I realised today it was time for an update, you know if you are crazy enough not to read your Suger News every week (gosh!). A few things have been happening for us, and I’ve been dealing with a few things personally that are impacting the way I create things. So given that you’re my community, I’m going to bring you up to date. All part of returning to more of a personal blog feel, right?
Just. Post. It.
If you’re into such things, excellent!
If not, sorry this happened to you, go about your evening.
Firstly, I need to warn you that this is going to be a big one. I started it with the plan of putting it up Monday, then that became Tuesday, and well, you can see where this is going. Maybe head to the loo or grab a snack (not both at once) and come back to settle in. Well, I hope you will because, to be honest, it took a while to put together, and there’s nothing more depressing than no one reading those types of posts.
But, enough of the guilt trip. Let’s get started, shall we?
Let’s get the struggle out of the way. But, at the same time, this year has held so many great things for me that sort of made room for one of those age-old questions. What am I doing with my life!? What do I do about the fact that I’m 35 and don’t really have a purpose or a goal to live into. What the heck am I going to do with my life?
I’m having a bit of a who the heck AM I style crisis.
Lately, writing hasn’t come easily to me. Which is uncomfortable, because something I’ve always done is write. Maybe, I mused, it’s because I’m not sure what I want to say anymore. It’s hard to know what to say, never mind how to say it, when you’re not even sure IF there’s anything that you want to say. Not to sound dramatic or anything, but the well us dry, and that’s because I’ve just been bumping along making do. Without a purpose and without somewhere to get, I’m not sure who I am anymore.
There’s nothing that stands out for me as something that interests me or drives me.
I work, I sleep and eat, and I do it all over again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work, and my clients are the best. But I mean ME. THIRTY-SIX year old me. Not the woman I was five years ago, or fifteen years ago. Who I am now, and what matters to me now? What do I like??
When I first started blogging in 2009, I was the girl who loved stripes, hated My Family Stickers and who was always strange misadventures with Hubby (yes, I called Kel that then, I’m sorry) and the fam. Sure, those things still hold true, but not in the same way. Do you know what I mean?
I mean, who doesn’t hate My Family Stickers?
My siblings now how families of their own, as do most of my cousin’s. We don’t drop everything to hang out like we used to; it takes the planning of military operations to make it happen. Not the point, but it’s indicative of how times change. By starting to chip away at the things, I didn’t want over the past few years, and I’ve ended up with a bit of a hole to fill. But, on the other hand, all that removing has left some space for me to fill.
And I want it to MEAN something.
Recently I did a course on SkillShare (if you’re a member, search for Matt Bellassai) on writing for the internet, and one of the exercises was to write a list of things about myself. Things such as likes, dislikes, character traits and other such relatable things. You know, child of the 90s, eldest child, grew up on a farm; those relatable experience things and from there, dig deeper.
But, I struggled. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at that page, wondering who I am and how I put that into words. It made me realise that while many things I put on my list are still relevant, there’s nothing there that was discovered or decided recently.
It was all old news.
And I realised it’s time to start to look into what that is for me. Try some new things, see some new places and meet some new people. Ask me when I am doing them, if they interest me anymore or if I’m doing them because I always have. I want to know what I like and who I am again.
If who I am now is the person I want to be, in some form, for the next 35 years of my life. Which could be, let’s face it, the final half of my life. It’s probably a strangely morbid thing, but I guess that this sort of consideration happens to people as they approach their forties. Maybe that is why it was always considered such a big birthday; it’s the halfway mark for those lucky enough to grow old.
With the first 35 years of my life behind me. What now? What do I want from my life?
All I know is that for now, I’m going to put some practice into questioning things and discovering what I like to do now. Not what I think I like or even what I’ve always liked. But what actually makes me happy. From there, I hope purpose shows up, perhaps some new goals and challenges. I’m at a point where I want to discover more about myself as an adult. And that’s what I’m going to do. The first thing I did was dye my hair peach (a blonde-based copper if you skip its trendiness).
And that, my friends, is where I left it a few weeks ago. It’s not as if a question like this gets ‘answered’ in a week. Or ever, for that matter. But then something happened that had me picking my chin up and on with things. I started thinking about making things again. First, taking photos of things that look cool. No matter what. Even if there was no reason to take them, I photographed them if I thought they looked beautiful.
Let’s say; I have a lot of photos of my food.
Then I said yes to a new client that was a bit out of my comfort zone. Trying things that challenge me has always been something I resisted, but I kind of love too. It has given me a boost with my existing clients, and I feel like I have opened a window and let some fresh air in.
We bump along, things looking pretty normal. I wondered if getting all that off my chest in the emails cleared it for me. Maybe it had given me the space to be happy in the searching for something more. So I went back to living life, one coffee at a time, eyes open, looking for adventure…
Then we bought a camper trailer! Haha. Yup.
The week after I declared that I didn’t know who I was anymore, I took some time to reset. First, I caught up on the work that there was to do. Then I planned some things that have needed to be prepared. Finally, I did some things that needed to be done.
In so many ways, I was clearing space for something different to show up. I didn’t know when or how, but I knew the urge to run away from home was getting stronger. It came down to that I need space—some freedom from the conversations in my head arguing over the best course of action for me.
Simple, really, I would run away.
Just as I had done when I was a kid, I’d pack my bags and my favourite people and hit the road. Back then, I was probably less than six years old; I took one of those toys with wheels that make popping sounds, a small backpack of essentials (water and food not included) and my brother. We set off into the great unknown; my parents 400 acres pineapple farm never to return.
Until Dad picked us up at the end of the road where we had stopped for a rest, I’m pretty sure he had been watching from the front window of the house (on the hill) the whole time. We didn’t get far; you know, small legs and all.
And sure, my modern-day adventures may be just as short-lived.
But I want to go places I’ve never gone, do things I’ve never done and go and see stuff that inspires me, which is, in the end, what this comes down to. In my day to day life, doing the same things, I feel uninspired. So it clicked for me that it’s not that I don’t know what to say; I have nothing to say. I’m stuck, not broken, and we’ve all been there at one time or another.
So I started to gaze wistfully at Australian outback scenery and spend too long pondering old beach photos to get printed. Even Kel’s current favourite show, Outback Truckers, elicited wistful sighs. I started reading a new book, full of adventures and far off distant lands. I found my way to classes and movies with people who are discovering (some rediscovering) themselves.
Highly recommend; would do again.
Later that week, Kel arrived home, mentioning that our neighbours were selling their 4WD camper trailer. Buying something like this trailer wasn’t a new conversation for us. It’s something we’d considered buying a few years ago. But with the shine of new adventures in our eyes, of new places and seeing new things, we went to take a closer look.
I think you know where this is going. They say you don’t cut your hair when you’re sad, and you certainly shouldn’t look at perfectly good camper trailers when you’ve got itchy feet. Yet, less than an hour later, I was transferring money out of my savings account to buy it.
Kel and I looked at each other. A little shell shocked at what had occurred. This was it. We were going to get out more. See some stuff. Or, at the very least, make the stuff we love to see more comfortable to visit. You know, probably. Haha. Maybe we just bought ourselves another trailer to pay registration on. Perhaps it will never see red dirt or spectacular ocean views.
I certainly hope that’s not the case.
Because for now, even the inspiration I get from planning some shorter trips and maybe one day a big one is enough. A few of you suggested that I might need a holiday or something to prepare for and look forward to that wasn’t work-related. So let’s say I went big on that one quite unexpectedly. Haha.
It’s been ONE YEAR, almost, since I left my job!
To think that this time last year was when I gave notice at my job and decided that it was time to do my own thing. Only one year! In some ways, it has gone so fast, but in others, I’ve felt every single day of that year. What about you? Has 2019 sped by for you too? Or dragged on?
At first, it felt like I was chasing something that always seemed a little out of reach. The next client, a more substantial take home or more in my savings account. I blamed it on wanting security and needed to know that I had enough. But in reality, I was scared. But I’ve always had enough, such as the privilege of my life, and have never felt afraid for my survival.
Realising that, knowing that come what may, I’d figure it out, freed me. It gave me room to stop chasing and start looking at what it was I wanted. After that realisation, I knew that I’d moved into a different stage of my business; try anything, see what sticks phase! And to be honest, this was (is, perhaps?) still my favourite thing.
The best part about owning a digital agency is that it’s a pretty broad umbrella of offerings. We do a lot more photography than we ever have before, loads of content curation and management, and it’s been a while since I said yes to a website project (dear lord, save me from WordPress hell, haha).
You live, you learn.
And I’m grateful to know now, at least what I want in my business, which leads us, yes, in this short year, to a place where I now know what we are doing and offering. So there is a glimmer of where to from here. I see it, but it is yet to come into focus.
But for now, I know what it looks like for us, and to some degree (not always so seamlessly), it runs with very little input from me. Though you know me, I’m still IN IT; such is my personality. So letting go sucks for me. Haha.
But mostly after a year doing this, I know this is what I want. Giving my business this chance to grow and become what it always, almost was for years, was precisely what it needed. Exactly what I needed too.
Day after day, as I make my coffee and head into my office, I am grateful for this chance to live as I do. To work with people who inspire me and challenge me to learn new things. But to set the times so I can be available to my family when they need me.
Getting to make stuff and do it every day; I mean, it’s the best!
And here are some examples of what I’ve been up to in the past couple of months.
And so, here we are! That’s the update. If you made it to here, then gold star for you. Phew. Now, tell me, what’s new with you.
Hi! I’m Melissa Walker Horn. Around here, they call me Suger. I’m the Chief Blogger and doer of all the things here at Suger Coat It. Blogging since 1901; I love a casual ootd, taking photos, and writing about things that irk or inspire me. I love wine and cheese, long days at the beach and spending time with my family. I make stuff for the internet over at Chalkboard Digital. You know, living the sweet life.