‘Can I just talk while you listen and see if what I say piques your interest and makes you curious to find out more?’
This is how it all began. I listened, whilst sipping a cocktail, as my friend outlined an ambitious and exciting plan for developing a business and it seemed that there may be a place in the middle of this for me!
At that time I was working as a primary school teacher and senior leader in education, and had done for most of my working life. I loved my job for the majority of those years and most of the time couldn’t quite believe that I was being paid to do it. Nothing is better for the soul than being around inquisitive, excited, young learners who are all about ‘Why?’ and ‘What if?’ and who’s next adventure, is always just around the corner.
I had started to wonder though… wasn’t there more out there for me?
I was desperate for a new chapter to begin and for the opportunity to rediscover my creativity. I just couldn’t imagine walking away from my well paid, if stressful and time-consuming job. Taking that leap into the unknown was daunting to say the least.
What could I do? What could I be?
My job had become a part of who I was and there were a million ways to convince myself that I should wait for a ‘better time’, and anyway I was too busy ‘doing stuff’ to make escape plans. Apparently, this is called ‘the hamster wheel syndrome’ for obvious reasons and I was well and truly on that wheel.
Then, a few small things happened and I finally had my light bulb moment. Well, if I’m honest, I had quite a few.
I was sent a link to an article by Alastair Humphreys called ‘Deciding to change the Direction of your Life'.
According to Alastair, the key to change...
‘...comes down to boldness. Later down the line you certainly need resilience, optimism, motivation, curiosity and ambition. But that all comes later. To get started, you simply need to make a bold step towards where you want to be. There’s never a perfect time. You’re never as rich, prepared, fit or free as you’d like to be. So you just have to get on and commit to changing the direction your life is going in.’
My next lightbulb moment came one weekend in February 2018.
My daughter booked me onto a weekend photography course as a Christmas present and I spent a wonderful, misty, Wirral weekend at Shore Cottage Studio (which happened to be one of George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces). The days were spent exploring with my camera and discovering the capabilities of my new close-up lens.
I had the best time I’d had in years and came away with a real sense of pride in the small portfolio of photos that I had put together. I learnt a whole new way of looking at the world, and had become even more certain that I needed a big life change – a change of focus.
A few months down the line I was lucky enough to go to ‘Murmurations’, the #makechester talks. I sat a little open-mouthed as I listened to the speakers who were so excited by their projects and full of energy.
Who were these folks? How did they find these opportunities?
Thinking on this is how I came to my next lightbulb moment. I was chatting to someone over lunch telling my tale and explaining how desperately I was looking for the escape tunnel. His reply… “Don’t talk about what could be, just do it!”
So that’s exactly what I did.
When I found myself sitting outside Kansas Smitty’s pop up bar at The Good Life Experience listening to my friend buzzing about future dreams, plans and opportunities, I made my bold step.
I am now the ‘newbie’ for the first time in more years than I’d like to divulge in this, rather public, forum! I am learning the ropes as studio co-ordinator at Raise Architects. Two months in and I’m hearing a whole new language – CDM, PDRs, Toggl, Trello, Asana, Slack, Pocket, Marvin. Each day brings new challenges but I am enjoying the ride.
Being able to ditch the melange of paper work that came with my previous job has been a joy. I have started setting up my creative space at home (name yet to be decided) and things are happening.
Working alongside a group of interesting, creative, enthusiasts has really woken me up. Who knew that I would find myself explaining in great detail to my family the wonders and mysteries of different brickwork bonds and the science of gutters and drain pipes!
I think I’m hooked.
I haven’t felt this excited about possibilities for a very long time.