I’ve just been re-writing my about page to try and reflect what I’m writing and what I want from life.
I cast my mind back to my early career and how, as a late nineties graduate, it was assumed women could do anything, be anything. There were no barriers. Well, there certainly weren’t in my mind. And no-one ever put any in my way. (Other than being asked at a job interview whether I’d be having children in the near future. I mean, what?!)
I was excited about my career in business and marketing. It didn’t occur to me that I might not like it. That I might not be fulfilled by this fast-paced world. I just assumed I’d be a career woman. Nothing was going to stop me.
Except, I stopped myself.
Writing this, four years ago to the day we moved to the countryside, I hadn’t realised I yearned for a slower pace of life. I hadn’t realised I hankered for a life similar to the ones both my grandmas had. Country living, fresh air, early mornings, chickens, baking, gardening.
And, for a while, I felt guilty. Guilty about being able to take a slower pace of life. Of being able to sit at my desk and write, then pop out to feed the chickens their afternoon tea, of baking cakes before collecting the children from school.
It all sounds a bit homely, like the working women of the past few generations have struggled for nothing. For me to give the career a go then just to undo all their hard work.
But, then I realised, thanks to their pioneering efforts, I have that choice. I can make a career that suits me. And, thanks to the wonders of modern technology and social media and my compulsion to write and write, I have the joy of making a living from these slower daily actions.
And now I feel I want to get up early. Not to catch the train but to open the back door and breathe. Foggy and frosty mornings are best for this, but sunny mornings are also good. Even the smell of rain is powerful. It’s all about taking in the moments.
Watching the year pass through the seasons: being aware when the blossom bursts, when the leaves come; when they go, of that first frost, those hot, sticky mornings, the distant sound of a chicken laying an egg, the fresh aroma of newly mown grass, the harvest, the apples and pears; currently the size of currants, beginning to grow on the fruit trees.
I find Instagram brilliant for taking in those moments. Since I first downloaded the app I’ve been more aware of what is happening around me. So I’ve created a hashtag for the times in the day when you consciously realise what is happening outdoors. It could be that first blossom of the year, the first rose and its glorious smell, the fields changing colour, moody, thundery summer skies, a leaf falling signifying the beginning of autumn.
An appreciation for the simple. Those moments we take for granted, but are incredibly special.
Do join in.