The Big Life Tune-Up part 2.1

So just as a reminder, here are the bits I am tuning up:-

1. Looks and style

2. Career

3. Income and location

4. Health & Fitness

Next up…my career. Wow, this is a can of worms! This is such a big topic that I am just going to start with what is good and bad about my current situation.

The good things about my career…

1. I work with ( mostly) nice people.
I am a specialist teacher so I spend a lot of time with children, which suits me in many ways.

2. I work in a lovely environment. Two different schools, both in historic buildings with stunning grounds.

3. The school day fits around my son’s, so I can drop him at school and pick him up.

4. I get the school holidays off

So far, so perfect….however, here are the bad bits

1. There are no prospects of being promoted or increasing my income ( which has pretty much flat-lined for the last few years). I have accepted this whilst my children have been at school as the price I pay for something that fits around them. However, my eldest is now 18 and off to university and the younger one is nearly 16. I have now spent 18 years in a comfortable but essentially dead-end job and it is time for a shake-up.

2. I am not being challenged or learning much that is new. I do not feel satisfied or valued and it feels like I am taking the easy option.

3. I need to ( and want to ) earn a lot more money. My costs have increased year on year whilst my salary hasn’t. In addition my costs are about to go up again to fund my son’s living expenses whilst he is at university. Apart from that, if I had remained in my previous career then I would be earning more than double my current salary. Does that hurt? Yes. Was it my choice? Yes. Does that mean that I have to stay where I am with no earning ambition? No! But this is not going to be easy. I make no apologies for wanting to earn a lot more (even though I am British). I am fed up with people thinking that there is something worthy about accepting a salary that you are not happy with and does not recognise years of experience. Us women are particularly good at that…hence the gender pay gap.

4. It is really important to me to I feel like I am on a successful path and that I do something new. I am soon to become an empty-nester and I do not want this to feel like the end of the line, but rather a new beginning..the re-invention of me!

So I know what I want…a much better income, more of a challenge and to feel successful. But achieving that seems a huge mountain to climb ( and I am not even quite sure which mountain I should be climbing). Somehow find a way to progress in my current sector (education), move to a new sector with re-training or start my own business?

Further thoughts and decisions coming soon…good luck to everyone who is re-inventing themselves. It is hard work, but exciting too.

Bramble xx

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The Big Life Tune-Up: Part 1

 

Although I am a new and inexperienced blogger, I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying it and thanks to anyone who is reading. I still find it amazing that someone on the other side of the world can read my random ramblings! However far apart we live, we all share the same problems and experiences.
So in preparation for my eldest son leaving home to go to university, I have decided to tune-up my life in four key categories:

1. My looks and style
2. My career
3. Future plans for income and location
4. Fitness and health

So here is my progress so far on Part 1. Firstly, I have severely edited my wardrobe using the Project 333 philosophy. The idea is that you choose 33 items ( excluding underwear and nightwear), but including accessories. These 33 items are swapped/reviewed every three months. Everything else is sent to charity shops or packed up and put away. This has definitely simplified my life. There are fewer clothes to consider each day which I find refreshing. It is a joy to have an uncluttered wardrobe. In addition, I have set some rules for myself that each day I must: put make-up on ( only the fresh-face of youth can get away with no make-up); wear some jewellery or a scarf ( I tend to not bother with accessories) and do something with my hair ( it is a stranger to the hairdryer). I am getting there, but finding it hard to accept that I must spend more than 5 minutes getting ready. I am a very impatient person! Also, I will need to give some thought to how to avoid middle-aged blandness when choosing new clothes in the future. It is quite a challenge,  but there are some great blogs out there full of ideas for a stylish midlife. I love to be inspired by Alyson Walsh’s ‘That’s Not My Age’ and many others.

The optician also stands to benefit from my style edit as I am going to attempt to ditch the glasses and get used to contact lenses once again. I have never managed to crack the “glamorous with glasses” look, rather I look sensible and boring. However, if the contact lenses give me blood-shot eyes then I will at least look as if I lead a more interesting life. Still not sure how to create an overall ‘look’. Is 49 too old for Punk?

 

Tune Up part 2 coming soon……

 

What is style?

 

Style is elusive and intangible. What is it really? How can two people wear virtually the same clothes ( such as jeans with a Bretton top) and one looks stylish and the other looks sensible and mumsy? It is a mystery to me which is why I am the one who looks mumsy rather than sexy. Perhaps it is the small things (that I usually forget)… jewellery, interesting shoes, a stylish bag, belt, sunglasses and a little dash of attitude. Yes, that must be it. It is the salt, pepper and spices that I am missing. The one or two little extras that add some interest or mystery to an otherwise boring outfit. There are so many considerations when re-vamping the wardrobe. For me the outfits need to be practical and wearable, but how to achieve this without being mind-numbingly dull? I have all the basics…T shirts, jeans, jumpers, but the total effect is usually completely forgettable and non-descript. Fashionistas, how do you do it?
Getting stylish is the first challenge in my ‘Big Life Re-tune’ and this is going to be tough for me. Thankfully there are some great blogs out there to help me spice up the blandness of my wardrobe. Here goes….

Learning to let go

In ‘My Family and other Animals’ Gerald Durrell described his brother, Larry, as a blonde firework who explodes ideas in other people’s minds and then takes no responsibility for the consequences. This has always reminded me of my eldest son who is so full of energy and is always bubbling over with new thoughts and ideas. He is now 18 and will be leaving home in September to start university. I can hardly believe how the years have shot past and my own blonde firework will shortly be leaving home. I am not fully prepared for this change and am slightly worried about how I will cope. To preempt any possible fallout, I have decided to develop some exciting plans of my own so that it doesn’t hit me too hard- and also so that I can let him go with joy and not be a needy mother. If I am suffering, then he mustn’t see it because this is such an important and happy milestone for him with so much to look forward to. We are all responsible for our own happiness and should not burden other people with our woes. If there is not enough in my life once he has gone then it is my problem to fix. So my big summer project is to tune-up my life. This is huge and exciting and falls into four key areas:-

My looks and style
My career
Future plans for income and location
Fitness and health

So, part 1 coming up…not sure where this is all going to lead but it should be good!