Saturday, 18 October 2014

Downsizing and upsizing

A new path
My world is slowly shifting into a new focus. I say slowly because it is still happening. I am learning to live the changes and then wait to experience the difference. The difference might be small at first, and a bit itchy. It might not even be noticeable. And it may be surprising. I have downsized my job. Let’s say this was a half conscious decision. I think I knew I needed to, but I wasn’t very willing to admit it. And if I’m honest, it still feels a bit uncomfortable.

Simple pleasures

The most obvious impact is on my bank account. There is less going in, and as a result there is also less going out. But is my life any different? I can still afford to pay my mortgage. I take my lunch to work and I walk rather than use public transport when I can. I’ve stopped going out for dinner and/or drinks and started hanging out with friends in the park and at markets. I eat lots of rice, pasta and vegetables and search out the specials on everyday items.

Am I poorer for making these sacrifices? No, I don’t think so. Certainly I need to think more carefully how I spend my money. But this frugality is helping me to value things differently. I buy second hand books and clothes. The warehouse sized op shop near me is full of things that people have donated, all priced up and ready for a new owner. It is a treasure trove of unexplored delights. And there is a nice warm feeling of helping the environment by re-using.

Taking time out

The less obvious, and more challenging impact is on my head space and my time. It feels wrong to not be worrying about work, to not be swamped by the latest big project, to not be frantically busy. That’s not to say I’m not committed, I am. But it’s just not so consuming. I walk out on time when I can. I plan evening activities because I know I’ll be able to get there and still have enough energy left.

But these old habits are hard to beat. There are moments of leakage, when I find myself asking questions, and getting interested in other things that are going on. When really all I need to do is just my job, just my job. That’s all they need me to do. In this, I am my own worst enemy.  

A couple of leaks

I have an uncomfortable mix of feelings. A tinge of guilt. A glance of worry. A spark of rebellion. A sniff of freedom. I have a chance for change - to create a different balance in my life. That illusive thing I have been chasing for the last couple of years. So I am trying to breathe through this awkwardness and stretch my new wings into a bigger life outside of work.

Aiming differently

And what better way to combat this, than with a new project. On facebook this week I came across the concept of the 100 day challenge. This can be anything you like, you can design it for whatever you want to achieve. My uni course is soon to finish and there is a nearly three month summer break til next semester. So I’m going to upsize the creativity stakes. The best time for me to write is first thing in the morning, so with the help of the alarm clock buzzing at 5am I am going to roll out of bed, put the kettle on, fire up the computer and endeavour to write 1,000 words. I flirted with the idea of confining this to the travel memoir or a novel but I think right now I just need to get into the flow of writing every day for myself. And then wait and see what happens…