At the beginning of 2016 I began twelve months long service leave from my part time job in local government. Taking the year off work meant that I could take my son to and from kindergarten and spend some quality time with him before he started school. I’m so glad I took that time. I’m glad I was able to be there. 2016 was a year of change and realisations for me, here’s some things I learnt:
- We were wasting a lot of money: I took my LSL at half pay, which meant that I was on half the income I had been on for the past five years. It surprised me how little this affected us. I found myself wondering what I used to do with that extra money? It made me realise we can always live on less just by making a few minor changes. It also made me realise how lucky we are. We are in a fortunate position. We aren’t rich by any means but we live a comfortable life. We have big plans for that extra money when I go back to work. We know we can live without it now so will be saving it and making some good investments for the future.
- Working from home doesn’t work for me: I hadn’t planned it, but I ended up working from home for the majority of this year. I fell into a few opportunities and also chased some. I always thought I would love working from home (it’s the dream right?) and I did but it also has its own set of challenges. I realised I like getting up, getting dressed and going to work in an office with other people. Working from home can get lonely. It can be hard to switch off, the lines between personal/family life and work life become blurred. And it’s super hard when you have a kid to look after at the same time. Kudos to all you work from home parents out there!
- I am a writer: I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to say that and not feel like an absolute fraud (ok maybe I do still feel like a bit of a fraud). This year I started to make money from my writing but more than that I had other people tell me that I was a good writer. People outside of my own friends and family. I became more connected with my writing and came to understand just how important it is to me, how much a part of me it is. How much I truly love it.
- I can’t just be: I am forever doing stuff. I can’t sit still, I can’t switch off. I’m always doing more than one thing at a time. I feel guilty when I relax, there is always other things I ‘should’ be doing. This is something I know that I really need to work on.
- I learnt what true friendship is.
- Time goes fast: I mean I knew this, we all do, but wow, I actually can’t believe it’s been a whole year! I can’t believe our little man will be at school next year. I can’t believe I’ll be back at work soon. Sometimes I look back and think what did I do with that time? Did I achieve enough? Did I make the best of it? But it is what it is. And at the end of the day I was there every day to pick my son up from kinder and that was what it was really all about.
I learnt a lot in 2016 and I’m sure I’ll learn even more in 2017 because in life you never stop learning and that’s a great thing!
What did you learn in 2016?