Peeling The Onion: How I’m Refining My Life One Decision At A Time

Well, it’s nearly September, which means long time, no blog post! Things have been moving at their normal borderline-frenetic pace since my last post back in January of this year, in which I announced my New Year’s Resolution to do less this year. Of course, that’s always easier said than done. At the time of making said resolution, I was deep in the midst of planning a wedding, was working full time (and then some) on multiple arts management contracts, and was about to commence studying my Masters. I’m pleased to say that things have shifted a little since then, and as I write this I find myself in a really interesting season of life, in which I’m deliberately doing less to create more space for conscious decision-making. This is a relatively new process for me, but one I feel is having some really positive implications for my health and happiness, so I wanted to share a little about it in case anyone is experiencing the same thing!

First and foremost, the biggest change for me was withdrawing from study after it became clear that the music teaching profession is not for me. This was a difficult decision to make since I strongly identify as a musician, and I actually loved being more musically stimulated on a daily basis via the coursework for my Masters. However, it didn’t take long for me to recognize that the actual day-to-day reality of music teaching just isn’t my dream job. Now, it may sound like I’m making a mountain out of a molehill here, and that it’s not big deal to start something and then change your mind and not finish it. However, at the time I was crippled with anxiety over this decision. I had deliberately restructured my entire work-life balance to accommodate studying for, and completing, a Masters degree. I had actively turned down multiple arts management contracts, and I knew that having to re-approach my festival contacts in order to pick up work again would mean looking like a bit of a flake (aka, that I didn’t really know what I was doing with my life) – something that hits quite close to home for me. As a multi-passionate person, my ‘career’ probably looks a little directionless at first glance. I trained as a musician, played in orchestras, changed tack and managed orchestras, picked up music teaching work, dropped music teaching work, became an event manager, started working for festivals, trained as a yoga teacher, and started teaching yoga. In the midst of all of these slight deviations from a ‘conventional’ career path, I have experienced numerous panicky episodes of trying to honour my original love for music, deciding to prioritise ‘being a musician’ by avoiding full time work, and then feeling directionless and unaccomplished (not to mention flat broke) once I did so. Sounds exhausting, right? It definitely has been at times!

Where I’m going with all of this is that I am approaching things a little differently this time around. Rather than repeating my usual cycle (work/burnout/downsize workload/fret about life trajectory and finances/take on more work/repeat), I’m taking the seat of the observer and really trying to work out how to combine everything I love into one balanced lifestyle that equates to a more holistic ‘career’. What this means is that I’m saying no to a fair bit of stuff at the moment. Work will come and go, but each time an opportunity of any kind arises, I’m pausing to consider if it truly aligns with my personal values of LEARNING, COMMUNITY, and HEALTH. I’m actually listening to what my heart wants from this thing we call life, and then trusting myself to build those things into a unique work landscape that will combine my love for music, events, and wellness.

Freelancing is scary. I still have moments where I want to run back to the security and routine of a full time job that sits comfortably within one industry, instead of attempting to straddle multiple pathways. But I know my dharma is to help others achieve their full potential, and I’m seeing the optimal way for me to do that slowly begin to take shape, amidst all of the anxiety surrounding my own lofty expectations of myself, and my concerns about how I’m perceived by others. I’m currently working on some projects that I hope will empower people to lead happier lives, based around genuine connection, community, and self-expression.

 I’m still figuring it out, but I know that I have everything I need to get this show on the road, so to speak. I have a unique skill set, and I can hustle. The sum of all of my experiences is most certainly leading me somewhere, and the same goes for each and every one of us.

We’re all the directors of our own lives. How do you want yours to play out?