As we come to the end of yet another year, I always like to take this quiet period to reflect on the year and what I’ve done with time I will never get back. In reflecting, I’ve come to realise that in so many ways 2015 was the year of choices for me. I say this because this year I have truly been enlightened by just how much choice and control I have in my life.
There are many times in my adult life where I would sit and wallow in my own self-pity. Picking my life apart and in general just hating all the little bits of it. I’m not healthy enough. I work too much. Clients stress me out. I hate the politics of cake world. I am a crap decorator. People look at me like there is something wrong with me when I say I don’t want children. All I do is travel and I don’t even get to enjoy the home I had just moved into. I can’t have a dog because of my lifestyle. You get the point… the list went on and on. And especially when we start to pick on ourselves, we spiral downwards FAST. Some things I brought upon myself personally, others were created by external people. And then I came to a realisation…
I had the choice.
I could choose to be healthier. I just decided to let work get in the way and use being busy as an excuse for poor eating habits. And as a result I was getting sick all the time. So I made the choice to walk more, eat better and really look after myself when I travel.
Clients stress me out because I had too much on my plate. I was travelling and taking orders at the same time. The answer was easy: I had to choose. Did I want to travel and teach or take orders?
I did not have to be a part of or even know about the politics of the cake world. All throughout this year, one of the best things I’ve ever done is started unfollowing a whole bunch of people on social media and this extended personally as well. I unfollowed businesses who used to make me cranky when I read their rants, people who used to post about every nanosecond of their life and people who frankly, I have not seen or heard from since high school and who I have no plans to really stay connected with. Why did I really care what those businesses or people did? I asked myself, what was I really getting out of letting them be a part of my life? The answer – stress, crankiness, envy and sometimes a little eye rolling. All of which is not making me a better person or business owner.
So what happened after they were gone? My newsfeed has been filled with stories and information from people and businesses I really care about. Plus I no longer get agitated when I check social media (it’s funny, how before, when I was getting agitated every time I checked social media, I STILL kept doing it!).
Ok, so I know I am not a crap decorator. But some days when stuff is just not going the way I imagined, I like to slap myself in the head with that statement. In any case, I have the choice to make myself a better decorator. I could join more classes, do more research, practice more, etc. There are lots of things I could do. And best of all. I had the choice to do them.
There is just something that happens when you tell people with children that you don’t plan to have any. I would say about 99% of the time a look of shock and then pity crosses their face. Some of the responses I have gotten include:
“But why? They are so rewarding”
“It’s important to have someone look after you when you are older”
“Well, I just think it’s a waste (of genetics) if you don’t have children”
“Ah! Well, you’ll change your mind”
“Why not? Why not? Why not?”
“You don’t know what you are missing out on”
“But… aren’t you getting pressured by your family?”
Those are serious quotes. I am not making it up. And for the longest time, it used to bug me. It used to make me feel like my choice was not a valid one and somehow I was less of a person because I had made that particular lifestyle choice.
But then one day, it hit me. I still had the choice. I had the choice to not let those comments affect me and I had to choice (mostly) to also cut the people who were making me feel like a lesser person out of my life. I could not control what other people did but I sure as hell had the choice on how it would make me feel. I had the choice to ignore the comments and instead change the topic of conversation instead of trying to explain. Because sometimes explaining to certain people is like trying to tell a two year old they can’t have any candy. “But whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhy?!?!”
All the travelling I was doing was self inflicted! And as a result from being away from home so much I could not get a dog (which I’ve always wanted). But you know what? I had to choice to not travel. I was the one who always agreed to. So this year, I learnt to say no. I admit it was so hard to do. Because in my case saying no to travel was essentially saying no to $$. But you know what? I was determined this year to not burn myself out, to go back to really loving what I do and to get that dog. I was the only one who had the power to make it all change. After all one of the pleasures of being your own boss is that you get to call the shots and say when to stop. Unfortunately for myself, I was a terrible boss to me.
So my point with all these things I was beating myself up for was that a choice was present in all of them. I am lucky enough to be living in a place and time where I do have the luxury of choice and perhaps you are too. So I think we owe it to ourselves to use that luxury.
Remember when you were a child and a teenager? You were told when to eat, where to go, when you could have the car, etc. Didn’t you sometimes hate not having a choice and sometimes even resented it?
2015 has been a year of choices for me and I’m slowly starting to let go of worrying too much about what other people think. I have never had a better work life balance and never been happier. Maybe it’s all part of being what people call a grown up 🙂
I encourage you to actively make choices and use the luxury you have been given. I promise you, it’s hard in the beginning because you might feel you let people down or may offend them. But if you choose yourself first and make yourself happy, trust me, those around you will benefit too 🙂
I just want to take the time to thank you all for your continued support and to wish you a very best start to 2016!