Life changes, Soul Searching and Time to Reflect
It’s been silent on the blog for a while, and if you’re not subscribed to my newsletter you probably won’t have any idea why. (If you don’t like missing out, why don’t you sign up? It’s free!) If you are subscribed, hopefully you found my excuse a good one! You’ll have to wait a little longer for the blog posts relating to that, but stay tuned – they are coming!
The last few weeks have been interesting. Most of the time I feel like life is unfolding before me and I’m just treading my path and taking things as they come. The last month has not been like that. Choices have needed to be made. There have been big, black-and-white decisions. This path or that. Choose one. There’s been some soul-searching, and plenty of reflection, but the decisions are made and this is the path I’m taking.
Firstly, there was the job. There’s no doubt I need a job to pay the bills. I’ve tried for so long to find a job that is a real extension of who I am, that allows me to follow my passions to the full, but alas, these jobs are few and far between. Eventually the need to find work won over the quest to find the perfect job. That doesn’t mean I’ve sold my soul and gone to work for a big corporation. I’m working for a family-owned event hire business (and the owners are two of the nicest, fairest and most generous-hearted people you could wish to meet) and there’s no compromise in ethics or morals. Plus I like the role!
The need for a job came from the decision we made to buy a flat. I’ll write a blog post on this sometime soon but it wasn’t a decision we made lightly. We’ve been discussing it for months. We love renting and we love the idea of tiny houses, but in the end the ‘conventional’ house-buying won. Property in Perth isn’t cheap, and it means we will need to get a big mortgage. We will also need a big deposit – which is where the job comes in. We plan to move this time next year. The job and the mortgage and taking the conventional path seem at odds with how we want to live our lives – which I suppose is why it took so long to make a decision, and why there’s still some soul-searching going on now. I really want to write more about this soon so keep your eyes peeled!
Then comes the lack of free time to pursue my passions that comes with working. It’s like adding insult to injury – I’m not working in the sustainability or waste field, and I have much less time to pursue these passions outside of work too! It’s easy to wish I’d done more with the free time I had, but I don’t want to lament the past. Nothing lasts forever, and I’m sure there will be time to pursue all these things again! No doubt the world will still need saving when I’m less busy : /
The lack of free time has also meant that I’ve decided not to organise the Less is More Festival next year. This was a big decision. It’s been such an important part of my life for the last two years, and I’m so proud of how it’s grown and how many people it reached, but I feel like I need time out. Fortunately the Earth Carers, who supported me for the last two years, have decided to take the helm and will take on the running next year, so the event will still be going ahead. They have some plans to take it in a slightly different direction and their ideas are really exciting. Whilst I’m sad to be stepping back, I know in my heart it is the right thing to do.
One decision we are still grappling with is whether to buy a car. Glen’s office is relocating and whilst it will be very close to our new house, it is a painfully long and awkward commute from where we live now. My new job is just a few minutes from our current flat – and we have just renewed our lease. Buying a car could solve the commuting problem – but what about our values? We debated buying an electric car (expensive, and another step down the conventional corporate road?). We thought about buying an old banger (much less embedded carbon but far more polluting). We also thought about what buying a car would mean to our identities and how it fits with our beliefs. We are still trying to make the decision. I could write a whole blog post on this too (and plan to).
All these changes have meant taking time out to adjust, but really, of course, I’m still the same. My values haven’t changed. My passion for zero waste and plastic-free remains. My quest to minimalise continues. My obsession with vegetables (particularly sneaking them into desserts in a quest to make them healthier – chocolate avocado mousse anyone?) goes on unabated. My desire to connect and share and grow my community still burns as strongly as before. So I’ve made the obvious decision.
Get back to blogging! There’s still so many things to talk about, people to connect with, and ideas to share. I’ve missed you guys, and I’m glad to be back : )
I’m with Kermit on this one, it isn’t easy being green. On the other hand, I think living a more sustainable life would appeal to more people if it wasn’t all about stopping things but instead doing things differently, which is what you are doing. Good luck with it all, some Very Big Decisions there.
It certainly isn’t easy! I think you’re right – there’s no sacrifices needed. Just a change in mindset. Thanks – I can’t wait to be able to share all my life plan/decisions with you and hear what you think!
Love your blog. Sometimes compromises have to be made. Don’t be too hard on yourself ✌️
Thanks Marion! You’re right, except sometimes often feels like always! That’s just how life is sometimes I guess!
I missed you! Good to have you back blogging!
I understand all your thoughts and searches. And as always, there is no “black-or-white” in life, we all have to compromise. If you want to hear one thought about the car: buy an old and small car. Electric cars bring their own problems: they are only green if the electricity comes from renewable energy, the batteries need a whole lot of rare earth (hope this wording is right?) – compared to that smartphones are neglectable :( And if you are not driving thousands of miles, the less embedded carbon will outplay the more polluting because of the petrol. Just my thoughts :)
Thanks Christiane! It sure feels good to be back! We have pretty much ruled out buying a car altogether now I think. The electric car might fit with the “green” ethos but hardly the simple living non-consumer one – I think you are right. We hope to have renewable energy next year plus there are some free solar charging stations in Perth but the reality is: it’s huge embedded carbon, we’d still be using fossil fuels and it would mean my entire salary spent on buying a car – which defeats the point of getting a job really! Looks green but isn’t really… But I could (and will) write a whole blog post about this!
Yes, we have missed you! Glad that you are back! We all face difficult choices and we can not always do all the green things that we would like to do. I, for example, have been trying to cut down on flights, but I have failed miserably this year. Thankfully, no flights booked for 2015 yet. For 2015, I have been looking at train tickets to travel (for work) between China and Europe, but this is still a very time consuming and pricey undertaking. I think I will end up minimizing flying and compensating by planting trees or something like that. What’s your take on flying? Also, any chance that buying a really fast, nice bike is an option for your husband to commute to and from work?
Aw thanks! : ) Flying is an interesting one – when I lived in the UK I was very scathing of people who took flights, particularly short haul flights, but living here has made me change my viewpoint because everything is so much further away! I want to be able to spend time with my family and I’m not going to refuse to simply because I need to fly to get there – but I’m still very reluctant to fly often, and no short haul! I can understand your dilemma completely…
I wrote this about flying and offsetting last November – https://treadingmyownpath.com/2013/11/28/twenty-four-trees/
Glen was actually looking at buying an electric bike, but they are pricey too. He already has a nice fast bike which he uses a couple of days a week – it’s just the jump to every day, plus a longer commute and no weather-proofing! But he’s decided to embrace it and get super fit! Office move is this Friday…
Interesting blog! I agree with you that it’s too easy to pour your money in a distant tree planting scheme. From my understanding, newer types of planes are more environmentally friendly. I will look into this to see if there is any difference between different airlines. If so, I will choose the one that is least bad. While also reducing the quantity of my flights of course.
I always tell Glen that really we should travel business class because they have proper crockery and cutlery and so much less plastic – sadly we don’t have the money and even if we did I really think there are far better causes to spend it on than table cloths, napkins and aeroplane glassware and crockery… : p
Yes, I have missed your posts. I’m glad you have decided to continue writing as yours is a voice that needs to be heard. But I do understand that one must live a life before one can post about it! Congrats on your marriage and all the other new paths opening to you.
Thanks Cynthia! That is a very nice way of putting it – living a life before posting about it! And a very good point. Time out to reflect, reassess, live life and save up all the thoughts in order to blog about them later on! Yes : )
Yes I’ve missed you too lindsay! What about an electric bike or scooter? Or second hand electric car?
Thanks Claire! Hmm, Glen looked into an electric bike but they are still expensive and also don’t solve the weather/not going home straight from work problems. Second-hand cars are non-existent, they are just too new.
He’s going to try the pushbike and see how that goes. I think he is quite looking forward to it!
Love your blog. Sometimes compromises have to be made. Don’t be too hard on yourself ✌️
Thanks Marion. I didn’t realise I was being hard on myself! Maybe I was a little…
I know exactly where you are at. I work in the sustainability/environmental field but lately I have been lamenting the fact that I don’t have spare time to pursue my interests, spend with my kids, travel etc and the reason for that is because I have to work to pay the mortgage. BUT because we have a house and mortgage we are able to run a small somewhat self sufficient urban farm – when we have time for it, and our children have stability. All the options for change are scary. However recently, I have been conscious of trying to change my attitude towards this situation. Being grateful for all of the great things that these ‘obligations’ provide for us and our children; knowing that this is a time in our lives where we need to be still and that it will not last forever. Being mindful and living in the present. It’s not always easy and I feel your struggle.
Power to you sister xx
Thanks so much for your comment Maree. I definitely agree that you can change a lot with mindset, and being grateful for everything we do have is so important. “There is a time in our lives when we need to be still” – I love those words! Exactly how I feel! I know I won’t need to work this job until I’m 65, it’s a short/medium term plan to allow other things in the future, and it’s not very mindful to lament what I don’t have but will in the future! Much better to be in the present. an important lesson : )
we missed you too.. and Congratulation to you and Glen.
Thanks Mahtab :)
It’s good to see you posting again — and as for decisions, you do have some big ones but you are a thoughtful person living the “examined life”
Thanks for your comment Sandy! : ) I like that statement – living the “examined” life! Sometimes I really feel like that, but I guess it’s me doing most of the examining, so I really shouldn’t feel so much pressure…
I think you know I’ve missed you and am sooo glad you are back!! I struggled with similar issues this year as you may know. I had to decide on a new home and after much searching settled on buying a house rather than building something small or my dream of an earthship. I struggled with the size of the house not matching my values but in the end it was the right decision. Yes, it’s bigger than the studio and I could live in a smaller home very comfortably but there wasn’t one smaller to buy. I have been watching my energy use and find that I’m not using all that much more than I was, plus I have more space to grow my own food, freedom to collect rain water and so on. I’m sure when you move to your flat you will find there are advantages that will make living green easier than they currently are for you.
As for the car. If you do decide to purchase on I’d suggest looking for an older small car that gets exceptional mileage. I had a car built in the early 80s that got better mileage than the hybrids out today.
Just know it will all work out in the end. By the way, congrats on finding a job working with great people.
Thanks Lois! Yes, I guess you did you through some very similar decisions. I’m looking forward to reading the updates – I’m a bit behind but can’t wait to find out how you’re getting on in the new house : )
For now we aren’t going to get a car. We not happy with any of the options, so life remains the same…for now…
Thanks for your optimism – I know you are right!
Just joined in, but like to get along while you restart bogging!
Thanks! Nice to have you on board! : )
I’m glad you’re back to blogging, I definitely missed you! I assumed it was cos of your new job, I had no idea you’d been up to so much. Remember that we all take strange paths to get to where we’re going, but continually checking your company will make sure you get to where you’re aiming for. Keeping looking back too, you’ll be amazed how far you’ve travelled, it’s easy to forget that when you’re always looking forward :)
Thank you for your wise words : ) It’s definitely all about the journey, and I couldn’t agree more about checking your company. Luckily I surround myself with inspiring people who motivate me to keep going!
Oh dear, I actually meant to write compass, not company! (I often read your blog on my phone which has a sneaky autocorrect feature) But checking your company does have a similar effect also ;)
Haha, that’s funny! My phone does that also : / I actually think that in this context ‘company’ and ‘compass’ are pretty interchangeable. Your words reminded me of this saying/quote: “You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.” Very true!
Oh wow, I can relate to nearly all of those difficult decisions you are making right now…. the corporate job, the car when you would rather public/active transport, the standard house when you want to go eco…. none of it is easy! I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on these topics. (Also what about an electric bike or scooter? or did I just make it even worse!)
No decision is ever easy! The house isn’t actually a compromise on the eco front actually, more on the tiny house/standard-house-with-mortgage front! I will have to tell you all about it… As for the electric bike, that was the initial debate, before the car idea surfaced. No, you didn’t make it worse! The debate has gone back to electric bike vs pushbike at the moment, but it’s only day 2 of the new commute, and the first on the pushbike…so watch this space!
Whew, what a lot of life changes for one year. I think for most of us their are tough compromises and decisions to be made when we attempt to live more mindfully in our environment. You are a great example to many people and I am glad you are back at the blog!
Hi Laura, yes it doe feel a bit like that! Looking forward to some time away to reflect! But looking forward to being back on the blog properly in the new year.
Thanks for your kind words, have a relaxing Christmas x
Just came accross you blog and I do feel the same way you do.
I am not a minimalist (but I do share some of your point of views and values).
Like you, I would love to live by my passions (yoga, writing…), but bills… So I incorporate my passions in my current job, at least by trying to make everyone’s life better.
But my work does take plenty of my time and so little moments spared to give yoga classes and write.
So I decided to add some more discipline to keep up with all I want and need to do…
Wish you the best
Hi Lakshmi, thanks so much for your comment : ) It’s reassuring to feel I’m not alone in feeling how I do. I think you’re right about adding more discipline into my day. I haven’t been to a single yoga class since I started my job but I think about it every day. Plus my writing has slackened. Yet I know I still have enough hours in the day, I just need to focus on the things I love and want to do, and make them happen.
I’ve been thinking that my focus next year will be “balance”. My life also seems to run in peaks and troughs, with too much or too little, and so often there’s compromise. I want to work at making things more even over the next year. And I do think discipline will have a lot to do with it!
Thanks : )