Living Life to the Full

Remember how just before Christmas I was saying we don’t do things by halves? I seem to have taken that mantra into the new year. I’ve been trying to write this blog for about 6 weeks!

I have always been a person who is not very good at sitting still, not very good at having very little on my plate. However, when I came to Australia I vowed to myself to not get as busy as I had been before I left – I had a demanding job, a hectic social life and also had hobbies such as performing in amateur plays. I never seemed to have time to read anymore, and I was rarely at home of an evening. I was single too which made a difference.

And for the first 2 or 3 years of being out here I kept good on my promise to myself.

Then last year it all started to change. Not only did I start my book club in 2012 but I also started my boot camps and doing runs. And it all really kicked off with signing up for the 100km walk. Due to training I would lose an entire day of my weekend just to walking… sometimes on my own, and sometimes up to 40km. It was a great experience, but I did look forward to having my weekends back once I was finished with training and fundraising.

Last year we got engaged… so now there are wedding plans to be seen through, and the day keeps looming closer. When we got our official date late last August I was all “ahh it’s 22 months away no worries.”  And now it’s like 13 months less than a year away and all I’ve done is book venues, half-heartedly try on a couple of dresses, sign up for a personalised website, and start lots of spreadsheets (I love it).

Actually, that’s not true, I’ve sent out save the dates to the closest friends and family, especially overseas too and that was fun and we checked that off the list just after Christmas. So, now I’m into serious dress hunting mode, blog on that soon. And a general update on ‘where we’re at wedding-wise (wwaww)’ is coming soon too.

But let me tell you a bit about the pickle I got myself into over January pretty much through to the end of March.

Mr OC can work Saturdays – which is great. He picks up cash work and so he’s always been the person to bring in the extra dough when we need it.

I wanted to take control of bringing in some extra money myself and also start getting an idea of what it’s like to run a business for myself.

Before I knew it I was running my Scentsy business and pet-sitting in my spare time. I was doing my normal job in the day then driving off to feed cats and walk dogs before getting in late, making dinner (unless Mr OC had managed to get in before me) and seeing to our own pets before collapsing into bed. On my weekends I was getting chores done and trying to grow Polly’s Home Scents. On top of this I was doing the usual things: boot camp, running the book club (trying to find time to read the book too!).

Scentsy party
Scentsy party

Then things got a little crazy.

Things changed at work. As in, my real, salary-paying, office job. We got a CMO and we’d not had one of those in this company before and he was keen (rightfully so) to make an impact and change thing up. Get motivated, get some focus and give the team some proper direction. GREAT! Except it meant we were going to launch a series of multi-media campaigns, update the website (and our core messaging) and try and get some results (i.e. prospects) in a pretty short space of time. This meant a lot of work. A lot.

Not just that but if you’ve had a new boss who is trying to make an impact you will all know that this most definitely has a counter effect on you, the direct report. You have to prove yourself a) because they don’t know you so they don’t yet know how awesome you are, nor trust you and b) because it could mean the difference between career development or downfall.

Pressure is always added when they tell you that they don’t ‘do’ missed deadlines.

Yep… that probably means that what they do do is kicking people up the arse in a rather ginormous way. I hate dressing downs, I hate disappointing people – I’m a people pleaser. So, naturally I was quivering in my black suede Witchery gladiator sandals.

Before you could say “marketing fluff” I was trapped in a vice of huge weekly deadlines, weekly 7am on a Friday WIP (work in progress) conference calls, chasing suppliers in all corners of the globe and working so many hours that I didn’t even have the time to actually drive into work. I spent a lot of those few weeks rolling out of bed, walking-dead to my desk with a tea in hand at 6.45am and barely moving from said desk until I stumbled back towards my bed at midnight or thereabouts. I was constantly too late to bed and too exhausted to do boot camp the following morning and Mr OC barely knew what hit him. He usually works the longer hours and he would either get home to no me at home and no dinner, not fed cats etc  – it took him a week just to figure out that it was a REALLY bad idea to phone me up and ask me what was happening about dinner.

To be fair after an initial two or three weeks of this things did bear up and the late nights stopped – I managed to hit all my deadlines and having done so the pressure on me (both from myself and my new CMO) eased. But the craziness wasn’t finished yet. Oh no.

Prior to the new CMO and the arrival of my new constant high-pressure role I had agreed to help out for an entire month at the animal rescue I volunteer with  – I usually just do all their online stuff – Facebook, website, online pet profiles etc. But the rescue is small and family run and the owner was off to see her son married. So, I was going to help her daughter with running things for a month – we’re talking 20 cats, 4 dogs. But, whilst there were times, driving a cat to the vet or the mall pet shop in the pouring rain, whilst trying to answer a Skype call from my boss that I wondered if I had some kind of sickness. What on earth had I been thinking? Who on earth would be so mad to take on so much.

Beautiful Naya before she got herself adopted
Beautiful Naya before she got herself adopted

All of a sudden all the things I was proud to have built into my life in Australia were disappearing – outdoors time, exercise, decent sleep, organisation! And all the things I was aiming to NOT have return to my life were back – late nights, burning the candle at both ends, no time for exercise, can’t even remember if I’d had lunch etc etc. There is nothing wrong in working hard to achieve your goals, in losing some sleep, and losing some ‘something’ to get to where you need to get to. But the less time I have to exercise the more I’m susceptible to getting run down, the less time I have to keep my house reasonably tidy, the less tidy my mind becomes. Does that seem silly?

And during all these things happening we had Mr OC’s niece visiting from NZ, run a race (and did it well, bizarrely), plus the usual things that crop up in the calendar – birthdays etc. I was trying to do market stalls for Scentsy on the weekends, and we were also having problems with Beau (our 1 year old cat), we actually decided to take a gamble and get another kitten to see if this resolved any of his issues (see a future blog all about THAT drama). And amazingly Maxy did solve things. However, Maxy being a 3 month old kitten – along came the poop. Again more in that in another blog to follow. Suffice to say my stress levels were enough that my mother, gawd love her, sent me lovely Burt Bees pampering products as some kind of alleviation of my stress (obviously clearly perceived via a Skype call).

But there were up sides. There’ll be a blog about my pet-sitting and rescue experiences soon too… stay tuned. And the change of manager actually did wonders for my confidence and self esteem in my job.

Walking the toy poodles!
The toy poodles!

However, April has been quieter. I’ve deliberately said no to a few things. I’ve stopped trying to push certain things – pet-sitting is one, the word is out there, I still do it, but I can’t give up as much time to it as I imagined. Scentsy – is happening, but I’ve stopped doing markets though. They didn’t give me a good ROI. No point putting the time in if they’re not working for you – maybe further down the line it will be worth it.

Scentsy market
At the markets with Scentsy in the rain

And just last week I took 10 days off (a mixture of public holidays through Easter and my own leave) – I relaxed and I ticked a few jobs off the wedding list… because yes, that is now less than a year away. How did THAT happen?

But yeah, that’s also why I haven’t been on here much either. And to be honest I still feel pretty busy, so we’ll have to see how I go… it’s taken me since mid-March to type this and it’s now the 1st of May… and now I must go because Zazu our lorikeet is chirping on the balcony and we have moany neighbours (another joyful addition to this year in our new home… we DEFINITELY won’t be staying past the 12 months… goodbye renting… hello Australian mortgage … and yes another blog on that soon too… wow, lots to blog about and less time than ever to do it! I guess that’s the irony – more to blog about,  means more going on, means less time available to get the blog written!). Yikes!

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