Punches and ambitions

It’s a process that is as frustrating as it is satisfying, I find. I suspect it’s because I’m still very much in the learning stages but also a perfectionist, so it’s like a scalpel to my eyeballs when a stone isn’t perfectly set or a bezel setting tilts ever so slightly, even when you might not even see it unless you really look for it. Scratches that don’t show up until you’ve used the finest micro mesh cloth mean that you have to go right back to coarse sandpaper and start all over but it’s so lovely when you’re finally done and have a shiny, even and smooth piece that you’ve put so much work into. The only thing I don’t like is not having more time to dedicate to it, but with flexible “day job” employers I know that if/when I’ve built a little income stream there is scope to cut down hours and I’d love it if I could eventually split my time between metal and words – that’s Nirvana right now the way I see it.

2018 has started out fine. I say ‘fine’ rather than ‘amazing’ because nothing much has changed from 2017. Sure, I have to be obnoxious and admit life is pretty damn awesome for the most part and I can’t really think of anything I need to complain about, but it did get a little “samey” there for a while. I slipped into a comfortable existence where my whole life felt a bit like a SPA weekend. Nothing much to worry about, not much effort to be made and as for ambitions those became ‘mañana, mañana’. I mean, that was the very reason why I quite randomly embarked on a whole new thing and did a course in jewellery design to learn how to work with precious metals. My hope was that it’d get me fired up and back to Ambitious and Driven Anna, and so far it has worked. It’s never a good thing to scrutinise what you do for a living and discover that… ..meh. So hopefully it’ll keep on fuelling my creativity and eventually also steer me back to the writing that I completely abandoned. Really loving making rings with semi precious stones but pendants are fun too – next on my tool wish list are metal forming tools and so my next investment ahead of a dremel is a doming block with punches.

‘Fine’ also means life outside of work goes on much as before. B has a demanding job and travels even more than before. Perhaps not more often but due to his position many of his trips are now further afield and last a little longer. There are shorter ones of course, yesterday he returned from a couple of days in Prague and next week he’ll be in Milan – as always I hate not being with him and pine for him when he’s not home, but to be honest, after his month long trip to New Zealand last October anything shorter than a week seems like nothing. Monkey is at his new school and seems to have settled in really well. Unlike his mother, he’s an extrovert and full of beans (well, I’m full of beans, but tend to keep my beans to myself and tend to prefer my own company) so made friends quickly and never stressed over being the new kid. Thank God for that. He’s also starting to more and more resemble something out of Only Fools and Horses – always wheeling and dealing, always has several little money making schemes on the go, most lately involving buying cheap fake designer belts from Camden market that he then sells at a profit (declaring that they are fakes of course or I’d have to interfere) and yesterday he told me he is going to make some sort of Bitcoin investments, put £20 towards something in the hope it’ll yield a return. I have no idea what any of that means so suggested he speaks to B before parting with any money. He’s a funny little thing.

These days Monkey is with us all the time, which is a dream come true in lots of ways even though there is pain and difficult stuff at the very root of it – as much as I agree with Monkey and am on his side, it’s heartbreaking that he doesn’t want to stay with his dad. But I’ll leave all of that out of here, despite being relatively anonymous online I still feel it’s too private. B and I still have the freedom to do our random trips away given the older two boys can easily come and stay to make sure Monkey doesn’t burn the house down and I’ve booked a romantic weekend away for B’s birthday – CAN. NOT. WAIT. How I’ll be able to keep schtum for another three months I don’t know, plus B is the nosiest person on the planet so I now have all sorts of locks and security measures in place to make sure he doesn’t successfully snoop and find out. All I can say is that it’ll be magníficio!

So ‘fine’ simply means it’s all good and that life just continues to head in a really fantastic direction, albeit at a slightly slower pace than I’d like – if I had my way there would be a heated shed in the garden where I could set up a proper workshop but all in good time… ‘Fine’ means steady progress to freakin’ awesome!

My next step is to get going on some more necklaces that a local boutique has said they’d be happy to have and also cobble together a webshop. This is good, better than ‘fine’, given I always need to have something on the go. It’s when I don’t that it all turns into SPA weekend existence, and let’s face it, I’m not a SPA kinda gal.

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Maseratis and keeling over

My problem: unless I am under enormous pressure and have Satan breathing down my neck, I am the laziest and most unmotivated chick you’ll ever meet in your life. And this is just it – my life is too damn comfortable. It’s just too easy for me to bob along, have everything come easy, live the good life and just enjoy doing cool stuff with my husband and son. Don’t get me wrong – I am so happy it’s just… …STUPID. It’s really quite ridiculous. Then again, joy is my default setting, I get it from my dad I think (the guy is  unbearably cheerful) and it just seems to be my nature to look on the bright side of life. Now, that’s not a bad thing. I’m just saying.

So I wake up every morning feeling happiness and gratitude, and how could I not? I’m truly blessed. No, I haven’t bought a Maserati yet (a GranCabrio in midnight blue, per favore), nor do I own a holiday home on Waihi Beach (YET!) but that’s just a matter of time and until then I have everything I could ever possibly need or want as things stand. But what I have discovered is this: as wonderful as it is to be emotionally fulfilled and have these two (B and Monkey) along with living where we live, blessed with amazing friends and family and have the life that we do, I need something else to fire me up. Hence I have hit a point where I feel incredibly restless and a little flat. I need a focus, goals… ….what I need is PRESSURE! I want to achieve. It’s one thing to strive to be a good person (and for the large part I believe I am), to be kind and empathetic and so on, but I think we all to some extent want to do well beyond our personal qualities whether it be having expert knowledge in some field or coming home each day knowing we really made a difference somehow. Just be able to say: “I did that”!

Before I met B I spent some years as a single mother in this insanely expensive city that is Londinium, so I know what I can be and achieve when I’m under tremendous amounts of pressure and stress to make things work. I know that I am a BADASS when I have to be.

There it is! When I HAVE to be.

So, the time has come to set some goals and targets and form a plan for the near future. B and I have been together for four years and a few months (and yes, we still celebrate every month – we just celebrated 51 months – cheesy, eh) and so we are ready for the next stage. These first few years were building stones and we’re currently cruising on a comfortable plateau having last year bought a home and this year got hitched.

My goal: in two years from now make a nice little income from making jewellery (I will in three month’s time be able to call myself a silversmith, and after that a Diploma course awaits and progressing on to more precious metals and stones) and the rest of the time focus on writing. That should nicely bring me back into an existence where I once again feel productive, that I’m achieving and that I’m doing something really worthwhile. That and getting super fit! I think at 41 I’m still at a stage where I am probably able to achieve something pretty awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I like ME, but I’m curious to see if I could go a little drastic and tickle the fitness fanatic in me (if that fanatic exists – perhaps I’ll just discover that I just LIKE exercise but won’t LOVE massive amounts of it). I don’t intend to turn bodybuilder or aim for no body fat or be a size zero or anything stupid like that, but just see what I might be able to do within reasonable limits. After a summer spent celebrating, my first two runs this week felt like death. Actually, they were not as bad as I thought it’d be but death nonetheless. I know it won’t take long though and hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to run, say, 5k without keeling over. We’ll see. It’s a start.

Our goal: we’ve set up a budget, which was pretty scary as it showed not only how much we could (and should!) save without forsaking random trips, holidays, nice clothes and several date nights every month, it also showed how we fritter money away like it’s confetti. So a bit more focus and if we just hold back a LITTLE – honestly, there are no big changes required, just a few small adjustments – we should with good margin be able to buy a decent holiday home in Sweden within five years should we choose to. I’m more keen on NZ, but no need to decide. Who knows what, when or even if – all we know is that if we just keep to this little plan, the ‘how’ isn’t going to be an issue.

For now, I will continue to appreciate a lovely Plan B job that I do enjoy and that the people I work for are lovely so there is – as I said before – no reason for me to complain, I simply don’t have anything to complain about, but I just need stuff to happen! I’m no good at this cruising phase we find ourselves in. What to be careful about also is how fired up I get starting things off – I’m so awesome at that bit! What career would allow me to do that? Be the proverbial firestarter? Anyway, it’s applying the plan, follow it and stick at it I suck at. Feeling very, very determined so time will tell… It usually does.

Beep, Sweet Beep!

Gosh, where did time go? Hand on heart, when it comes to writing I have just been avoiding it over the past few months. Now hooking up with an editor again and this time I bloody WILL stick to those pesky deadlines, perhaps at a more realistic pace. My problem has always been that I sit down to write, but instead of letting it flow, I self censor and end up with a blank screen in front of me if I don’t have a perfect string of beautifully joined up words. Clearly, that’ll get me nowhere fast so it’s time to get back to this blog and just WRITE no matter what comes out.

So here we go again, timer set to 20 minutes and I will make this my ritual again like it used to be.

Well. A lot has happened, both good and bad. B’s crazy divorce came through eventually, which was a real tonic for him – two years of toxic battle couldn’t have come to an end soon enough. What a relief. And since a few weeks back – well, two weeks and six days to be precise – I have a beautiful ring on my finger, officially marking that B and I are forever. I guess he liked it. Hahr-hahr. In the middle of that, I have also managed to fall out with my father in a spectacular fashion. Little irritants and tiny scars all came together in a huge explosion and at the moment we’re not on speaking terms. Had someone said to me I’d fall out like that with Dad, I would have laughed my head off and dismissed it as crazy talk. I always considered us close, but I suppose I had him on a pedestal and at the tender young age of 39, my rose tinted glasses came off and he fell off.

You could say that in the past month, I’ve felt every emotion to its very limits. Comes with the territory, for better or worse, I am an emotional soul and everything I feel, I feel strongly. There’s rarely a middle gear, full throttle or handbreak firmly pulled. To be fair, I wouldn’t change that for the world, but maybe I feel that way because 99% of the time I’m stupidly happy. My default setting has always been contentment and gratitude, so as hellish as the lows are when they come a’knockin’, I can deal with that. It’s who I am and I couldn’t be someone else even if I tried to.

A shitty spring has turned into a shitty summer. The odd warm, sunny day is eclipsed by endless ones of wind, rain and cold. I reckon God went and cancelled May and June and gave us re-runs of October and February instead. Only last week, I saw several people in winter coats. Madness. And it doesn’t seem my native Sweden is faring any better, so who knows if we’ll get the idyllic Swedish summer that we’ve had the previous two summers we’ve gone in July. It’ll be a laugh regardless though, we have plenty lined up and B’s sons are joining us for the second week so I’m sure it’ll turn out great even if we do get rained on.

Hm.. I’m thinking this is normal – I am literally forcing my fingers to move across the keyboard. I type very fast, so this probably means I end up writing even more random shit than someone typing a little more slowly. Come on, Anna, keep going, write whatever pops into your head. And what if nothing does? A banana fly just landed on my hand, see? That’s the most interesting thought I could pluck out just now.

But what about Alice? Well, there I do have some good news – I’ve managed, in spite of this severe bout of writer’s block, retool her so that she now springs off the pages in a way that better shows who she is: warm, rather than maudlin. John has had improvements too, and Karen I executed long ago. Better stay away from over crowding it. I think the initial editor got a headache from the number of characters alone, never mind my long sentences that you can’t read out loud without turning a dark shade of blue-ish purple. I’m working on that, so bear with me.

Also starting to get the hang of showing the story more, as opposed to just telling it. It’s coming alive more and more, and as it does, my confidence grows at the same rate as its nuances multiply. I feel even better about it than I did before. I can’t say I’m completely cured from the writer’s block, but I’m now trying to take charge and give myself a good kicking. Even if I don’t feel inspired, I will sit and write – better to feel you’ve written something and have something to edit (even if ‘edit’ means selecting the whole f*cking thing and pressing ‘delete’!) than face an empty screen and a word count that hasn’t shifted since before Easter any time I go into it.

I do hope my daily 20 minutes are up soon – come on, timer, beeeeeeeeep! – because getting back on this has felt like pulling teeth. And of course, I’ve not written anything interesting whatsoever. Having said that, I didn’t create this blog to post lots of well written, well throught through and considered entries – this blog was always designed to get me writing, even if it meant a daily dose of utter shite!

Ah, finally! Beep, sweet beep! ……and I just know that before I know it, I’ll be right back in inspired mode and feel annoyed at how much too soon the damn thing signals the end of 20 minutes. Today was not that day, but perhaps tomorrow will be.