for nearly six years before resigning in 2006 to start my own business, Swish Design.
Over the next five years Swish Design grew steadily from being just me to where it is now, a vibrant team of five. In August 2011 I succumbed to the dual stresses of running a business while filling a role that had become a little soul-destroying for me: all client relations and no creative. At this point my totally awesome husband assumed the role of General Manager and sent me home to rest and recuperate.
That was eight months ago, during which time I have constantly battled stress and that part of me that is hard-wired for ‘doing too much’. It’s been quite a process but amazingly where I am now is where I have been striving to be my whole life. Despite being quite a driven person, all I have ever wanted from life is this:
- Financial security – I have never wanted to be ‘rich’, I just want to have money in the bank so if the washing machine breaks down and needs to be replaced, it’s not going to rock my whole world.
- Quality family time – This is not just the ability to spend time with Ant and Jaden (and also the wider family), but also to be ‘present’ when I am with them rather than constantly distracted and vague.
- Time to do stuff I love – things like reading, writing, running, seeing my friends (again, without being vague and distracted).
- Lack of stress – is it possible for a highly driven person to live a life where stress levels are kept under control? Who knows – I guess that is the experiment I am conducting right now!
See those four things? Amazingly I am ticking them all right now. Before you get too jealous and start hating me, believe me when I tell you it has taken ten years of ridiculousness to get here. I still find it hard to believe that everything I have ever wanted from life, I have got it right now as it’s always seemed like such an impossible dream.
With that in mind …
Here’s what I am doing these days
I am honouring the introvert in me – the part of me that likes people, but can’t spend my whole day around them as I find it draining! I am working pretty much full time hours, but from the comfort of my lovely, peaceful study at home:
- I am doing business development for Swish Design
- I am slowly building a name for The Smile Collective and trying to get my prints stocked in shops around Australia
- I am doing the odd design job here and there – just enough to satisfy that particular creative side of mine
- I am doing a little bit of editing work
- And I am doing a fair bit of writing – for my blog, the Swish Design blog, the I love pretty things blog, the Women in Focus site and Swish Design clients.
What I want to be doing
Well … all of the above of course! I’d also like to do a bit more freelance writing for magazines (online and offline) and naturally, being a writer, I think there’s a book in me as well
I am trying to be smart about it all. Trying not to revert to type and overextend myself. Will I succeed? We shall see shall we?!
What about you?
Are you right where you want to be at this stage of your life? Or are you working towards a particular life goal, one you feel is within reach? Or somewhere else entirely? I’d love to hear about where you are at in the comments.
* Image from here.