Five months of silence: Where to start?

It’s been so long since I last posted on my beloved blog it was becoming untenable. Either find a few minutes to write for enjoyment or call it a day. So here I am. I am under no illusions I write almost exclusively for myself but perhaps an explanation of the last five months of silence is warranted, if not simply to remind myself that no online activity does not equate to no activity at all, quite the opposite in fact.

There have been a number of monster projects undertaken and milestones achieved lately, on top of life’s usual hectic pace:

  • My regular communications consulting work increased to 3+ days/week (often more, sometimes less) – October 2014.
  • We finished building our new house – 22 December 2014.
  • We moved into our new house just before Christmas – 23 December 2014.
  • Jeff quit his corporate city job and started a new housing, urban design and planning consulting business, Edgefield Projects, working from home – February 2015.

And within each of those simple little bullet points lies a veritable tsunami of work that it only just starting to subside and equalise. Having Jeff working from home full-time is still a novelty and has not been without its hiccups, but we are quickly finding our rhythm. There’s pretty much only upside to this situation, for both of us, but especially for him. He has joyously cast aside the ball and chain of commuting and is loving being able to drop the kids at school; shoot some hoops with Henry in the afternoon; eat dinner together as a family; and work when, where, how and as often as he pleases. It seems like such a simple thing, setting your own agenda and prioritising the activities in your life, yet it’s often so very difficult to achieve.

Finding balance

Jeff and I have held a long term goal of achieving “balance” in our lives. That elusive little word means different things to different people but for us it has underpinned a desire to more evenly split financial and domestic responsibilities for a raft of reasons, which we hope will generate positive outcomes for our family. Some of the simple mechanisms by which we do this also have greater implications for the environment and the community, which is part of our goal, such as:

  • Working from/closer to home:
    • saves up to 10 hours a week not commuting, which is time that can be spent on work or play
    • reduces our energy consumption and bills
    • builds the local arm of our two consulting businesses, increases connections and networks
    • enables us to become more involved in the local community, school, volunteering
    • enables us to spend more time on projects at home, such as the garden, which builds resilience and self-sufficiency, among other things.

Of course, the benefits of Jeff being a hands-on Dad are enormous. The kids are loving having him around more, as am I (for the most part). We still need to find our rhythm on the domestic front. I anticipated that was going to be the biggest hurdle we had to jump. Of course, Jeff doesn’t see any issue there, but he wouldn’t, would he?

It’s early days yet in our new family and financial structure. While things are looking really positive for Edgefield Projects with a number of small jobs already on the books, consulting is a roller coaster ride that never ends. You never know when or where the next job will come from. We are in “claw back debt” mode, and when we are on more stable financial ground I will breathe a big sigh of relief and stop to look around and smell the roses. But for now, it’s heads down, bums up, working on building our businesses.

Our glorious new house

In regards to our new house, there’s little to say other than we are feeling supremely happy and incredibly fortunate. Good design, great natural light, beauty and space – what more could anyone want? Living in it is a transformative experience.

So, what now?

We’ve achieved an awful lot in the last year but 2015 is set to be just as big. Building a new business is no small feat but hopefully the lifestyle we’re trying to create will allow us more time to do what’s important to us and what we’re passionate about. With all that I juggle in my day-to-day life at the moment, that idea seems fanciful. I know I need to learn how to slow down and do less (Jeff tells me this constantly). A Physio, of all people, once suggested I operated on a permanent adrenalin rush, which he said was unhealthy and unsustainable (hence the reason I was seeing him). I often feel that no matter how hard I work, my “to do” list is endless and forever growing. But I also recognise that my “to do” list is self-generated and much of it consists of projects I want to do, primarily in the garden and on our property. So I’m not complaining. I just wish, like everyone else, I had more time. And therein lies my problem and, perhaps, its solution.

I know what I need to do to obtain mental balance, I just don’t know how to do it. Perhaps that’s my challenge for 2015?