Looking to the Future…2016

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Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. – Carl Bard

When I was in my twenties (I’m in my forties now) I had a revelation of the person I had become and I didn’t like it. I had allowed situations and circumstances to shape my character.  I allowed past hurts and disappointments to rule my emotions.  I was not happy with myself or the life I had created.  So I embarked on a year of intense personal growth and I like to think that my marriage was saved because of it.  Almost twenty years on, we are still going strong. That’s not to say that we haven’t had problems, but I can honestly say that I love him more today than I did when we married.  But we wouldn’t have the strong marriage we do today if I hadn’t chosen to change.

I’m a big believer in branding, and not just for corporations.  When big business develop a brand, every decision they make must serve the brand.  Anything that weakens the brand is tossed out and only things that build and strengthen the brand are allowed to survive.  I took this same approach with my personal life.  I sat down and looked hard at myself and decided who I wanted to be as a person and what I needed to do to become that person.  I worked really hard to ensure that my thoughts, actions, behaviours, responses and reactions worked together to help me build the person I wanted to be.

It wasn’t easy and sometimes I wanted to just give up.  People around me didn’t seem to be working on their behaviour, others felt that it was okay to be mean and rude and treat me like crap and sometimes I just wanted to forget everything and lash out at them.  But I wanted a better life and I knew that to achieve said better life, I needed to change.  For myself.  To make me happy.

I honestly believe that if I hadn’t made the changes to my life and my behaviour all those years ago, my marriage wouldn’t be where it is today.  In that year of personal growth I made firm decisions about who I wanted to be and the type of person I wanted to become.  It was one of the toughest years of my life as I wrestled with my demons, but I came out victorious.

Looking back over 2015 I realise that dealing with depression, anxiety and grief has caused me to regress somewhat. Not entirely, but enough to know that I am not happy with who I am right now.

Don’t get me wrong, my marriage isn’t in trouble and I’m not suddenly an awful person, but I have lost some hard fought for ground and I want it back. My therapist tells me that when our stress tanks are full, our brains revert to our ‘caveman’ or ‘toddler’ brain and for me that means that all those lessons I learned are no longer automatic for me.

It’s understandable with the year that my family and I have just come through.  I would have to say that it has been the single hardest year of my life. I have suffered more panic and anxiety attacks than ever before, I was diagnosed with depression and have been grieving the loss of a close family member.  On top of that I’ve had to come to terms with being diagnosed with a chronic illness which has impacted every area of my life.  So to sum it all up, yeah, 2015 was crap.

It is very easy to want to give up.  I am unashamedly an introvert and my instincts tell me to lock myself away and never venture out into the light of day, but that is not practical and it won’t solve anything.

The very first lesson I learnt in my year of self discovery was that I have a choice.  I get to choose my behaviour, I get to choose how I am going to react to any given situation.  It was quite an eye-opener when I finally understood that I don’t need to just let life happen to me, but that I can actively participate in it.  That I have choices and don’t need to sit around and wait for things to come to me.  I was practically giddy with the knowledge.

I lost sight of that this last year.  Having a panic attack tends to make you feel that you have no control, no choice.  One of my goals this year is to take back control and to once again give myself a choice.

I want my life back and I am determined to embark on that journey this year.  I know it won’t be easy, but I also know that when I look back I will be thankful for doing it.  I also hope that maybe some of the things I learn will help someone else.  As the quote above says, I can’t go back and start again, but I can start from today to ensure I have a brand new ending.

So let’s do this!  2016…come at me!
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2015 – Make it Count

Make it Count

Happy New Year!

It is January 1, 2015 and I am doing what most people are doing…I am looking back.

I had high hopes for my 2014, there was so much potential at the beginning of the year and I decided I would grab it by the short and curlies and run with it.  We had so much to look forward to – our eldest son had just gotten married, we had two thriving businesses, our youngest son was chasing his dreams in the UK and we were looking forward to being empty-nesters and pursuing opportunities that we missed by having children so young…our life was good.  I wrote a bucket list of the things I would like to achieve in the year and I set to with gusto. But life had other ideas.

My 2014 was not the year that was promised to me in those first optimistic blushes of sunrise on New Year’s Day…my 2014 is a year that I wish had turned out so differently – from near devastating financial issues to the absolutely devastating loss of our daughter-in-law – my 2014 was not the year I thought it would be – but it was life and I lived it and as much as it was painful and horrible, I would live through it again if I had to.

I wish with all my heart that things had turned out differently.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish that Kari-Lee had not died – I would do anything and everything in my power to stop that from happening, but if I had to live last year again – without any changes to the outcomes – I would, because those precious months with her are like pearls of great price.  Her life and her death has taught me so much and forever changed me.

Last year I wrote a list of things I wanted to achieve during my 2014, twelve things in fact, and of the twelve I only achieved three, but that is ok.  It is ok because at least I tried.  We often look at life as destinations and milestones rather than looking at the journey as a whole.  Kari taught me that.  She taught me to appreciate every breath, every step, every attempt.  She lived with the knowledge that her life had an end date that was a lot sooner than most, but she didn’t let it stop her.  She took risks and never let an opportunity pass her by and she never let fear stop her from living. That is what I want to do too.

It won’t be easy.  My family and I are still in the grips of grief and we struggle daily with the hole in our lives, but I don’t want to give up on living.  I don’t want to let this next year slip by without appreciating what I have got – a chance to live – and I want to make it count.  I want to make Kari-Lee proud as she watches from her window in heaven.  I want to have a life that at the end I can say, “I did it all.”

This is a song by One Republic that we played at Kari-Lee’s funeral.  This song captures the essence of Kari’s life.  This is my theme song for the next twelve months – maybe for the rest of my life.

The End…(not really)

31 Days of Blogging – Day 31

sometimes

 

So it is day 31 and, well, I would like to say that I have achieved my goal to blog everyday this month, but I didn’t.  It started out well, but two weeks in the wheels fell off.  Maybe I was too ambitious or maybe I was just ill-prepared, but for whatever reason, I failed.  I feel a little bad about it, but in the grand scheme of life, it is not all that important.  Although I failed to achieve my goal, I did learn a whole heck of a lot along the way.

  1. Blogging everyday is hard – I’m not an overly chatty person to begin with, but I have a very robust inner monologue and I thought that would be enough to get me through…it wasn’t.
  2. Quality beats quantity – Sure I could write down everything that goes on in my head, but there is a reason it stays in my head and doesn’t come out my mouth…internal filters.  Not everything that my inner self says should be broadcast to the world…most of it is crap
  3. Be prepared – It takes a lot of organisation and a reasonable amount of time to write a blog post – well to try to write one that is worth reading.  I wasn’t prepared for the amount of time that it took to write and edit and post.
  4. You need to be in the right head space – there were some days that my brain was so overwhelmed with the things going on in my day to day life that there was just no more room for anything else.

So at the end of 31 days I can say that I did enjoy writing the posts I published, but maybe I was a bit ambitious.  My husband and I run two cafes and are trying to get a cold brew business off the ground as well, so maybe blogging every day was asking a bit too much.  I’m glad I started it, I’m glad for what it has taught me about myself.  And I intend to keep writing it…just not everyday.

The End 🙂

31 Days of Blogging – Days 19, 20 & 21

I know I haven’t blogged for a couple of days, I really don’t have an excuse except to say that I have been so totally exhausted that I haven’t had the brain capacity to blog.

This time last year we were preparing to go on our first ever overseas holiday…a cruise.  We went for 7 days and visited Lifou & Vanuatu.  We were meant to stop in New Calendonia as well, but due to an unfolding series of events, our departure was delayed by eight hours and we had to give it a miss.  We had planned to go again this year, but our son got married (yay!) so we have post-poned it.

But anyway, since it is nearly a year since we went, here are some photos for you to peruse…

the-deck

 

mohito

 

openocean

 

elephant

 

sunset

 

lifou

 

vanuatu

 

vanuatu2

 

Ahh…well that was a nice little day dream…here’s hoping the next holiday won’t be too far away!

Building a Dream

31 Days of Blogging – Day 18

dreams

 

I feel so bad…I didn’t blog yesterday.  The day just seemed to get away from me and then by the time I remembered, I was already in bed and far too tired to do anything about it!  So I am going to blog twice today to make up for it.

I sometimes feel that I am being spied on and although I have a very active imagination, this is not a paranoia thing.  It is actually like someone can read my mind or overhear my conversations. I am really getting sick of it.

I have always said that I am an ideas person…I am always coming up with ideas for new things to do.  My dad was the same.  I remember as a kid having a discussion with him about how to go about making an airbed out of the bladders used for cask wine.  He had it all worked out, the only drawback was the noise.  Anyway, that is a bit off track.  My problem is not with coming up with the ideas, just ask my husband, I am always chewing off his ear with an ideas.  No the problem I have is making them a reality.

When I get an idea, the finished product is very clear, what isn’t clear are the steps to bring it to fruition.  I can get quite obsessed about something, like this time I came up with an idea for an iphone app.  I created a working excel spreadsheet (that I use all the time for work) that I want to make into an app so that it is at my fingertips, but the whole process of creating an app eludes me.  I have googled it, but haven’t found much to help me and to pay to have it made is really expensive…so how do I make it happen?  I don’t know and so it sits on the backburner.

But again, I am off track.  What has this got to do with thinking that I am being spied on?  Well, it’s like this…I come up with an idea for a new menu item at work and before I know it, I see an ad on TV and they have stolen my idea.  Don’t laugh, this has happened to me too numerous times to think of it as coincidence.  And there are other things too, like my idea for the Big Pineapple.

The Big Pineapple is a local tourist attraction that went into receivership and subsequently closed.  It sat unused and unloved for a really long time, the site for sale.  I had a stroke of genius to reopen it as a local market.  Here is my idea that I wrote down so I could prove it was my idea first – The Future of the Big Pineapple. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the money to make this a reality but someone else did.  The Big Pineapple is now a market…not quite the way I imagined it, but none the less, someone made my dream a reality before I could.  I am really over this happening to me.

Last night, it happened again.  Gav & I have been cultivating a boutique range of cold brew coffee.  As you can see in previous posts, we make it and bottle it ourselves and then sell it in our shops.  We have been looking at ways to expand and were thinking of doing a market stall.  Last night I received a text from a friend showing me someone who has just started selling cold brew at the markets.  ARGH!  That was my idea and someone stole it!

So, you tell me, am I being spied on and my secrets being sold to the highest bidder?  I just want to know, when will it be my turn to build my dream?  I have some really brilliant ideas, but due to lack of funds/knowledge/time I never get to make them a reality…I really want to make them a reality.  I really need an investor, someone who has the things I lack to make my dreams come true.  Anybody out there willing to invest in a middle aged mother who is just trying to have a go?

Don’t Forget the Why

31 Days of Blogging – Day 16

love-letter

Today I spent about nine hours trying to rebuild one of my websites…it was very disheartening.  While I was searching through files, I came across the above quote and it made me stop.  I have been feeling very overwhelmed lately by all the “behind the scenes” aspects of our businesses and had forgotten why I was doing what I was doing.  This quote made me think about the reasons I wanted to own my own business and the reasons that I get up at 3am to bake cakes and make cold brew.  I had lost sight of the why.

Knowing the why doesn’t relieve the workload, but it does make it feel like it’s not for nothing.  My day today felt like a complete waste of time…I am not all that much closer to having my website back up than I was this time yesterday, but reading through these points gives me the motivation to keep going.

One of the reasons I wanted to own a business was that I wanted to be able help people.  Owning a cafe may not seem like a very good way to help people but it does.  We are in a position to employ people, give young people an opportunity to learn a new skill and an income while they’re at university.  We have a tip jar in each cafe that supports a sponsor child (for each cafe) and I like to think that we can bring a smile to our customers day.  We also dispense a legal drug (caffeine)  which helps to make peoples days better.  But I want to do more.

Worldbuilders is an organisation set up by one of my favourite authors, Patrick Rothfuss.  This is an example of what I would like to achieve with my businesses…we are not there yet and I’m not really sure how to get where I want to go, but today has reminded me of why I do what I do