Back when I was considering starting Champagne and Chips I wrote to Bron asking for advice. I didn't really expect a reply, Maxabella Loves is very popular and has a lot of readers, but I got one. My email was prompted by a discussion on another blog about the benefits of running multiple blogs. She asked the kind of questions that wise-women ask; the ones that you can answer without some soul-searching. She warned me about the work involved in running two blogs and suggested I just make my own idea of a blog out of the one I already had. I didn't listen though; I wanted to write a food and wine blog that was relaxed and fun but still have a separate avenue for the more serious things I wanted to talk about.
I am trying to find my place in this world. I am on about my fifth study-path and still can't really see a career for me. For those that don't know, I work in the wine industry in a cellar door. It is a transition job (and don't worry about my employers reading that, they know I don't want to spend the rest of my life here), albeit a lovely place to work. I have done a lot of study and feel like I want to be intellectually and creatively challenged in my work, which isn't something a job has ever provided - intellectual OR creative challenges but never both. I am studying again because I really love wine. Pharmacy, Acting, Production Management, and other performing arts related dabbles don't feel right any more.
I am six months into a 2 year Diploma on Wine and Spirits. It's a very well recognised qualification and graduates end up running wine programs for major hotel groups and the like. Except I'm not a sommelier and have no desire to become one. I'm also not sure that I want to spend my life driving around selling wine. I want to talk to people, educate people, work in a team, be creative, solve problems, embrace challenges, brainstorm ideas. I've never had a job like that and I want one. Problem is my mish-mash of qualifications and experience do add up to that kind of job but in Australia, where we are very degree focussed, they aren't recognised.
I want something to strive towards. I would like to have a career, not just a job. I am reading about a lot of people stripping back and simplifying their lives but I want the opposite. I'm tired of striped back and simplified. I want a few more material possessions. Dammit I want a couch! I want to see what Europe is like, or London, or even freaking Bali. I want to pay my bills without juggling my bank accounts. I want to be able to make smoothies for breakfast without having to stop and shake my cheap-ass blender half a dozen times to get it to work (however that stint as a cocktail bartender is at least good for something). I am not a particularly materialistic person but I want some ease in my life.
Champagne and Chips is about building a portfolio of writing and photography to run alongside wine-related work, and hopefully somehow help with making life a little better at the end of my study. I needed a website I could tell industry people about without worrying they might stumble across a post about cancer or eating disorders. I also wanted to write with more ease and a lighter heart.
I tell you all of this because I am going to take a little break from Seeking Victory for a while.
Maintaining two blogs is a lot of work and I know I can do it but it means drawing time and energy away from other areas of my life. I've spent most of my life doing one job while striving for another. It splits your energy and your focus and makes life harder than it needs to be. I think I have subconsciously been doing that with the blogs too. I have been surprised at how easy it is for me to write about wine and food. I still devote a lot of time to it but the words and the inspiration just flow.
I want 2015 to be a bit easier and a little more deliberate. 2014 was a year of major change and challenge: I changed jobs; started studying; celebrated a year of blogging, or more importantly, writing regularly; started a new blog; organised two blogger meetups; made some glorious new friends; did #100happydays and created a new habit to look for the happy moments in the everyday; and made a commitment to improve my photography. It was a really tough year with some very stressful times of ill-health of family members, exams, and September was pretty much spent being investigated for cancer. I am tired. I feel like my energy is dispersed in a gigantic cloud around me and I just grasp little pinches of it from time to time to get through the days.
I don't really do resolutions. I tend to have some goals in mind as a new year rolls around but I don't force myself to stick to them because life and goals are constantly evolving and changing (case in point 2014). Bron suggests a word for each year; a simple idea that you can focus on and work towards. I have thought a lot about this and the one that sits best with me is:
I was disappointed because it isn't a particularly beautiful word. There's no whimsy or art or any of the things I am attracted to. I think that's the point. It is a grounding word.
I need to slow down and ground myself a little more. I need to focus on what is important instead of what I think I should be doing or comparing myself to others. Study is ramping up and I need to devote more time to that while still finding time to pursue the things that fill my heart. I am going to stop worrying about the future for a little while and just work, study, write, practise art and spend time with the people that fill my cup. I am going to conserve my energy a little more. I am going to breathe deeply, feel the earth under me and not try to do 'all the things.'
So, a very belated happy new year to you all. If you are into food and wine then pop over and visit me at Champagne and Chips. If not then I'll catch up with you on Facebook or Instagram or hopefully in real life ;)