Monday, 23 May 2011

The life and works of daydreamingmel

Once upon a time (not a million years ago) I worked in an office, and my days looked like this:

My very grey office of old.

Although working in fashion is supposed to be exciting, I was horribly bored a lot of the time. I wasn't being stretched, the work wasn't very fulfilling, and it was only liking my colleagues (and the lack of a suitable alternative) that kept me there for almost three years.

Then one day I found the perfect* job at a shiny happy company. I worked from home, and my new office looked like this:
*Note to self: there is no such thing as the perfect job: idolising anything without having tried it first is a BAD THING. But if you've been reading for a while, you'll already know this. Anyway, back to the story. My office looked like this...
My home office, it wasn't usually this tidy though!
 Or some mornings THIS was my office:

A patch of sunshine in my favourite cafe
 Or actually more like this:

Sunny Kensington High Street

The best time of day - a Winter sunset

Easily one of my favourite buildings in London
After years as a battery hen, I was free-range! I saw so many beautiful autumnal sunsets, I spent a night in Brighton and dropped in to a shala there, I fell in love with bits of London I'd never been to before, I learned not to be quite so terrified by driving my car as I watched the great British countryside roll by....

But it wasn't enough. 

And at the end of March I found myself out of work (I've written a LOT more about this in earlier posts in case you want the full story...), having come to the realisation that I wanted something different out of my work. And now, at almost the end of May, I am even more free-range than ever before. Put simply, I haven't earned any money in a while. But a few interesting things have been happening.
The first is that I did NOT have a freakout. Of course, I had moments of "ohmygodwhatamigoingtodo??", it's only natural to have a few of those. But what didn't happen was a total panicked meltdown. I just had faith that something would come up. This was massively helped by the phonecall I got just hours after the meeting which terminated my contract, asking me to work on a freelance sales basis for a small childrenswear brand my friend used to work for. This took a while to set up, and whilst I am officially doing it now, it's a bit of an in-between time in terms of selling, so there's not a huge amount I can do. And as I work on a commission-only basis, there's nobody calling and demanding to know how many customers I saw this week (good job too, as the answer is: not that many!). But knowing that I at least had the prospect of something only hours after losing my job definitely helped me to keep the faith.

The most interesting thing I have found is that the open-minded approach I found in Goa (where I started to believe that if I wanted to, I really could do ANYTHING - and there's no such thing as a bad idea) has stayed with me. I have come up with some pretty mad-cap ideas (even by my standards) but I have allowed these ideas to flow without judgement, and I have understood that each of these ideas or thoughts is part of a larger process. Take this as an example: one day I heard a rumour that the lease was about to expire on our shala. After the initial panic that it was about to close down, my brain went into a total mad spin where I decided that I could take it on (I told you it was mad!) and I started to make a plan to try and find out the full story. Meanwhile, I decided that if I was going to try such a thing, I really should get some experience and offer to take on some of the volunteer shifts at the shala in exchange for classes. Meanwhile, I found out that the lease story was completely untrue, and was just told to somebody who was complaining about something with regards to the shala and was told it to keep them from moaning (but then they started talking to other people about it). It was just a red herring! But instead of being disappointed I decided to press on with my plan to volunteer, but to do it at a different yoga centre instead which offered more classes (and which I go to from time to time and fork out for said other classes - kirtan, namely!). And what should happen the very day I plan to seek out the contact details to send in my CV? The yoga centre in question advertises for new front of house staff, and I decide that I may as well apply to earn actual money instead of just free classes.
And guess what happened? Yep, I start in 2 weeks time. AND it fits in well with the kidswear sales job, which seems to be evolving into something of a (cough,cough - unpaid - for now at least) consultancy role, which is like the job I had for 5 years and LOVED (before the grey days of the fashion office) and is really getting my creative juices flowing. So my days unfold like this: I get up for practice, a little later than I would if I had to be somewhere, then I either head home afterwards for breakfast and chill out for the day, or I go and see some customers or potential customers after breakfast in my favourite cafe, before coming home to do some baking, sewing, blog-reading or - well, whatever I fancy doing really (which generally involves anything except cleaning the flat or writing this blog). It's a tough life :)

Another way that I'm following my gut (though maybe it's crazy) is that next weekend I am heading off to Dublin to practice with Peter Sanson who I met in London last month. When I met him I just had the strongest feeling that I HAD to go, so I put some things on ebay and bit the bullet and booked it. I'm not saying that I think my life will change as a consequence of going to Ireland, but I just had an strong feeling (stronger than just that I want to go!) that I should go, so I'm going. After all, my instincts seem to be pretty trustworthy at the moment.
I am also putting this into perspective. Two months without (much) work seems like an awfully long time on the one hand, but on the other hand it is an absolute luxury, and in years to come I'm sure I will look back on this time with great fondness and gratitude that it happened at all. And whilst I am still having the occasional moment where I wonder how I'm going to pay my car tax or my credit card bill, I have to just keep having faith that these things will work themselves out. Because afterall without faith, what have we got? 


  1. I LOVE this soooooooo much (i read it all!!!!!) LOL.

    No really, kidding aside, I am so proud of you for following your heart. It takes great courage to do what you've done.

    FAITH. In-bloody-deed xxxxx

  2. This is great to read. I'm also about to be out of paid employment, and it's interesting how everyone but me seems to see it as such a major disaster. Having no dependents and enough money to get by is a luxury, glad you're enjoying it and that a job's come up in time to keep you in the manner to which you've become accustomed - i.e. to keep funding the yoga!

  3. Jen love i kept it short just for you!! ;) You will know when the time is right for bravery - it was easier for me in a sense, because I didn't have to make a decision, I just had to deal with the situation that arose. but yeah, FAITH!

    Ragdoll I'm glad you feel the same way! Perhaps I'll change my mind once my regular-salary-buffer has run out, but for now as long as I can pay for yoga and life's other essentials (the mortgage...) then I will be happy. Also it's a very interesting lesson in learning to spend mindfully and really consider the value of money, and of work.Each penny I spend I consider,and think about what I have to do to earn it - after quite a lot of years of just spending what I wanted. But you're right that it is the ultimate luxury, so I'm glad you're feeling positive about it too!

  4. Hi Mel, Great to hear things are going well for you. As Jen says it takes great courage to surrender, so much of our identity can be tied up in what we do, which of course isn't who we are at all. Great to have an opportunity to let go, well done for seizing it. :-)

  5. So pleased things are looking up again for you Mel.

    There are times when you just know it's right to follow your instinct, even at the cost of Take That tickets LOL

    A few of us seem to be heading for unemployment by the sound of it

  6. I have to join in the chorus: I LOVE this post! So happy to hear that you're happy being 'free-range' (heehee), allowing yourself to dream and listen to your instincts. We don't give enough credit to our instincts than it deserves, in my opinion, and I honestly believe that having faith that life will work itself out is sometimes the best ticket to living the life that we desire. Go you! :)

  7. I live for this kind of story. Yay!

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