What changed my life this year?
I thought I’d share the big things that made a significant impact on my happiness, life + abundance.
I wrote these up as part of my 2014 round up in the 2015 Create Your Shining Year in Life workbook. This reflection stuff is really damn important I reckon.
Make sure you book a date with yourself + do this work, hey? It’s like tilling the soil ready for next year’s harvest.
On with the show!
I made a real-friends-only private Facebook account
I’ve been blogging for over ten years now.
I’ve been pretty vulnerable + a total open-book.
The lines of public persona and private Leonie were very blurred (if non existant).
I shared everything with everyone.
I was in the midst of it all.
It really worked for me for a long time.
And then it didn’t.
It became difficult because:
- My real life friends found it hard to contact me because of the volume of messages my public profiles received.
- I felt like I was censoring myself because I didn’t want to offend anyone (there’s always someone who is offended on the internet!) and I also didn’t want to receive unsolicited opinions (about my pregnancy, illness, kids, swearing, not swearing, what I should think, what I shouldn’t post about etc etc. It can get exhausting to hear so many voices telling you what you should do – especially when you aren’t actually requesting advice).
- I felt like I was somehow regulating my social-media-sharing based on marketing principles (i.e. not posting too much off topic, not posting many outward bound links, not posting rapid fire over the space of a couple of minutes).
- I was going through the final stages of my pregnancy with Mermaid Daughter #2, with nine months of hyperemesis gravidarum hell under my belt. I needed a safe place where I could bitch + moan, knowing I would be held by people I had close, real relationships with.
So I ended up creating a personal profile.
And I friended just a small group of friends that I actually know + trust in real life (LIKE ERMAGERD).
Ones that I talk to regularly. Ones that I audit often to make sure I feel safe sharing what I share with them.
And then I let all my balls hang out.
My sweaty, sweaty, human, vulnerable balls.
Dangling in the wind.
I swear. I complain. I get super bitchy. I do political rants. I give not one flying fuck whether anything I post is liked or not.
Zero strategy goes into it apart from:
It’s ended up becoming a little hangout.
Where my friends meet each other and we all talk shit.
And it’s very naughty and inappropriate.
And it’s also safe and kind and filled with familiar faces.
And in some ways it feels like the end of an era, because I used to just be balls out everywhere.
But now I’m not.
I think it’s a factor of age, and privacy concerns for my kids, and increasing public profile.
Having said that – I don’t see myself as hiding away anytime soon.
I like this – this act of creation – far too much.
I adore tapping words out into the screen. A love letter to the world.
It’s okay if it isn’t always loved back.
It feels good however, to have that little private treehouse filled with just the people I know personally.
My lil business is not just me. It’s a company. It’s growing up. It has its own mission in the world, its own energy.
It’s not just me anymore.
And both me + ze company needed to separate our boundaries a little bit more.
And I needed to have more of a strictly non-biz part to my life.
Otherwise it would overtake everything and then burnout.
I recommend the experience.
In this age of social media-ing… I just want you to know you can still have your “just for you to talk shit and have fun with your mates without worrying about other people” zones.
I Got A Pilates Private Instructor
After Mermaid Daughter #2 was born, I knew I needed something to help get my body back on track after nine months of total depletion.
I was weak as a kitten after being bedridden for so long, and so nutritionally depleted.
I was also still suffering from hypermobility (loose, dislocating joints/jaw/back/hips) from pregnancy + breastfeeding hormones.
So yus, needed to do something. Something exercise-y. Something to build strength again, without doing damage.
I was recommended pilates (because it specifically can help with hypermobility + my busted up core strength).
I started looking at pilates classes, and trying to work out how it would fit into our life.
I knew that with our current life, I’d make it to one – maybe two – pilates classes before everything falling in a heap.
So I decided to set myself up for success.
I’d learned from two successful women – Ali Brown and Barbara Corcoran – that the only way they fit exercise in was having a private instructor come to their house.
I asked the pilates teacher if she could come to our house for a private session, to teach me and Chris (while Mermaid Daughter #1 and #2 hung out on the verandah with us).
It felt completely bloody scary to do it, to be honest.
I thought – who am I to deserve this? Only super rich people are allowed to do this.
(It’s so interesting what our inner money thoughts can be!)
It ended up being not that much more expensive than class tickets for both me and Chris, and definitely cheaper than if we’d gone together and hired a babysitter.
Plus, this way it ended up actually HAPPENING.
Which is worth a whole lot in terms of productivity, health + mental clarity.
So yes, it’s ended up being wonderful.
Plus, I got to meet some wonderful teachers/new friends along the way.
One day, after a particularly stressful work week, I plopped down on the pilates mat, and just told our instructor to life coach me. And she did. (Luckily, she’s also a life coach + a seasoned entrepreneur).
I’ll definitely continue on this path of having a private pilates instructor weekly.
Thus far, it’s the only way I can really commit to exercise.
Plus, pilates is the bomb dot com!
More strength-building than yoga. Less damaging then weights training. Plus, I kind of hate cardio stuff.
I hired a house + office cleaner
Honestly, I didn’t know how much time I spent cleaning until I hired someone.
I didn’t realise that I was spending my weekends literally RACING to try and get through mountains of laundry and clean the house.
When Mermaid Daughter #2 was born + our mountains of laundry transformed into unscalable Himalayan peaks, I knew I was headed into extreme physical burnout.
Running a company, having a newborn baby and a four year old, and trying to DO ALL THE THINGS (including cleaning) felt insane. It felt like I was trying to do the jobs of three or four people. And I was, really.
So we hired a cleaner – one that does all the cleaning stuff as well as washing, drying, folding, putting away. AMAZING!
Every time she leaves, me and Chris run around like giddy aunts:
Look at how clean the shower is!
Look how she folded these towels!
Look how the oven shines!
It feels incredibly lovely to live in a clean house.
One that you don’t have to do yourself.
It feels decadent + endlessly supportive.
I gots me a babysitter!
Basically, this has been the year of hiring life support.
Of realising that I no longer needed to do it all on my own (or that me and my love needed to do it all on our own together).
I have been thinking of getting a nanny for oh… close to five years now? Since Mermaid Daughter #1 was born and I felt so much incredible pressure trying to Do All Things at once and Be All Things To All People?
It was September this year when I finally broke.
I’d been wondering why my health, work routines, sanity + relationships were suffering.
And then I realised it wasn’t me and it wasn’t us – it was just the culmination of school holiday stress.
Apparently having WEEKS at a time without a break of even ten minutes – or the capacity to hold a conversation with your husband about the screamy din of kidliwinks – can really fuck with everything.
After that, I resolved that we needed more support than just the two of us. I found someone online (HOORAY!) and she’s been working with us ever since. It’s basically BLISS ON A STICK.
Mermaid Daughter #1 loves her. Mermaid Daughter #1 is cool with her.
She is like a second fun-mum to them. She does craft! Cooking! Endless games! Mountains of books to read! Playing outside in the sandpit! Going for walks!
It’s the greatest thing ever.
Me and Chris no longer look so ashen-faced and exhausted. While she’s here, we use the time to have quiet, important conversations (about, oh, moving to Tasmania and stuff), work in our offices and get everything done that needs to be done.
Today, Fun-Mum #2 is taking down the Christmas Tree and decorations as a fun game with them. HOORAY!
It feels SO MUCH LESS CRAZY.
SO much more spacious.
This kind of support and time is priceless.
It might have taken us five years to get it.
But we’ll never be without it again.
Go Slower. Do Less. Treat Yoself.
So, this has been the major motto/goal of 2014 for me.
Do I need to say why?
I feel like it’s obvious.
Okay, I’m going to say it anyway.
I’m a leeeeeeeeeeettttle bit hyperactive.
I LOVE DOING SHIT! I LOVE ALL THE THINGS! I WANT TO DO MORE! ACHIEVE MORE! SEE MORE! CREATE MORE! GO FASTER! LET’S WRITE A BOOK! IN A WEEK!
My sweet husband laughs and calls me “The Energiser Bunny”.
But that crazy happy enthusiastic creative spirit energy of mine (which I adore!) doesn’t always work well with the constraints of living in a physical world. It leaves my poor body exhausted, over-taxed and anxious from riding on adrenaline.
Plus, I’m pretty shithouse on self care. I come from a long line of people who work really hard and don’t have an off switch and don’t look after themselves properly. I’m really cognisant of that and have been healing that old story for a long time now. Layer by layer, it heals.
This year, I wanted to try going slower.
When I’d find myself walking anywhere, I’d check in:
Am I walking fast? Am I feeling rushed?
Can I go SLOWER?
The answer was always:
YES. YES. YES.
So I would go just a little bit slower.
Remind myself of what my dear spiritual mentor Deb would always lovingly remind me:
There is nowhere else you need to be. There is nothing else you need to be doing.
Which can be really hard for mums. Because we ALWAYS feel like this. ALWAYS.
But the reality is that we physically can’t.
And that spiritually we can’t either.
We need to be in our body doing that thing we are doing right at that moment.
Was I 100% successful in achieving it all the time?
But holy guacamole it was a helpful reminder. I think I might carry it with me into 2015. It felt nutritious.
I’d also remind myself:
By nature, I’m a pretty stingy person.
I never really buy stuff. I’m not into shoes or clothes or expensive jewellery.
I skimp out on stuff for myself all the time, wear undies until they are falling off me, have shirts (that I wear in public) that are so old they are threadbare and stained with paint and ink.
Again: totally relates to my history of not giving myself what I want and not supporting myself.
This year, I made a concerted effort to invest in things that would support me and nourish me.
Here’s some notable examples that felt really good:
- massages + spa afternoons
- feeling zero guilt about buying lunch everyday instead of making it (green smoothies + sushi from the markets = WOOP! WOOP!)
- a rainbow handbag (when my old one got mouldy)
- a really biiiiiig smokey quartz crystal (Chris said “HOLY SHIT! HOW MUCH WAS THAT!” I said “Less than a diamond ring!” He said “Yeah cool!”)
- a pair of sparkly thongs (I call them my “glam shoes”. I wore them at the Cairns Business Women’s Club luncheon that I was the keynote speaker for. My regular plastic thongs wouldn’t have cut it!) (I feel like I have to say here for my American readers – “thongs” are “flip flops” here in Australia!)
- new glasses before I needed them (they are really funky and TURQUOISE!)
- booking in with a hairdresser and getting big chunky turquoise + electric blue streaks put in my hair (after not having had my hair cut for 18 months) (I realised afterwards too that I was fulfilling something on my Bucket List! Hooray!)
- a big stack of new Bonds undies to replace the ones that are barely hanging on.
- colourful rugs for our offices + home (instead of just the cheapest shit I can find at Bunnings).
- I upgraded our flights for when we move to Tasmania to Business Class so we have room to move + don’t dread the whole day in transit.
I haven’t replaced my beloved holy holey t-shirt stash yet. I will once we move I think.
This year has really, really been about giving myself as much support in my life as I can.
That I don’t have to do it all on my own.
That life is easier, more joyful and more abundant when I have that support.
I have to remind myself (often, over and over again) that everytime I invest in myself and my life like this, it always pays me back. When I have more energy freed up, I can create more, help more, think more clearly + strategically, and do bigger work in the world.
Plus, ya know… I only get one life.
I gotta make it a good one.
I hope your 2014 has been filled with wonderful lessons.
I pray that you’ve emerged from it stronger, wiser + more divine than ever before.
If you haven’t already, make sure you spend this time filling out your 2015 Create Your Shining Year in Life workbook to divine the medicine you received over the last year! It’s bloody therapeutic + useful to do!
Love, gentleness, kindness, fairies + two random guinea fowl that have landed in our yard and made themselves at home (I call them Garry and Gwyneth),