I love the phrase a change is as good as a rest. It works for everything. Ask yourself a question - what you want to achieve tomorrow. Then think about the result if you changed something or rested.
Forget a magic eight ball, this simple phrase is all you need.
I'm not really talking about life changing changes. I'm not typing a frantic letter of resignation or putting the house up for sale to chase a missed opportunity of travelling the world in a gap year I never took. I'm talking about little, tiny, insignificant changes that add up to a shift. Like a 5ft snow drift that forces gigantic trucks off the road with a force of nature that's unstoppable.
And resting doesn't necessarily mean shutting up shop. In this crazy online world you can be offline in one place and emerging in another. Keep a hand in, jump in with both feet to one platform and be present, even if something else is quiet. I've watched bloggers I've "grown up with" over the last 6 years channel their focus and determination into totally different things. Some have burst onto the YouTube scene, some are becoming household names, famous for writing passionately and Facebook live-ing about what they believe in. Authors of not only their blogs but books on the shelves in Waterstones at Waterloo. Some have left their original more traditional jobs and are paving the way for a generation of creatives earning a full time income from home, around their families, with their families.
These are family businesses in the truest form. My grandfather was and is a chimney sweep. He learnt from his father, carrying bags of coal when he was still in his school uniform. He didn't just learn a skill, a trade, he learnt about work ethics, managing time, managing money and managing customers. All the things I want the boys to see, to respect and appreciate. And even though our boys might not have featured in a blog post for quite a long while they are still very much a part of it. They hold things, they have a turn at being models for an hour or a day. They play and get a pocket money fee for their time. You might not see our work as a family on this blog as often as a couple of years ago but it's out there.
I think about those coal bags and have kept thinking about how you can't keep up that sort of physical job without resting. Literally letting your body recover from a hard day's labour, down time to recharge and be ready for the day ahead tomorrow. And blogging is in essence no different, heavy bags of coal aside of course. I've stayed up through the night to get something finished. Wailed at 3am when a document didn't save or a hard drive crashed taking everything with it to the unrecoverable heaven of data in the sky. I've crawled back to bed at 8.03am when Rich is on the school run and thanked my lucky stars that I work from home. Because without that extra hour in bed on those days I wouldn't be able to function!
I know all the hours my friends spend online and offline, prepping for a shoot, planing out storyboards for a video tutorial, answering emails and Twitter messages at gone midnight. It's endless.
But you can't work all the time and be at your best.
And I guess that's been my dilemma. I like being at my best. Even if the result doesn't match my expectations I want to believe I have tried my hardest. I have a constantly updating list of things I want to do when I retire, which makes my sister howl. Things I want to learn. I have a sewing machine that's never been touched since the Christmas of 2015 and if it stays untouched until I'm 65 then so be it. I'll give it my best then.
You can't do it all. I've tried - it makes you a slightly worse mother, wife and friend and so on. Not so bad that people give up on you but that they might stop relying on you. I don't want to be the person that will be there in a crisis but I might be 5 minutes late. And that's what happens when you spread yourself like watery icing on a Victoria sponge. Everything gets a coating but not enough for the sprinkles on the top.
My trouble is I know I am not willing to give up on anything. I love all my hats even if I know I can't wear them all at the same time. But there is a place for all of them, it's just about making sure I am not running on fumes.
Some things have to be done, like feeding the children, feeding the dogs, getting them to school on time (ish). Posting backdrop orders, ordering a new print run, development meetings with Persimmon Homes. Lots of hat switching going on and I love it. Bouncing from one thing to another - I just need to be at my best.
So I've had a rest from writing here, kept on top of the essentials and a little bit extra but now I am ready to write like I've been desperate too. For me, for brands I am lucky to work with and hopefully for you. If you got to this part!
I realised most of the time I take photos without thinking too much about it. Sometimes I set up a scene or slightly rearrange the sideboard or coffee table. But generally I snap away. I don't know why I have had such a block at sitting down and writing. Because anyone who knows me knows I have a lot to say and most of the time I don't shut up! I come from a long line of oversharers and I mean that in the nicest possible way. We don't really do off limits. We know each other's deepest secrets, darkest fears and are there for each other, most of the time over a FaceTime 4 times a day, but I have been overly guarded online.
Quiet and that's not me.
So I am going to write about what I want to shout about and take photos of things that make me feel alive. Not just happy, not just because they fit in a grid or will guarantee a certain number of double taps. I say take photos of what makes your heart happy. Because it shines through and just watch as all those strangers become friends, become invested in you, your home life, your work, and then watch all those double taps become real hearts. Connections.
I've fallen into every trap over the last 6 months. Not confronting things that feel wrong to me, not letting you know about all the highs that far outweigh the lows. I've just been too quiet, when really we've had so many adventures!
Well no more.
So how's your year been so far?!