My soul-soothing escape from reality

Hello all, as you may have gleaned from my last post, I have been stressing more than just a bit lately.  Not really actively stressing mind you, rather ruminating - my mind chewing over what if's and to-do lists and schedules and such - in a constantly increasing and incessant way.  The timing could not have been more perfect for a trip to the Caribbean to visit my parents.  They built a house there years and years and years ago, but for some reason I have not made a point of going down.  I was too busy, it was too expensive, I couldn't afford the vacation time, yada yada yada.  

This year, as always, my mom said please come down.  I said yeah... maybe...., as I always do.  My Prince Charming of a husband, however, said this is nuts, you insane woman, and made it happen.  He booked the flights, took vacation from work to look after the boys, arranged a babysitter for the days he had to work and pretty much threw me on a plane.  All the while I was thinking what am I going to do down there?  What if I drive my parents nuts (and vice versa)?  I brought my computer to catch up on the all the work and projects that I needed to be doing, all the blog posts I haven't written, and of course my ongoing debate as to what to do with the rest of my life.

I did none of it.  I can hear you all saying "duh...!" but for some reason I did not foresee how AMAZING this week was going to be.  I am not going to go on and on about it because, well, I know how sick everyone is of winter, and, um,  I don't want you to hate me.  The major points: *first time away without the kids for so long, *first vacation by myself (i.e. without hubby) in about 15 years (this was also part of my reluctance to go - I love traveling with him) *first time hanging out with my parents by myself in around 20 years *being spoiled by my folks *warm sunshine *bright colours *green green green *warm sunshine *didn't make lunch or dinner once *rum and ginger ale on the porch *yoga and swimming *wonderful parents *warm sunshine...  OK, done.  No wait, there's photos:

So there you have it.  I honestly feel like a different person.  It really shook things up for me, although I didn't realize how much until I got home.  After the requisite grumpy back-to-winter blues, I feel great, calmer, less stressed, more centred.  I cannot thank Chris and my parents enough.

All of the "taxis" (i.e. mini-vans crammed with people) down there have slogans running across the top of their windshield, and the one I that stuck with me was "Too Blessed To Be Stressed."  Amen Mr. Taxi Driver, AMEN.

Thank you also to all of you who commented on my last post, and emailed me encouragement.  It meant the world, it really did.  I have been reading and re-reading them ever since.  I think I am starting to figure some things out, which I will of course share with you - cause that's what I do.  Blogging is kind of a strange beast, part confessional, part public diary, part scrapbook, part PR machine... but the community that comes with it, the feeling of connecting to people, is so strong and heartfelt it sometimes surprises and delights me.  MOOAH.

What the HELL do I do now?


*warning: long post with no pretty pictures*

When it comes to hobbies, I am not unlike a magpie chasing shiny objects.  Graphic design sounds like fun - I am going to sign up on and watch a million hours of video on how to lay out a magazine!  Photography is awesome - I am going to take a photoshop course and spend hours on the computer tweaking levels!  Interior Design has always been a passion - I am going to launch an online design business even though I have no training and little experience!  Then there's yoga (which at least I am consistent about), knitting, painting, reading, BLOGGING.... there are times when I get an hour to myself and am actually at a loss for where to start or what to do!

After quitting my (pretty awesome) job at the Symphony a year and a half ago, I have been really enjoying spending time with my kids.  Sure, there are some monumentally frustrating days, but generally it has been a crazy blessing to be able to tell myself "this is my job and I love it."  Read books with them, make them lunch, watch them play cars, break up fights, listen to them talking to each other, do crafts - the days fly by.  I have thrown myself into this time completely, grabbing these precious days with both hands and wringing out every sweet hug, funny face, and paint-covered high five.

Now, on the horizon, I can see the end coming.  An end, and of course a new beginning.  In September, both my boys will be in school full time (9 to 3).  This doesn't mean I don't get hugs and hang-out time anymore (God forbid!) but it will definitely be the dawn of the new era for us all.  It is only February and I have many more months of boy-time ahead of me, including those awesome summer months, but I feel like I should be preparing for my own reality now.

My sabbatical from Making Money (since it certainly isn't a break from WORK) has been fully supported and encouraged by my whole family - I definitely couldn't have done it without everyone's sign-off.  But a was conceived as a sabbatical, meaning eventually I would return to work away from the boys and start putting money back into the bank account.  Right now, I can't imagine going back to life the way it was; I am a different person than the girl who did marketing for the Symphony.  Ideally, I will be able to do something part-time, during the school hours, and still be able to walk the boys home from school.

But WHAT??!!??  I am pretty confident I know how start up a start-up.  I have read books, blogs, watched videos and am fully inspired to build a successful business.  After all, marketing was my line of work - I can direct-mail-social-media-conversion-rate-advertise-promotions the hell out of this business.  I can network-leverage-collaborate-media-SEO-customer-service with the best of them.  But first I have to figure out what the hell I will be selling!

In the past few months I have done logo work, website work, marketing consulting work, graphic design work and tried my hand at interior design.  The problem?  I loved ALL of it!  But I have to pick one thing and do it well, right?  So now I am feeling lost and directionless.  I feel like I have to pick one and get much better at it before I can launch a business and charge people money for it.  Right?  But as soon as I start with one, I am crippled with indecision and doubt - maybe this is the wrong one.  I should go back to that other one.

I really love interior design, but I have absolutely no confidence there.  People go to school for this, intern, apprentice, yada yada.  Who the hell am I to equate putting a mood board and layout together and thinking I'm a designer?  Graphic design is really fun and I think I could be really good at it.  But the learning curve on the programmes is STEEP guys, and there are so many graphic designers out there - would I even find work?  Marketing is where I feel confident, maybe I should stick with that and offer consulting for creatives?

Photo Credit Andrés Þór
Anyway, sorry to dump all this on you guys, but this lack of direction has somehow bled into my blog as well - what is my niche? what do I blog about? - and has kept me from posting for a bit.  I am hoping that this soul-dump will at least break through my writers block...