THE UNCOMFORATBLE ITCH
I got that feeling.
You know the one that tells you that something isn’t quite right. That tap on the shoulder (or slug to the stomach,) that says, ‘Hey you! What are you doing?”
I’ve sat with this feeling for a couple of years now. It’s that invisible friend that continuously asks you why you are doing what you are doing and when are you going to start looking after yourself. I should have entertained this friend a long time ago.
Quite simply, I was running myself ragged. Kids and family life were and are still darn busy. Although I liked it this way, and I still do, the reality was it didn’t have enough of me actively in it. Nor was I really very happy. My own health wasn’t the greatest either, because I didn’t have the energy to make the time to prioritise it. Work and ambition were beating me up.
Sound familiar? Perhaps this is what they call a midlife crisis. I am forty after all.
ACCEPTING THE CHALLENGE
After having my third child six years ago, I hadn’t planned on returning to full time work. But as things would have it, I found myself in an opportunity I was driven to and found myself working 5 days a week.
I am a big believer in putting things out into the universe, manifesting my future. So, when the opportunity to become an Assistant Principal came knocking on my door, I took it on with full force.
Those who know me well know that I don’t do things by halves. I jump in, saying yes first and then I work on the how. I always have. I’m not afraid of change. I love it. I find it motivating. Perhaps it’s the teacher in me, but I have a deep love of learning new things, and an urgency to know how to do it, yesterday.
So, as one does, I threw myself in.
GET IT DONE!
The shift in gears at first was in exhilarating. I am not afraid of hard work. I’m a big picture girl who sees the dream, understands the road map and reads the directions. If they are in any way unclear, I rewrite them. My colleagues would call this ‘Kate-if-y’ them.
I get things done! Quickly. I pride myself on efficiency and on prioritising the important things to achieve the best results. I have very high expectations of myself, hence why I get things done. I also expect high standards of others too. By this I mean, show a dedicated commitment, work to your strengths and try your best. And, the same goes for my students, and children.
It sounds a little intense, I know. But I honestly believe that if you have mediocre expectations then you cannot complain about mediocre results.
THE NEED TO RESET
In the race to make significant educational impact, I came across many obstacles. I wore my heart on my sleeve and I worked darn hard. When I was faced with challenges, I set about improving things, creating action and shifting outcomes district wide. I opened my door to everyone and took great joy in imparting my knowledge and sharing my tricks of the trade with others.
But, there are only so many times one is willing to be undervalued.
Ironically, budget concerns saw my 5 years of relieving Assistant Principal come to an abrupt end. A giant full stop. In permanent ink. Then, COVID! Phase 1. Lockdown.
A massive, soul destroying mind bomb and oddly enough, a very clear message from the universe.
A CREATIVE ADJUSTMENT
was in fact a real delight. We all needed time to stop. I needed time to process and evaluate and just sit with myself for a while. Away from the unwavering chaos. Time to evaluate where and on who my time and energy was worth spending and what this looked like.
I found therapy in painting again. I had the time to get lost in the moment. I had forgotten how much I missed the joy of painting and being creative and my family noticed.
The more I created, the more I shared with my friends and the interest in buying my work came in hard and fast. So, in typical Kate fashion I opened my business and Instagram page on the 6th May 2020. Just four months ago.
I told you, I don’t do things by halves.
A NEW BEGINNING
This time the story has a different theme. I am in control of this phase of my life. I’m calling the shots and I am in love. I have a fresh perspective on life. I’m putting myself before others. Not in a selfish way, but in a self love kind of a way.
It’s truly only early days, but nonetheless, I am overwhelmed at the countless conversations I have had with colleagues, friends and strangers about the sense of needing to change something in their lives. The heavy burden of being unhappy, but continuing on, because that is what we do.
I am also overjoyed with the connections I have made already with women all over the country and the world, extending their support and imparting their knowledge. Incredible women that I have never even met, and probably in most cases, never will. I am in love with this newly found freedom to choose how I spend my days and all of the wonderful opportunities to learn new skills. I am giddy with excitement about calling the shots and moving away from the limitations, creating my own boundaries and living unapologetically.
So, at the moment I am happy to only be teaching three days a week. I’m not ready to give it away entirely because I love the kids, I love teaching and I’m darn good at it. But, when I am not teaching, I am doing something for me. I’m refilling my cup, my way.
Sometimes that will mean self care. Sometimes it will be taking a moment to simply enjoy the precious time I have with my family. It obviously will include something creative.
And on some days, I’ll sell a painting or two.