Little old me and you

Yesterday morning I finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic. I loved it, so interesting to hear her thoughts and insights on creativity, on learning to tap into our own creative instincts and desires and living our lives creatively as well as hearing about her own writing journey throughout her life. I’ve always loved her books and insights on Facebook through the years. Some real food for thought, especially given this time of the year and all the reflecting that tends to go on for me when I’m up here at the farm looking at what’s been and what’s to come (you can read a few of those end of year posts here:)

 2013 The Recap episode
Burn One down

It’s funny I don’t really think of myself as someone creative, in fact, I spent a large part of my adult working career ignoring the true parts of myself that made me fulfilled and happy that incidentally involved being creative. Working in financial planning will do that for someone! But when I think about what I wanted to be when I grew up as a little girl, it was to be a writer, and then when I was a little older, in advertising, older again as a food stylist, and after my study at University, in magazines. And yet here I am all those years later, and after many a side step, doing ALL of those things together in the one place here on my blog: a little food styling and recipe creating, some photography and blog posts that could be magazine shoots, some sponsored content work trying to creatively work out ways to work with brands and advertising and of course, writing. What do you know…?

Later in the morning when I was hanging out some washing I got thinking about this post I wrote a few years ago about working out what you want to do with your life and that wonderful song by Claire Bowditch that talks about wanting an amazing life, and not knowing where to start. You can read the post (Starting something) here. It’s funny just how many of us, myself included through my adult life, that have known that there’s more of us to give, there’s more of us to BE, the relentlessness of being a Mother of small children can make you feel like the value you are adding to the big world is that you can nail the washing in a day, or get through the supermarket shopping in under an hour, or make nutritious meals for your family. Anything beyond that? Nothing. Nada. Nup.

But the yearning, to be more, to reach the expectations I had for myself, that we all had for ourselves, that never goes away. Am I the only adult that is like that Talking Heads song Once in a Lifetime…”And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile, and you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?” I do, often. I don’t think I’m alone.

I’m here, an adult, with kids and a grown up house and life, and a large automobile even though I still feel like that young woman in her early 20’s with her whole life ahead of her, ready to find my something. And here I am again, on the 31st December at the end of a whole other completed year, have I found it? Am I any closer? Are any of us? And am I still hanging out washing?

Some of the key parts of the book Big Magic that stood out for me was the idea of permission. In one chapter she talks about how we don’t need permission to live a creative life.

We don’t need permission.

I’ll just leave that there for a moment because I was all like um, pardon?

We don’t need permission.

If we want to paint paintings, write books, or blog posts, take photos, write poems, cook amazing meals, go on adventures, have children, not have children, be in love, have amazing sex, live our lives in ways that truly make us happy, we don’t have to wait for someone to tell us to, or give it to us.

We can just go right ahead and start. Start somewhere with something and just do it.

Huh.

I don’t know why this seemed such a lightbulb moment for me when I was reading it, but it was. Just because I didn’t go to university and do courses on writing doesn’t mean I can’t write. It might not be perfect (In fact I know very well that it is not), but I do love to do it, and I practice it every day, so there you go. It’s happening. Just because I don’t know how to run doesn’t mean I couldn’t try and teach myself and who knows, run a marathon if I wanted. Just because you might be in a relationship that is making you sad doesn’t mean that you don’t owe yourself a chance to be happy and be in love and BE loved does it? Or that if we always wanted to learn French that you couldn’t just go and learn French. And maybe even go. To France. Why do we talk ourselves out of so many things, you many opportunities, so much, well, life just because we can’t possibly? We’re just Mums, who wipe bums. Women who work. Men who are Dad’s.

Can we?

We can.

Why not?

I know it can be cliche to look at a whole year ahead of you and make promises to ourselves that we can’t and won’t keep. I do it far too often and have been down that road way too many times myself. But I just like that idea of permission. Of not waiting, of just doing. She later wrote “Do it whether the critics love you or hate you – or whether the critics have heard of you and perhaps will never hear of you” do it FOR you. Surely feeding ourselves with the things that make us truly happy will only lead to other good things? I think so, and even though I may be naive and an eternal optimist, I just truly believe this. Have a crack. Start somewhere. Start something and maybe just after a little bit of that, you find that your life might be just that little bit more amazing.

I write on here each day about all kinds of things, of cooking meals, of Kate Middleton, of family life, mopping floors, hanging out washing, plumped cushions, clean sheets, pointless stuff, silly stuff, serious stuff, stuff. They are all part of me, the swearing over eater who also likes good linen, it all makes up the parts of me and I share them here for myself first and foremost and then for you guys whoever you guys are, it helps keep me busy. I like to be busy, my mind NEEDS to be busy because it otherwise finds other much more less productive and destructive ways to keep busy (with things like negative self talk, focusing on things and people that don’t ACTUALLY matter, rather than on the people and things that DO). Elizabeth wrote in her book “give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents” how true is that?! This blog is my job. My place to keep busy. To do it daily stops me from focusing on all the other things and people that I don’t need to bother with. It’s just a small voice, a very small corner of the internet where I am allowed to be creative, and fulfilled and somewhere that makes me very happy indeed. And it just might be creative, and I just might not need anyone’s permission to continue to pursue it and lots of different angles in the year to come. And how good is that? I’ll just be here, doing my thing, feel free to be here, or not. You’re welcome in any case.

I love this picture I stumbled across this year on Pinterest.

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Cause I am. We all are.

I’m just this Mum of 3 kids who lives in a small village in a small corner of a small country in a part of a big world. I’m someone who continues to strive for happiness whether that means making change and taking courage and risks and being uncomfortable. I’m someone who is still looking for their something but through expression on this blog, feels ever closer.

This year has taught me all kinds of things. So much about myself and what I am capable of. I still cannot believe that I had a baby, that I gave birth the way that I did. I’ve learnt that the brain and mind are the biggest parts of our body that need to be exercised. Sure our bodies keep us strong and doing all the things we want and need to do but the mind? Man, it may just be the biggest muscle we have. Focusing and training my mind through a little meditation and constantly keeping it busy and open to things has been the biggest gift I have been able to give myself this year. Blocking the bad out, letting the good in, spreading it wherever and whenever I can has been a huge learning. Training, practising, keeping at it. Exercising my mind. The body sure as hell has NOT been exercised in the same way.

This year I’ve learnt that bad shit happens to really good people. All the time. That good people bring bad shit upon themselves because they don’t know how not to. That bad stuff can happen to any of us. At any time. That we are really only here for such a short period of time, that one day you could just drop dead, like my beautiful friend Amelia who I think of every single day, just like that, and what a shame it would be to have not tried to be the best version of you, for you, and for others. Even if that means trying something you never really thought you could possibly do.

Give yourself permission and just go ahead and try it.

I’ve learnt through travel that even though the world seems so big, and places so far away, that they are never really that far at all. And all those people over there? On the other side of the world? Well they are all doing the very same stuff that we are doing over here. The farmers are tending to their crops and milking their cows. There’s Mums hanging out washing wondering if this is it? There’s Dad’s playing with kids in parks, Grandparents doting over their grandchildren and teenagers kissing in parks. On those same cobblestones from thousands of years ago. All the same.

Still.

I’ve learnt that we can always try harder, do better, seek more, find and challenge ourselves more. That we are all a little lazy. And that we can start all of that change and new beginning at any time. Not just the first day of the year. On the 30th April. On the 13th June. The 27th November.

Together we might all be small, but if we all try a hard to be better versions of ourselves, to live true to what makes us happy (creatively or otherwise) that collectively we might all make this whole big world a better place to bring our babies into.

Happy New Year friends, I hope 2016 is the start of something good. For you.

And yes, we’ll still be hanging out washing this time next year. Sure as shit we will be x

Comments

  1. Shazziebazzie says:

    I love this post. I feel like one of your old posts was my light bulb moment this year that prompted me to make a life change and leave a stressful situation. Your post about the decision to leave a stressful life and move to the country gave me ‘permission’ to say to myself that I deserved better and that I could make the decision and it was ok. It is such a freeing way to think. It made such a difference in my life this year. Thanks for showing me the way. I am sure I will revisit this post of yours time and again. S.

  2. Loved this, been meaning to read Gilbert’s book, but got caught up in having a baby lol… Write it girl, you can do it, this year I finished writing a manuscript the night before I had a caesar, then sent it to my agent. It can be done. I set myself a biological deadline, ie caesar and I got it done!!! I hope you write your book, because no one else can…..

  3. Love this post ~ thank you! As a new mum this year {my little man is just 10 weeks old} I’m already feeling like I’m just a mum who wipes a bum a thousand times a day, hangs out washing and supplies milk endlessly…but I have so much more to give and I need my creativity to survive! I haven’t worked out how to find the time in the day yet, but when I do, I will most definitely give myself permission to do the things I love; write, draw, paint, take photos, make art…as these are the things that make me who I am. It’s so important to hold onto our creativity and let it flow as life flows. Happy New Year to you and your family xxx

  4. Great food for thought! Love your perspective. Wishing you the happiest New Year ahead full of abundance and prosperity. Look forward to following along through the snippets you share on the blog x

  5. Yes! I love that quote “give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invent” and I’m all about giving ourselves permission. I don’t / can’t watch the news because often there’s so much bad stuff happening that I can neither process or change but that little picture sums it up beautifully because when we strive to be the best we can be, are true to ourselves and do more of what makes us happy, then we are being change we want to see in the world! Thanks for all the bloggy goodness this year, hoping 2016 is packed full of all good things!

  6. Yvonne Duke says:

    This is such a great post ! As a mum of 4, 2 of whom have left school, and the other 2 will follow soon, I find myself wondering what do I do now ? I gave up my career when my 2nd was born and find myself now being comfortable, but knowing I need to step,out of my comfort zone for me.
    But I do love to read your blog and see your photos. You are just fabulous x

  7. Carla Moulds says:

    What a great blog to begin a new year Beth. I have Amelia’s photo on my window sill, I like to see her face and make her part of my day. Her sudden death was the saddest thing and so hard to comprehend. She took the photos of my sixtieth,I got to get to sixty , why didn’t she ? she was so loved and loving and she reminds me to live life with gusto as she did. None of us get out of here alive, so let’s make the most of ieach day.Happy New Year! My favourite blog of this year was Maggie’s birth.

  8. Just what I needed to read this morning! I love that ‘ we don’t need permission’, and to just do it whatever the critics say. For many of us our biggest critic is ourselves. In 2016 I’m going to take a page from your blog and keep the mind busy with writing and calm with meditation. A clear busy mind may just be the medicine needed to be the best version of ourselves, for ourselves first, then others. Thank you for all your wonderful photos and stories in 2016. A little respite in my day 🙂
    Happy New Year!

  9. Beth, you always inspire with your creativity – my life is fuller with you in it (and yes, it’s my most emo day of the year x)

  10. Well said Beth! That’s all!

  11. This post resonated strongly with me. Thank you!

  12. Sue McCarney says:

    Beautifully written my girl….
    You gave yourself permission several years ago to begin “living who you are”
    It makes my heart fit to burst to know that in giving yourself that right, all the things…your creativity, your passion and love of life bloom ever more strongly every day
    Thank you for being the girl I always knew you to be and so much more.
    Little girl…biggest
    ❤️

  13. Beautiful Beth

  14. Love this so much ….. Thank You. Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family , I sure as hell know I’ll be here.

  15. Amen x

  16. Beth, I am actually in tears reading this. I couldn’t get to the end, I will have to finish it later. It’s possibly the best thing of yours that I have ever read, and obviously touches a nerve. Two things: the restlessness of being a mum of small kids – what an utterly perfect word to describe this feeling – and that Elizabeth Gilbert quote about what your mind will do when it doesn’t have a job. I am struggling with both of these so very, very much right now. Thank you, thank you for putting your finger so perfectly on what I haven’t been able to elucidate myself. Thank you.

  17. I too worked in finance before having kids. I can tell you hand on heart that equity research analyst is one of the most creative roles in the universe but it is miles behind the guys who dream up derivative products.

  18. I’m reading Big Magic at the moment and that permission chapter was a lightbulb moment for me too. I loved reading this post and hearing how it spoke to you, and hopefully will to others as well because collectively we could make this big whole world a better place. Happy new year to you and your lovely family.

  19. Thank you Beth. I love reading your blogs and often give your delish recipes a bash. But I needed to hear this, and I am def reading that book on my holiday. Happy New Year ??

  20. Again… with the feels.

    So good. Nike says it best. Just do it.

  21. well beth! what an amazing year you’ve had!
    I loved big magic!
    I learnt about permission in my 40’s I think
    when I went to art school I think!
    “i’m allowed to” dr wayne dyer … is a keeper!
    you are inspirational with you posts! … your creative homemaking skills, your food is great,
    and I love one thing! … it gets me motivated and organized!
    we are soo glad you share the mags exerts with us she is just soo adorable!
    we all get to go ooh and ahh! … and “she is loving herself sick” in her new bathers!
    wishing you a wonderful 2016! … much love m:)X

  22. Beautiful post Beth, inspiring as usual. I need to get myself a copy of that book. Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family xx

  23. Will definitely add Big Magic to my reading list. A great thought provoking post for the last day of 2015. Next year will be full of BIG MAGIC for you!

  24. thank you xxxxxxxxxx

  25. I am reading this first thing in the morning on January 1 and it’s a lovely start to the New Year – thank you for wise words well written.

  26. Happy new year, little big Beth. x

  27. Empire Burlesque says:

    Best blog post EVER! You have nailed it…the relentless thought pattern of “is this all there is and how did I get here” from being a mother day in, day out. Thankyou for starting off my new year with some thought provoking thoughts 🙂 Once in a lifetime is the theme song for 2016!

  28. YES!

  29. Mollieandrose says:

    A lovely and timely post. Thank you!

  30. This is such an honest, really lovely and inspiring post! Thanks for sharing Beth.

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