If you don’t like something, change it


This photo has nothing to do with the post but it’s the result of one of Maya’s solo playing sessions and i think it’s hilarious. We should all try and cuddle up with sheep more often!

I’ve been a rubbish blogger lately but that’s the least of my worries. I’ve also been a rubbish freelancer and most probably a rubbish parent but what’s new right? This is just one of the posts in note form that’s been sitting in Evernote for over a month and I thought I’d better get it down in a more concrete fashion before it’s no longer relevant or seems too silly to post.

The truth is I’ve been having somewhat of an existential crisis these last few months and I’m kind of in limbo, not knowing which direction I should turn in next. I’m slowly (very slowly) moving towards where I want to be (i think), but for now things are still a little weird and frustrating.

This has been brewing for a while I guess but I think it was mainly triggered by my internet connection being utterly useless for at least two months at some point earlier in the year. It would connect for 10 minutes and then go down, or connect and crawl along at an unusable speed. We took to calling out the technicians from my service provider every week. Every single time they came, it was working and they couldn’t work out what was wrong (apparently).

Needless to say I got horribly behind with my freelance writing and eventually kind of gave up altogether. It seemed like every time I would try to get some work done, yet another roadblock would appear – my computer crashed, every browser I had installed became corrupted and had to be re-installed, we had a power cut.

It was when I was sitting in our rental house, attempting to steal wi-fi from the restaurant across the road after begging Made to take the kids for the day and then realising that their internet was down too that it hit me. Why was it so difficult for me to just get some work done? Surely it shouldn’t be this hard? I was hiding from my kids, spending hours sitting at my computer and yet getting nothing done. I felt wrong. There’s no other word that’s more appropriate for what I felt right then. I just felt like what I was doing was wrong and something was trying to make me see that.

I’m not a religious person (much to my husband’s distress) but if I was, I’d say I felt some kind of calling from god. “Stop! you’re going down the wrong path!” I explained this feeling to Made and he nodded as if it made total sense and said “niskala!”. The Balinese believe the world is split into two halves: sekala and niskala. Sekala is the world we live and see every day, niskala is the unseen spirit world that impacts on our lives even though we can’t see it. Balinese simply take this as fact – you can’t see it but they know it exists. This is why it’s so important for Balinese to make offerings to these unseen forces. And sometimes, you feel it.

I’ve been freelance writing for over a year now and I’ve really enjoyed it for the most part. I’ve always liked writing and people seem to think that I’m good at it. I’ve gradually upped my rates increased my income but yet I feel like I’m going nowhere. Made’s long been telling me that I’m stupid to waste all my time and energy on making other people rich.

All my free time is spent writing for others so that I never have chance to work on my own business ideas, or marketing our property rental and Made’s tour services, or this blog, or even my children. Even worse I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to sit down and write articles recently. I procrastinate, I put them off, I stare at a blank screen.

So in frustration I told Made that I’d emailed all my clients and told them I was quitting because i literally could not work anymore. He said “good”. Of course I can’t just quit like that. We still need an income and besides, I like writing – but it was clear that something needed to change.

Last month I worked about half the amount I normally do and strangely, we collectively made more money than we have done in about six months. I stopped asking Made to take the kids so I could work and instead just relaxed and spent time with them and fit writing in where I could. Most afternoons he’s been taking Kiran but Maya’s opting to stay with me and I’ve really been enjoying our one-on-one time. We’ve been going out for lunch and drawing together and I’m just enjoying having her round. She’s actually no trouble at all and most of the time opts to play by herself so I’m free to get on with my own thing anyway.

I’d been so focused on trying to create more time to work but I’m lucky enough to be able to spend this time with my children while they’re young and I want to take advantage of that. I’m no longer desperate to get Maya back into school so I have more time. I’d rather enjoy this time when she wants to be with me. I feel like I blink and they’ve both grown another inch. Before I know it they’ll both me in school and I won’t get these days back.

I’ve been going to bed at a decent hour instead of staying up late because I “have to work” but then getting nothing done (tonight is an exception as it’s nearly 1am. oops). I’ve also started doing yoga again after a hiatus of what must be about 10 years. My flexibility is shameful and my stomach muscles have all but vanished but I’m really enjoying the hour I devote to myself in the afternoons and the improvements i’ve made in just a couple of weeks are inspiring me to continue.

Before, I never took a day off, or not intentionally anyway. Some days (many days!) I’d get nothing done, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Now we’re going out every Sunday as a family and having fun at the beach or at the zoo. It gives us all a chance to decompress and marks the end of the week instead of all the days just drifting by until another month is gone.

Work-wise I’m still way behind and not getting much done but it’s not bothering me (maybe it should – sorry clients!). As i said, i do like writing and i don’t want to stop but i’m working my way towards keeping my workload at a manageable level. I already dropped one client that was taking up much of my time and I’ve taken on a couple of new jobs that I’m really enthusiastic about. I feel rather bad about going awol  in this transition period but hopefully the clients that remain will benefit from my refreshed outlook now that I’m starting to catch up with everything.

My main aim is still to start focusing on my own business plans and I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing there at the moment. But things are slowly becoming clearer and now I’m starting to do things the right way, everything is improving – the path is becoming smooth again. I’m finally going the right way.

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2 Responses to “If you don’t like something, change it”

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  1. mirari says:

    it’s ok to take a break from your work and even from your kids, it’s healthy for your mind and i’m sure you’ll take your life into your hands with all your best!

  2. Rachel says:

    yes, i’m terrible at taking breaks but sometimes it just needs to be done. and sometimes i need someone else to tell me!