THE Creativity Chronicles
Each year I like to have a “word of the year”, sort of a focus word to pull me back to where I should be and keep that focus in mind. This year, my word was ‘calm’ and it has been. Well, as calm as life with a toddler and running a business can be.
But for me, the past decade has really been a whirlwind of climbing ladders, setting up businesses, achieving more and chasing the accolades and when I had my daughter it changed things. Not only did it mean that I had to slow down but it also made me question the priorities in life and the skewed version of success that is sold to entrepreneurs starting out in business.
So this year it was really about introducing more balance and taking more time out to actively pursue calm. This meant more time with friends, consciously committing to yoga and meditation practices, journaling, breathing, reading… sometimes just sitting by candlelight.
Above all, it meant saying no to stuff. Not normally a word in my repertoire, I soon realised that I couldn’t continue to take on every challenge or opportunity I am offered, as honoured as I am to be asked. So I created deliberate boundaries and really made my quiet time a priority and it’s paid dividends in my health and wellbeing. I’ve had to take on less projects but because of that, I’ve had the opportunity to work on more exciting projects and collaborations (because one of the big changes that I made for 2017 was to swap my 80/20 split that was focused on 80% retainer work so that I now do 80% project work and only 20% retainer) and so what was initially a bit of a gamble has ended up being a decision I’m really happy with.
So my word for 2018 I’ve decided is going to be ‘mother’. Things started to change when I had my daughter but the change forced my hand in a lot of ways. I wasn’t prepared to step away from the chaos I had created, I had a busy agency and a non-stop life and she came into my world at the same force that everything else does and with her Mama’s energy and determination. It’s taken me really until now to get a grip on it all (and it’s been a process of losing a lot of things that had to fall away – both on a personal level and a business level).
But this coming year I’ve decided is about being present as a mother, wholly present and in the moment and embracing it. In those early days of having a newborn I can’t believe I was replying to emails, dealing with admin and continuing to be at the helm of my business at a time when I wasn’t really fit to work. But time goes fast and my little firecracker is growing older and I want to witness all that she is and step into motherhood 100%. So this year, I’m dialing back even more and spending more time showing up and soaking up every tantrum and tear filled minute as well as the last of everything. She used to call our dog Appa because she couldn’t say Jasper. When she called him Jasper for the first time a month or so ago I realised that she’ll never say Appa again, that was the last time. I want to cherish every last, every first and every single moment – the good, the bad and the sleep deprived moments.
I’ll always be a writer – it’s been in me since the moment I could pick up a pen (and motherhood if I’m honest I didn’t have quite the same talent for and sometimes I feel a little below par in my mothering skills) but I’ve realised that I love her with all of my heart and that’s enough. And she loves me back – I’m her best friend in the whole wide world (she also tells Appa this but I’m claiming it as exclusively mine) and that’s priceless. So here’s to 2018, here’s to change and here’s to embracing motherhood 100%.