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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Decisions, Compromises and Finding Courage

I mentioned I have been in a bit of a funk.

That was a lie.

The other night at far too late an hour to be having proper discussions, hubby and I hashed out some issues. He asked my if I was mad at him. I was. We talked. I admitted the truth…

I am depressed… again.

Been there, done that, know the drill.

It's no secret that this move has been hard on me. I've now been in this new country for 7.5 months and sure enough it was at the 6 month mark that it really hit me. Just in time for the cold and wet winter weather to set in. Just in time for Christmas.

It's not just being far away from friends and family, and the solution isn't as simple as making new friends. I haven't had any status here. Aside from a visa that allows me to live and work here, you wouldn't know I was even here. Bills were all set up before I came (though that is changing), the bank account can't be changed to a joint one for another week, and I have no money of my own.

I hate feeling like I am a kept woman. I'm too independent for that.

I'm not going to re-hash the argument, but simply put, I needed things and didn't know how to ask for them. As usual it builds to a point where I can't take it anymore and I blow up. Usually over something small. I know this about myself and it's simply something I accept and try to watch out for. But when you're depressed, every… little… thing… becomes… HUGE.

The day before this rather hard day, I was inspired. As in the kind of inspiration that fills you up with so much happiness that you bounce off the walls and feel like you might explode! Have you ever felt that?

It was so simple too; I found some photography competitions. That I can actually enter. And are free. The ones that cost money to enter are big ones and could be very worthwhile, but I need to work up to them.

But my excitement was quickly brought down to reality, crushed really by a bad evening with the crazy demon that has taken over my normally lovely child. Terrible twos… I LOATHE them. They make me feel like an inept and horrible mother. Can we skip them? Please?

But now, a couple days after my talk with my hubby (who is far more patient than I often give him credit for), I've not only found inspiration again, I'm running with it.

It comes down to finances. I mentioned that we are on a budget. It's a tight budget since most of our spare money goes home to pay off debts and student loans. It sucks but there isn't too much I can do about that from here.

So we have to cut our expenses here or make more money, or both. I'm opting for both. Now, keeping in mind all our constraints (no vehicle, urban location, small flat), we can't be one of those people who collects coupons and runs to five different locations to get the best deal. I hate grocery shopping in one location with a difficult toddler, let alone trying to do five times in a week. But we manage with smart food choices (also healthier- a definite bonus) and doing the small things to reduce our other bills.

But it won't be enough to help us have the lifestyle we want. Here we are in a entirely different country 7000 kms from home and we can't afford to go out and explore much. I also have things I want to save for (both short and long term goals), plus the all important rainy day fund to see us through the next job change in a few years or if the European economy sinks more than it already has., I want a way out and home. I don't want to be in the same place we were last year. We won't even get started on the things I want for our daughter (to be able to do swimming classes and maybe a dance class or gymnastics). This all costs money we can't possible save at the moment.

The answer is clear: I need to be bringing in an income.

So I have my National Insurance number in hand now and many constraints on the kind of work I can do. This led to a lot of brainstorming on my part. If I want to stick to a viable work-from-home idea, I could be a Virtual Assistant and do project or data entry etc. from home for companies who need extra help but don't want to hire a regular employee.

But… knowing myself as I do and knowing that I need creativity and inspiration in my life, this is not enough. It can be a start though, so we'll see if I do that as well as my other plan, which is already in motion.

I am an artist, a photographer. Over and over I have veered away from traditional careers in hopes that my art could be my career. But it's not a simple thing to accomplish and I have to keep in mind that I need to try and accomplish a steady income.

I'm not going to be a hired photographer. While wedding photography appeals to me, the long hours away from home on weekends don't mesh well with our life right now. I can't afford childcare (yet), and I need to be around in the evenings and weekends if Ryan goes off for work meetings and conferences (which happens several times a year). I need to be able to work from home in a way that I decide.

So I'm once again starting a photography business. But rather than muddle through as I did before, I'm selling my work online. I love Etsy!! Thank you to my friend CB for introducing it to me a couple years ago, as I will soon have a platform for selling fine art photography. I also am working towards having my work shown in galleries.

It's not going to be easy. But I have a plan. A real plan, all written down in steps. This is real, it's going to happen! I'm nervous and a little scared. But I'm also happy and excited about it!

Stay tuned for more about my upcoming Etsy store…

And now for a parting photo:

(She fell asleep in my lap while on Skype with my brother the other week…)


areyoukiddingme said...

Good luck with your new business! I know how you feel about being independent.

And the terrible twos just prepare you for those godawful threes...but the communication is better then.

Mrs. Gamgee said...

I hope the new business works well for you. I too have looked for 'at home' work, but other than babysitting, which is impossible for soooo many reasons (tiny home, two kids under two, I loathe the prospect) I'm a bit stuck. Sadly I got looped into a scam a few months ago that ended up costing us money rather than making us anything.

I will be stopping by your etsy shop to check out your pics!

AnotherDreamer said...

I hope the new business works well for you.

And omg, I can not believe how old your little one is now! So crazy how fast they grow.

Kristin said...

She is so beautiful.

And, wishing you the very best of luck with your new business. Let me know when it starts and I'll push it on my blog.