Bowral to Brunswick

So, do you know what’s been going on? Shame on you.

Just kidding.

Holy wow! It’s been almost a whole year since I posted here. I got over the guilt a while back. I’ve learned that when I write for a living, I stop writing for fun.

On with the N.E.W.S.

We redecorated our house. Got a new paint job inside, fixed our outside drainage issues so that our garage would stop flooding with heavy and prolonged rain, put two skylights in, installed a new kitchen, replaced blinds, carpets and old laminate wood floor with vinyl. Here are a couple of peeks.

With flooding:

The back yard2

Without flooding:

Untitled

Kitchen, before:

Purple kitchen

Kitchen, part-way through renovation:

Untitled

Kitchen, after:

New kitchen splashback.

I’ll do a walk-through and post a video up in a couple of weeks. The place looks uh-mazing. The weird/frustrating/not-that-uncommon-for-us thing is that I got all this done within a matter of weeks after us having paid a designer for drawings of a super-awesome extension and then deciding we would up-stumps and move to Melbourne.

WHAT?!

Yep.

May 2013 will be known as “the month we spent torturous weeks deciding what to do when we realised living in Bowral wasn’t serving our careers or our family life very well.” Also in the mix, was Matt wondering about his career moves and finding that he didn’t want to be a developer anymore. In June, he committed to a career change and a daily commute to Sydney for the past 5-or-so months.

We contemplated a move to San Francisco, a move back to Sydney, and a relocation to Melbourne. And by “contemplated”, I mean some yelling and much crying. I cried just about every one of those May days and even thought I was in the midst of a slightly early mid-life crisis.

Because this was a fork in the road.

And when you get to a fork in the road, you have to decide whether to pick up your baggage and keep going with the flow, or to examine it and choose what you need.

Classic Aprill behaviour is to go with the flow, and because I’m a laid-back sort of person, I’m generally just tagging along. I’m nearly 40; I don’t want to just tag along anymore. I want to be where I’m going, on purpose.

We’re keeping our Bowral place and renting it out—just in case we want to pull the ripcord—and we’ll be moving to Brunswick a few days after Christmas. We’ve found a great place to live and the boys are enrolled at school.

Change is hard, but I can already feel my brain and my creativity waking up again.

I’m feeling positive, though I know I’ll be lost without my sister-friend around the corner.  xx

Identity and work

I’ve been struggling with identity in recent months. Society has wired us to identify ourselves with our full time occupation, whether it’s paid or not. I left indentured servitude in 2010, with a break in there to have kids. And I’ve never really identified myself as a mother, either. Yes, I have kids, but mothers to me are crafty and bakey and much more nurturing than I. My kids are 9 and 5; they’ve been making their own breakfasts for years. I console myself with the fact that at least they’ll be able to live off WeetBix when they move out.

When I left work and started freelancing I didn’t really think too much about it. I just took those little bits of work when I could get them and got on with life. After stumbling on my market niche in 2011, I decided I wanted to be a subject matter expert. When I found my audience only weeks after I’d verbalised that decision, I started developing my area of expertise and marketing myself to my new-found tribe.

2012 was my year of public speaking. It was challenging and exhilarating. By the end of my last speaking engagement I crashed hard from exhaustion and I’d only spoken at three conferences and a few seminars. But my tribe had grown and it was exciting. I’d found my identity amongst my growing professional community and new friends. And maybe that’s the problem, the extrinsic nature of this kind of identity. Just like that of work.

When you work as a freelancer, you never truly belong to any of the organisations you work with. It’s doubly true when you work remotely. Freelancing is already a rollercoaster and when I read this article the other night, the discomfort I couldn’t put my finger on became so clear. The abstract identity of the near-full-time role I’m performing had been overwhelming me. It seems worse in a traditional corporate environment that favours functional specialists over segment specialists.

What I find so confounding and fabulous is that once I clarified what my problem was, the answer was delivered to me. There I had been, losing myself in an undefined role, when I completed a personality survey the next day and was shown my archetype—The Wise Owl.

Not only that, I read this article last night—”The honor and dignity is always in the work, and how that work is performed, not in the title.”

I am the Knowledge Bird, and I have my tribe.

Dear band: it’s not you, it’s me.

Going to gigs is different these days. The gigs themselves aren’t different. Though, many of those old-time venues have closed down. It’s me that’s different. Older.

Last night a group of us went to see The Presets. We were those haggard-looking people sitting at a table in the corner of the lobby with wine in small plastic glasses. We were those people reminiscing about the 90s music scene and bothered by the misspelling on the door to the ammenities [sic].

In the 90s my internal monologue was a bit like this:
This is awesome!
Sing along.
Buy a tshirt.
This is awesome!

Last night it went like this:

Note where the exit is in case I feel like I might faint. (I get claustrophobic in crowded places.)

Gee, the Enmore has a nice ceiling. I’ve never noticed that before.

Oh! cool graphics on the screens.

Hm. The audience smells nice. Not like in the bloody 90s.

Glad we’ve all only got one square foot to dance in. My un-co white-girl dancing is less obvious.

The keyboard/singer guy is quite attractive from back here.

That stack of amps looks like a spine.

I think the Ecstacy just kicked in for those people over there.

Gah! strobe lights! Just close your eyes and clap, for god’s sake.

Why can’t these bitchez stick to their square foot?

Oh! I think I recognise this song.

Beer cans get really flat on a general admission dance floor.

I like those wall sconces.

“I’m here with all of my people..” OH I KNOW THIS SONG!!

Guy in front tries to take photo with old-skool Nokia. His girlfriend and I look at each other and chortle.

It’s hot. Peg an open bottle of water over this direction!

Scan across audience fashions.

Good lord. My back is sore.

Leave at the end of the gig impressed with the Presets and remind myself to listen to them on Spotify tomorrow.