~ Looking to the Future ~

The post below is something I wrote about two years ago and it was posted to a different blogroll I used to journal on. Reading through it today, I decided I wanted to add it to my Shadytree Books’ blogroll as a journal entry because it is a record of how I’ve set things down in writing, made my list of goals and seen them birthed. Since writing the piece below, some of the things I wrote about, especially about setting up a small business and the little ‘secret’ I shared have actually come to fruition or are very much in the process of coming to fruition. So, in a way to look to my future, I am going to check back on my past, using this post to see how I’ve fared so far. I’m not one to look back and dwell on the past, but it is a great checking device, a bit like a to do list tick box, for this particular assessment exercise.

I’ve always been an advocate for journalling and I’ve always valued journalling as a great checking tool, as well as helpful for storing memories.

 

Photo & Illustration Credit: Debbie Smith – 2017

So, let’s see how I’m doing …

A New Direction

At the end of 2015 I resigned from my teaching position in Brisbane to start a new phase in my life and begin something I’ve been dreaming about for awhile. After two years of commuting two-and-a-half hours each way from Noosa to Brisbane, a lot of the time in standstill traffic, and after much discussion with my lovely husband, it was decided.

Was this a hard decision?

Short answer – yes.

And, no.

Yes – because I will miss my lovely students, work colleagues and working at one of the best places you could wish for.

No – because I will not miss spending so much money on fuel or tolls. We own a reasonably economical 4-wheel drive beast who is very good on fuel, but also owns a massive fuel tank and the Brisbane City Council have a shark tank that’s called Go Via that just seems to be more hungry these days for business vehicles.

And no (again) – because I won’t miss the restrictive five hours of sitting behind the wheel where mostly I thought of all the things I could be doing. Believe me, I did try to keep busy or find ways to entertain myself like ‘writing’ via recording, but I found out I’m not really cut out for this and found it very distracting. I tried listening to POD casts, and that was okay too. But, what I really wanted to do was be behind my desk, just like I am now, putting words on paper and watching ideas spill out onto the blank sheet. It’s a favourite thing of mine to do.

And yes (again) – because I will miss the companionship and singing hubby buddy who commuted for half of my trip both days. We’d often be found with the easy listening community radio station Sunshine Coast FM 104.9 cranked up to sing along with all our all time favourites. At least on 104.9, we knew all the words to most of the songs. Now I’m giving away our age, aren’t I?

But like the old adages say, ‘all good things must come to an end’, and ‘when one door closes another opens’.

Coming to a Decision

Well sometimes sayings aren’t always helpful, though they are good as general reminders.

It took me months of deep thinking on my own before I even raised the idea with my trusted confidante – hubby. After I discussed my thoughts with him initially nothing changed or was sorted. I just tested the waters and listened to what my ideas sounded like.

Then came months of mulling it over in silence, writing down my T plan to work through the positives on one side and the negatives on the other. After this I located my life plan goals and read through what I had written down years ago. Then hubby and I had more discussions. He was sold on the idea. I needed more convincing, although by this stage, I was leaning more towards making the decision to resign.

Everyone’s circumstances are different when it comes to making a big life decision like this. I know some people don’t think as hard or take as long as I did, but I just wanted to make sure I’d make the best decision for everyone it would affect. I have a very loyal nature and stay true to those I am committed to, including employers. And for some of us who are a little more mature than others, it is also very scary to be taking the plunge into new and uncharted waters. Sometimes it pays to play things safe. But for me, playing it safe isn’t always the best option. Taking risks can be empowering and can drive you to creative problem solving techniques.

Once the decision was made – EVERYTHING just seemed to fall into place.

People ask me, how’s retirement? And I cringe and burr up a bit when I hear these words, surprisingly. Some are joking, while others, aren’t. I’m one of those people who will never retire unless my eyes fail me or some other health condition robs me from being able to do what I want to do. So, there’s no retirement plans in place for me. But, I do know one thing for sure – an adventure beckons.

So, for the record … I’m not retired.

I am busier now than I’ve ever been; setting up a new business, proofreading for a couple of SunnyCoast authors and being where my heart is – behind my desk, or finding creative and interesting places to write near.

There is also a very small ‘happy secret’ I’m keeping close to my heart that’s taking up a little bit of my thoughts and plans during my days and nights, as well. One day soon, I hope to be able to share with you what it is, but for now, I’m keeping it a secret.

I hope you follow along with me and experience my new journey. This commute is one I’m going to treasure and I wonder where it is going to lead me?

Update:

So, I did resign … check.

Did anything dire happen because of it? … No! It has given me freedom to explore and challenge myself. The pay at the moment is lousy, but hey, it takes time to build a business or the Taj Mahal, so I’m not complaining. I can feel it slowly taking shape.

New small business … check. The birth of Shadytree Books happened.

New website … check. With the wonderful help from Mardi Cavana of Neonrobot. Mardi listened to what I was striving to achieve and she helped me make it happen. I’ve had some wonderful compliments about the website. I am learning to navigate myself around it and I’m sure there’s plenty for me to discover, but I figure I’ve got plenty of time. In the beginning I was so nervous to use it, but I’m slowly getting the hang of things.

Miss the kidlets? … yes, but working on bringing some creative writing love and tutoring love to Noosa. Now working with some newbies and having fun.

Writing? … YES!!! I have a Picture Book manuscript in with a publisher and I’m waiting to hear back from the editor. I was invited to send an edited version of the story submitted to a manuscript assessment to an editor at the CYA Conference this year (2017). I’m just starting out with submissions, and this was the first time this had happened, so I am happy and excited and realise that if I keep plugging away, something just might happen. In the meantime and while I wait, I am planning and writing my first middle grade novel. It’s a horse lovers’ story. I have almost finished the first draft and I am currently working through plot changes, character profiles and looking for ways to improve my first draft.

Blogging? … stalled but slowly picking up as I schedule time for it to become a priority.

Retirement? … pffffh!

Happy secret? … Well, this kind of happened … meet our new little grandson, Euwing … born 29 April 2016

Proud Oma and Grandad with our little darling grandson, Euwing in the hospital.

Photo credit: J & C Engle

 

Nature walks with Oma. You can never start them early enough.

Photo credit: J & C Engle

Happy as a honey bee buzzing around a honey pot!

Photo credit: Debbie Smith

Hats on while soaking up the rays.

Photo Credit: J & C Engle

Does this shoe look good on me?

Photo credit: J Engle

1st birthday – Oma made Euwing’s little dragon outfit for his dragon party

Photo credit: Debbie Smith

These are the sands of good times …

Photo credit: Debbie Smith

Garden construction time with friendly CEO

Photo credit: Debbie Smith

Nothing beats rolling around in a pile of leaves for fun.

Photo credit: Debbie Smith

Verdict

After looking back to see how far I’ve come and toward the future, I can see the progress I’ve made and I’m happy. Shadytree Books’ tutoring service is up and running and in the next week or so, we will be hosting our first ever Children’s Creative Writing and Art workshops, so I’m excited. I look forward to meeting new students, sharing my passions and helping them strive toward their potential. But most of all, I love that I get to work out of my small home-based studio and I’m having fun. I hope some of you who stop by to see what we’re up to here at Shadytree Books will get excited to. Slow and steady wins the race, so they say, and I have a feeling, that this may be true.

If you have a story about a major change in your career and want to share how you transitioned through it, please tell us in the Comments. We’d love you to share your stories with us.

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Thanks for visiting and we look forward to catching up with you next time.