The Magic of New Beginnings

Welcome to my new home on the internet! I’m so excited to have you here! This post marks the beginning of something new: a new website but also for the first time I’m sharing a little bit about myself. How scary! Read on to hear about my story.

I originally wrote this post back in January when I decided to quit my job. I still have it here somewhere, the confession speech I scribbled passionately in the back of a notebook about how I regretted not being more present on my blog (and design teams and social media, the list goes on), how I was afraid of sharing too much about myself, how I was living a double life (so dramatic!) and how little free time I had just to be myself. See, up until recently I was working as a teacher. Now I don’t know about other countries, but in the UK being a teacher is a very serious thing. As a teacher, you are a ‘professional’ which was honestly cool with me to begin with. In fact, I’d say I liked that title; It meant that I’d finally made it, that I had a career not just a job. However, I didn’t realise at the start that being a professional also meant being invisible. It meant being awfully careful that no parent or student could track you down online and find reason to dislike something you’ve posted. Teachers are awfully afraid of being found because being found might mean losing your job. A nasty photograph of you scantily dressed, dancing around a pole on a girls holiday in Magaluf eight years ago could end up being forwarded to every parent at the school where you work (apparently parents have nothing better to do that dig up dirt on their six year old’s sweet primary school teacher, or so they would have us believe. I’m sure all you parents would disagree! You don’t have the time or inclination to do that!). They tell you, at the start of training, this horror story of a young teacher who didn’t set her social media to private and found embarrassing photographs of herself (doing something completely normal like partying, enjoying herself, maybe drinking or dancing – heaven forbid!) plastered all over the outside of the school building. Naturally, she lost her job.

Now you might be wondering why a crafty blogger would be worried about posting pictures online. I mean, no one can take offence from a scrapbook layout, right? Well, that was my thinking. So I kept posting pictures – but I felt restricted. I couldn’t share any personal details or stories about myself online and I’ve felt, up until today, that I’ve been holding back. Because I have, big time. I’m a real person with opinions, ideas, passions, issues, feelings and and a voice. So today I’m shouting out: I’m here! And you’d better get used to it because I’m here to stay.

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Life is Tough Sometimes

So I decided next, back in January, to do the unthinkable and quit my job. Even though I’d spent the better part of four years working towards it, it was time to throw in the towel. Because the other thing that don’t tell you able teaching, as well as having to wear the cloak of internet invisibility, is that you have to work an exhausting 50-60 hour week. Not kidding. I knew going into it that teaching was not a 9-5 job, but 60 hour weeks? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Or rather, ain’t nobody got time for anything else but that.

The other important factor (or rather, person) I’m not mentioning here is my loving husband, Mr C. We got married back in October last year and he’s been amazingly supportive of all of my decisions, having absolute faith in me despite not fully understanding exactly what my big plans are or what I do. He trusts my instincts and believes in me. I came to him in January with a full business plan, a long list of pros and cons, and you know what he said? You do you. In other words, you do what makes you happy. He says it all the time, when I come upstairs apologising that I’ve been AWOL for three hours as I’ve been working on a project and time ran away from me, he just says, ‘Baby, you do you.’

I mention Mr C not just because he’s an amazing support, but also because he’s part of the reason I’m making such a drastic lifestyle change. Mr C has juvenile arthritis which means that he’s been struggling with arthritis. mostly in his knees, since his early twenties. He can’t get around without the use of crutches and has limited mobility, even with them. He’s been this way for about two years now. He used to be able to walk unaided, but he’s always struggled with getting around the six or so years that we’ve been together. He used to, when he was younger, be very active. He was always out riding his bike, tackling the next DIY job; he loved tinkering with cars and playing airsoft. It’s heartbreaking to see him suffer like he does (not only with mobility issues but also with the constant pain) and struggle with day to day tasks. He had his first knee replacement operation over Christmas and is making a steady recovery, but we don’t know when the next knee surgery will be and it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel sometimes.

I decided to quit my job not only to follow my passions, but most importantly to look after Mr C and our home.  When one of you can’t do the house work and the other one has no time or energy to do the housework, things can get pretty messy. Don’t get me wrong, a little mess is fine but most days our house looked like it had been burgled. Most importantly, it was getting us down. And YOLO, right; you only live once. You don’t want to live where you don’t have time to do the simple things like look after yourself and your home. You don’t want to agonise over the growing pile of dishes, have your heart sink every time you walk in the front door and feel at ill ease in your own home because all of the mess is ‘looking at you.’ You don’t want to live like that. At least, we didn’t.

Big Magic and New Beginnings

I’ve started reading a book called ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.’ Someone is the creative community on Instagram recommended it (wish I could remember who!) and the title immediately caught my eye. What did it mean by creative living? Before the book even arrived from Amazon I was googling the phrase. Was it possible to really live in a creative way (and still pay your bills)? I’d been squashing my creative-self into a tiny ball deep down inside of me for so long – was it time to finally let her out? I’d get glimpses of her at the weekend as I worked on a scrapbook layout or mini book, but those moments were few and far between. I entertained the possibility of following my passions full time. The idea filled me with excitement! I started to make (hypothetical) plans: lists of projects I would work on, how I would grow my business, spend my days. I could organise and decorate my house! I could exercise and cook meals from scratch! The dog might finally get walked! There is the possibility of creativity everywhere, if you look for it. I wanted to invent new storage solutions for my house, adapt and develop new recipes in the kitchen, design a morning schedule that would have me feeling pumped for the rest of the day! I realised that I needed to make a big change to the way that I lived and start pursing a more fulfilling and creative lifestyle. I’m only a third of the way into Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, but she says quite early on that creative living is different for everyone and it doesn’t have to be your full time gig – but I’m keen to make it mine. I’m still getting my head around the idea and finding out what creative living means to me. I hope you’ll come along on the journey with me as I figure it out. As for the magic – it’s inspiration, of course! You couldn’t have creativity without it. Though I do love Gilbert’s references to the Harry Potter series, another kind of magic!

It’s finally happening! I didn’t dream it all up!  In ‘Big Magic’, Gilbert writes about how ideas are floating around, waiting to find the right person to bring them to life. Well if that’s true, I’m ready for you inspiration! Now is the time to be creative, feel alive and as Becky Higgins would say, cultivate a good life.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and feedback. This blog is my baby right now, and as they say, it takes a village to raise a child! Let me know if you find any bugs or maybe you’d just like to say hi. It’s a little lonely over here on the first ever post, so some company would be great! 🙂

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2 Comments

  • Sandra Jenkins

    04/04/2016 at 10:36 am

    Hi Amy.
    Great post. I wish I could follow you rather than continuing as a wage slave! Maybe one day. Meanwhile I wish you all the best for your future xx

    Reply
    • Amy Challis

      05/04/2016 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks Sandra 🙂 ‘Wage slave’ I love it! It can feel like that sometimes, can’t it? I’ll let you know how the alternative goes!

      Reply

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