I've cut my working days down to just two hours, five days a week, and I work once a week for five hours. I used to feel like I had to justify these kind of decisions. I still do a little but I'm learning how to quieten that voice. The voice that says I'm an imposter and should feel guilty about working less. That voice that whispers "you can only be successful if you're exhausted". I've tried to work from that headspace for a long time. Combined with ADHD, I just burn out and it's not a sustainable way to live.
I'm halfway through my pregnancy and five years into self-employment. Why make the leap to work for myself in the first place, if I wasn't going to savour days like today? Why move to the countryside if I wasn't going to embrace a slower pace or at least try to?
Part of my decision to cut down my hours, which I actioned last week, is so that I can focus on redirecting my business. Arts and crafts have always been a huge part of my service to caring for disabled or elderly people at home and I want this to become the main aspect of what I do. But I'm no longer feeling the need to rush. I want to appreciate the journey more and not just race towards the destination.
My morning consisted of dropping Jack and the dog off at the private estate he helps to manage, as he'd left his car there over the weekend, whilst he visited a friend in Leeds. Then I drove for ten minutes to my first client and completed the usual routine of keeping an ear out whilst he showered, assisted him with dressing and made his meals for the day. Just over an hour later, I drove another ten minutes to reach my second and last client of the day. Prior to her operation, we would organise our time so we could concentrate on crafts. Now she understandably needs more support with day to day activities, which I'm happy to do but I have faith that we can resume our creative pursuits, as she recovers and strengthens. As I began my seven minute 'commute' home, I stopped after a couple of minutes to engage in private prayer at one of the beautiful local churches. This peaceful building is one of the places I am able to cast my mind to what God has done in my life. It felt strange and almost unreasonable to be so happy and grateful whilst thinking of those fleeing Ukraine. I hope they feel God's peace in these difficult and terrible times. But it is a harsh and humbling fact that conflict is always happening somewhere in the world, whilst I go about my easy day in the picturesque Vale of Belvoir. I have to remind myself that I am not to blame for this and that I must remain humble and aware of my privileges.
Once home, I called my best friend for an hour - a lovely part to most of my days. Whilst we chatted away, I put away my clothes, straightened up the house and had some (what I suppose was) brunch. This is not a romanticised notion, just a simple fact that I often forget to eat until around 11.30ish... just another thing I can thank my ADHD for. After these tasks, I didn't want to miss out on the sunshine so had to force myself to do the smelly but necessary dog poo pick, which I rewarded myself for by doing an Instagram live video tour of my garden progress and new allotment project. You can view that video here.
After organising a few more things back inside, the spring sunshine called me back outside. Its warm glow was punctuated with cold breezes each time it wandered back behind a cloud. I positioned my garden chair to catch the last of the slowly descending sun. As I picked up my pen to write, two long-tailed tits flew down to feast on the feeder, just one metre away. As I neared the end of this reflective and somewhat self-justifying journal entry, two dunnocks hopped along the ground. They pecked at the seeds that had fallen from the feeder for just a few seconds before they spotted me and flew away. But the garden, surrounded by blue sky yet enclosed by trees on all sides, was still filled with the chattering of the house sparrows. A number of them were perched under roof tiles and on drain pipes; probably wanting to also enjoy the treats hanging from the feeder.
By this time my toes were very cold and the sun had gone behind a large conifer, so I retreated inside to let the birds enjoy their banquet.
Not everyday feels this idyllic, but as I sense lighter mornings and evenings approaching us, I think I'll be expecting more days to savour like this. The first half of my pregnancy has gone so quickly and every day, I visualise carrying our baby through the garden and pointing out the treasure to be found there.