Writing on, and about, an island

Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

The 5 Things that Matter Most

In Career, Freelance, Island Life, Minimalism, Tasmania, Writing on February 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm

My days have always been filled from end to end. I love being busy, and I am more productive when I have a lot on. Until recently, however, there were a lot of things in those days that frustrated me, didn’t satisfy me, and made me feel stressed. Things like:

  • committee meetings
  • an overloaded to-do list
  • freelance jobs that didn’t reward me enough for the time/creative energy invested
  • the feeling I had to reply to every single one of millions of emails in my inbox

Managing them meant I was losing valuable time for no gain – I was doing things through obligation not passion – and it took me a while to work out what was going on (obviously, because I’d been too busy to stop and think).

I only realised that I was giving away my time too cheaply during a 10-day holiday I took to paint my living room black and white. Spending every day doing nothing but sanding, plastering and painting was very zen, and although I didn’t plan on thinking about my life, and what matters most to me, it happened anyway.

I have spent the past 6 months thinking about what matters most to me, and got it down to a very minimalist top 5.

The 5 things that matter most to me:

  1. Eating homemade meals with my family
  2. Writing
  3. Reading
  4. Running by the ocean
  5. Living in Tasmania

I make sure those 5 things come first every day. (It’s almost like a muscle you need to keep using so it doesn’t waste away.) Pay yourself with your time first.

I’m not perfect at this. And, of course, there are many things I want to do, and many things that interest me – going back to uni or starting tango lessons, for example – but I’ve had to let go of the urge to do them all right now. At the moment, anything that’s not in that top 5 are just distractions from my main goal: learning to focus on what really matters most.



In Tasmania, Writing on December 9, 2011 at 6:03 am

It’s hard to know what matters most to you.

In fact, it’s one of the reasons I left busy Sydney to move back to Tasmania. To work out what mattered to me. The busyness of the world you live in (and mine was busy) creates so much distraction and noise that you forget what it ever was that excited you as a little person – or what excited you when you were heading out into the fresh world as a 21-year-old.

I’d certainly forgotten. I used to LOVE writing, and painting. And reading. And pretending I was TinTin…

But life gets in the way, as it always does. And you have to work hard to remember what mattered.

I admit that I HATED writing for a long time. It had been my first love as a child. And then I was lucky enough to make writing and reading my job. And I should have been grateful, grateful, grateful (specially because lots of girls would’ve done my job for free, right, CLEO?)… H

But hang on a minute. Because I was writing 10 hours a day about things that didn’t matter to me, I got writing burn-out. I’ve never had writer’s block, but hell, have I had writer’s burn-out!

Anyway, my dream is to learn to love writing again. Because it’s one of the oldest things around – and I love old things. Because each word and sentence is like colours and shapes – yes, I have synaesthesia. Because being good at words gives me the freedom to cross across locations and careers – and I like changing location and careers often!

And there’s that word: freedom. That’s what writing is really about.

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