Some of you may have been wondering where I have disappeared to and a number have been kind enough to contact me out of concern and check that everything is okay and say how much you miss my posts and inspiration. That’s been so lovely and encouraging to hear. It’s nice to know I’ve been missed.
I thought I should give you an update and an explanation, assure you that we are absolutely fine and I have just taken a break from the digital world. Inspired by Ed Sheeran’s “digital detox”, I discovered having had a break over the Christmas holidays with a trip to visit family in the UK (some photos shared here), that really I didn’t miss it. To be perfectly frank, maintaining social media caused me more stress and anxiety than I had realised and it really wasn’t a necessary or intrinsically valuable part of my day or life. I realised it was putting unnecessary pressure on me professionally and I had enough on my plate without adding to it from the digital world.
So I consciously uncoupled from social media and it’s doing me the world of good. I have gained back so many more hours in the day and frankly for me a better quality of life. I am watching my children with my eyes, I am having more conversations with friends and family, I am reading more books and magazines, I am absorbing life, noticing and appreciating things around me and engaging in the real world. Instead of grabbing my phone at any given moment throughout the day when I have a spare second or am bored, and scrolling zombie-like through images which I glance at for split seconds, liking or commenting and replying endlessly, I just stop and find something else to do. I’m more relaxed. I’ve enjoyed the anonymity.
It took a while to stop the knee-jerk reaction, but I have taught myself not to do it. I’ve gained perspective back. I feel liberated. I didn’t realise how much I had come to rely on my phone for amusement, distraction, company and entertainment and how it had begun to control me.
Professionally, I was also unaware of how much the culture of social media was impacting my sense of self, my confidence, my mood, either lifting me up or putting me down. I was often feeling judged, sometimes criticised, and felt the uneasy pressure of unwanted demands or expectations put on me. Now I’m oblivious to it. I don’t know what anyone else is doing, if they’re doing it better or worse, how many followers or likes anybody has or how I compare. It’s a big weight off my shoulders.
Of course, this isn’t for everybody and I don’t judge those who spend time on social media or find it valuable, inspiring or rewarding, who genuinely rely on it for business and work or who derive pleasure from it. But now I don’t wake up each day stressing about what I’m going to post or how to increase my followers! I realised it was a nonsense and only added to my stress related anxiety and health issues which I have been able to manage much more effectively since stopping. Each to his own, that’s what works for me. This may not be forever, but for the time being I’m enjoying the freedom.
As for my work, I made some resolutions over the new year about my direction for 2017. I love interior decorating and design, it’s my passion and obsession, it’s my job, my hobby, but I have never been very good at making money from this business and basically persevere because I love it and get a thrill from helping people create beautiful homes. I’m a creative person, not good with numbers and my bottom line can attest to that!
I’m self taught and continue to learn every day. I’ve spent thousands of hours over the years teaching myself and learning how to do this better. There aren’t many courses that teach you the business of interior design, and that’s the tricky part. I juggle everything myself between school drop off and pickup. But I can only do what I can do and am not prepared to outsource my kids to a team of nannies. I realised I’m not that driven or prepared to sacrifice my family for my career. I’ve come to accept and appreciate my limitations. So I’ll never be a high end designer with staff and multiple projects every year with huge budgets, or have books, fabric lines or a string of shops. I heard a style expert recently make a disparaging reference to “housewife decorators with an ABN” pretending to be designers, but I’m one and proud of it.
I’ve met some wonderful clients and people doing this over the past 5 years, who have been genuinely appreciative and grateful for my help. And had a few amazing mentors who have been invaluable to me. It’s a tricky business to make money in, particularly doing it part time like I do and even harder from Bowral. And as I’ve learned from my not terribly successful ventures last year, I’m absolutely rubbish at retail!
I’ve learnt where my strengths are and what I should focus on. I’m confident in my own personal style, I do what I love, I do what I do well and I’m happy to share my knowledge and experience with others. I hope my clients have found me to be a nice, helpful and generous person and got value for money. I’m not precious or elitist about it, (seriously, has a decorator ever been named Australian of the Year or won the Nobel Prize!), but am just happy to help and share what I know.
So my next venture is doing what I do best and what has always been successful, enjoyable and profitable. Renovating. No, we’re not moving! My husband and I are teaming up in business to renovate houses here in the Highlands, and I’m sure we’ll make a good team. He has the left side of the brain, and I have the right. He does the outside and I do the inside. He manages the money and I spend it. What could be better!
We have bought an investment property here in Bowral which we are renovating to sell. Along with just about everybody else it seems! It’s going to be done in my style, true to myself! I’m so excited. Picking tiles, designing kitchens and bathrooms, sourcing tapware, making furnishings, picking wallpapers and paint colours is what I absolutely love. It’s a no brainer. Hopefully it will be the first of many.
So, I want to thank you for sticking with me. I don’t buy my followers or pay for someone to comment for me. I don’t engineer my posts or work it to get the most likes or followers. I have always simply done what feels right, have always tried to be a truthful and honest version of myself. I hope you have loved what I do and enjoyed being invited into my home and life. I believe you follow me genuinely because you are vested in me and hopefully what I’m able to give to you. I truly value and appreciate the loyalty, interest and kindness you have demonstrated over the years.
I am off to work on my renovating budget now, and create something really fabulous and beautiful for someone else to love. I will share the project with you on the blog from time to time as it progresses, and of course the final reveal. That’s a part I do enjoy. I’m even thinking of holding some workshops down here at some point to share my knowledge and help you with your projects. We housewife decorators need to stick together! So please let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in.