Life so far for me has been rich and varied. Growing up as a child of a military father, the only constant in life was moving from place to place. In my mid - late teens I found myself in Hong Kong having moved there with family, where I decided to stay on and work. What a decision that was! I feel absolutely blessed to have lived and worked in such a diverse environment and alongside so many nationalities and cultures. I strongly believe this stood me in great stead for future life and my confidence blossomed. After moving back to the UK life has flown by. I am a very proud mother of 2 hugely talented children, have a wonderful husband and my career accelerated in the finance industry. I decided to push for working arrangements that suited both employer and employees and early on lead many initiatives such as 'working from home' (which was unheard of back in the 90's) and push for salary reviews by gender! (sadly still a topic of huge controversy). Brave....perhaps....I saw it as merely building a strong work ethic that allowed the voice of the people to be heard within large organisations, but also I guess it was me making decisions on what I felt passionate about.
At the tender age of 48 I had a life changing experience that made me re-assess what drove inner happiness and calm, and I chose to step off of the corporate ladder a year or so later and take some 'me' time. Another life decision that I questioned so many times, but felt fully empowered in, as it was after all my decision. Now I fully appreciate that many of us find ourselves in situations where decisions are made for us, but we still have the opportunity to decide where to go from there.
Coming out of a hugely pressurised job into the calm and stillness of being at home with loved ones, does not come without it's own challenges. The sudden shift in pace of life and the almost complete removal of responsibility can render you feeling almost invisible and I personally felt like I had lost a purpose in life. At this point I chose to explore things I had never tried before, in particular crafts and using a different part of my brain. Silversmithing was at first an interest, or a hobby, but it soon grew into something else.
The next decision was if I wanted to make something of it, and this one came almost organically where I was approached to make pieces for friends and family. I often ask artisans why they do what they do, and some of them say 'it's what I studied at school and university' but sometimes I hear similar stories to mine, in that they chose a different path in life and grew from there.
Several times I have been told...'wow you're brave, changing life like you have' but I see it more as a decision that I made when I knew sub-consciously that I really needed a change, for my own well-being and health. Not bravery atall, it's quite logical to me.
If you find yourself in situations where you are feeling completely caught up in a life that you do not enjoy, trust yourself that you CAN make decisions - seeing them through is a step up from that. I feel that our big life decisions are based upon many inputs; emotions, assessment of prolonged mental states (i.e. are you more often unhappy or frustrated than the reverse), how much energy you put into things etc. The term 'go-for-it' is sometimes used for the most insignificant things but when it comes to big life decisions......trust yourself, really 'GO FOR IT' if you feel you are able to maintain a standard of living that you really want.
My check list for making such decisions always includes;
- Can I afford, financially, to do this
- Will I have support to move through the various stages of adjustment
- Do I have the mental strength to see things through
- Do I have other options to fall back on if things don't go to plan
Of course the list is far more extensive than that, but I feel if you really ask yourself deep down that you are unhappy in what you are doing (which may be a change from how you felt before - which is absolutely fine) feel brave to explore options and make decisions. What's the worst thing that can happen :)
This is me, back in my corporate days. Yup - professional, but when I look at this I feel that I look tired.
I had a hugely successful career - leaving the finance industry as a Senior Director - I knew I had proven to myself that I 'had what it takes' to work within a relatively male dominated environment - and survive. All 5 foot 1 of me :)
Me starting out in the jewellery business
What I see here is a somewhat inexperienced silversmith who was 'giving it a go'. Totally out of my comfort zone, but actually quite proud of what I was doing..... still learning, but making some hugely important pieces for engagements and weddings - people actually trusted me with that, and I felt and still do feel, so very blessed that I had that support.
One of my earlier craft fairs, where, aside from yet another change in colour of my hair, I can see myself here as someone who was really 'giving it a go' now and absolutely loving life. This makes me smile!
I decided to make 100 pieces of jewellery, not only to increase my skills, but also hone in on what I like to make. It was here that the Asian theme really emerged, and the link with nature.
Another 'stripy top' that seems to be a regular uniform in my work now :)
Here I was 'giving it another go' learning further skills in enamelling. Another 'string to my bow' can mean having a back up plan if things don't go to plan..... I see it as adding another tool to my tool bag of skills so that I can continue to grow and develop in jewellery making. As that is now my chosen path.....one I decided to go down and one I certainly do not regret.