Earlier in the week I asked you what you'd like me to write about using a new handy app called Help Me Write. One of the topics I listed was talking about how I am in the process of changing direction and finding what makes me happy now compared to a few years ago, and as people said they'd like to hear about it I thought I should get writing!
Some of you will only know me as a blogger but others will have known me as a wedding photographer, some as a PhD student and some may remember as far back as when I was a librarian at the University of Birmingham. I have already changed direction a few times before you see but everything I have done has flowed into the next thing in a really natural way. Nothing I have done has ever felt forced and I guess that's how I know that what I've been doing at any given time has been the right thing for me to be doing then. As I have moved from one thing to another there has, of course, been the time of transition when the thing I had been doing was no longer the right thing for me and it was time for change. But everything I have done has complimented the next thing.
I feel really lucky that I have already been able to do and experience so many different things. I could look at it in a negative way and say that I've never stuck at anything and haven't built a solid career for myself but that's not the way I see it. I have simply built on my skills and on who I am as a person as I have gone along.
About 18 months ago we made a decision together that I would move away from wedding photography to focus on being a mother to our young children. It was no longer making me happy and I didn't feel creatively fulfilled anymore. It was a huge amount of work and a lot of stress, and it was having a big impact on how I felt as a mother and a wife, and on how I saw myself. I didn't like it and I needed to stop.
Just over a year ago I started this blog as a little experiment to see if it could provide me with a creative outlet while I concentrated on being a mother. And it has worked in more ways than I could ever have imagined. Firstly, in the very act of writing it I reflect on being a mother every day, which is helping me to be the mother I want to be. Secondly, it is helping me preserve precious memories for my family. Thirdly, it is providing me with a space to be creative and pushing me to make an effort to actually do the things I want and plan to do. And in doing these things it is helping me to learn what I really love doing and what I want to do more of. Fourthly, it has started to give me a wonderful community of creative and likeminded people both online and offline (in real life!). And finally, it has really helped me to start thinking bigger and more long-term about what I want to do and where I want to be in 6 months, 12 months, 5 years.
My children are definitely my focus at the moment, especially with baby four about to join us. And that is how I want it to be but I am also excited about what I am building for myself to compliment that. Yes, my photography is still an important part of that but writing, crafting, styling are joining with that to create a different and exciting direction. During the small amounts of time that I have for myself I am taking time to think about and reflect on what it is that is making me happy now and the work I want to do. I am able to experiment with things, to test things out and to slowly build up to where I would like to be at different stages in the future.
At the moment I don't have the pressure of needing to make any big decisions. I am a full-time mother and that is my number one priority. Other things can fit around that, which means that I feel free to grow them at the right pace. Some days I do get frustrated. My ideas and plans run away with me and I want to do everything right now. I want fulltime childcare and to work all hours of the day. But I'm always brought back to the now when my little ones appear wanting cuddles, stories, dinner, cakes, trips to the park, drawing, painting, making, everything that I love and I remember why I'm doing what I'm doing right now. And why I am determined to grow my new things at the right pace for all of us.
I'm excited! And that is how it should be. I want to keep on learning, growing, changing, developing and reinventing myself as many times as I want to as I go. I know I am very lucky that I have the choice to do this and I have the incredible support of my husband in his belief that we can do anything we want to.
Have you had different careers? Have you changed direction or would you like to? I'd love to hear your stories too.