Purfylle: The Phases of Life

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Friday, 16 September 2016

The Phases of Life

Ruffles, buttons, ribbons, lace, cord, beads

Life is made up of all these different phases, childhood , eduction, career, family, and each phase has it's own ups and downs.

My life seems to have had more then it's fair share of different phases; in my personal life there have been phases where I was very involved in various community associations, going it alone in a new city, settling down and home making; in my work there was the hospitality phase, then retail, call centres, administration in the health industry and executive assistant work for government agencies.

Through all of the different phases of my life, the ones I've mentioned and the ones I haven't, one thing has remained consistent, my dream to create beautiful historical garments.

Cotton bodice with applied cotton tape and chain sinnet

Each phase of my life has sort of tumbled into the next with the main driving force being the ability to pay the next round of bills. Since I turned 30 I had been positioning and preparing myself for the next phase of life, the phase that never came, having children.

After working with the government for over 7 years and my latest contract could not be extended due to downsizing (they had been ordered to cut a third of their workforce) I found myself taking a good hard look at my life. I faced the reality that while possible, it is unlikely that becoming a parent was on the cards in my future, but that I also wanted to ensure I wouldn't doubt my choices later on. I decided not to go back to full-time work, that reducing stress in my life may make the difference between conceiving or not.  I also thought it would give me the opportunity to finish all the half started, planned projects and fixes that our home needed. And while I've got all this 'extra time' on my hands I could pursue my dream of sewing beautiful garments for a living.

I found some part time work teaching, but the hours didn't work out and the environment was toxic. I decided while I found teaching extremely rewarding, that particular job was not for me. I sewed as much as I could, I opened an Etsy store, I learnt a great deal. I stressed about not spending as much time on improving my home as I thought I should be, I stressed about money. I was also struggling with some health issues that were being elusive to diagnose with symptoms including waking up with my shoulder and arms completely numb, night sweats, facial flushing, joint pain and headaches like I've never had before.

Need to paint the hall? 'I'll do it tomorrow'...but tomorrow never comesAnd I realised it wasn't working. That I couldn't be everything all at once, that I couldn't build a business with my time split so strongly between all these tasks and with these physical impediments. I decided I needed to take control of my 'now' so that I could focus on creating the future I wanted.

I gave up on the idea of working part-time and we would just have to adjust financially. I put on hold the million and one things I thought I needed to do to create the business that existed in my head. I accepted the idea that I would never be a parent. This changed how I viewed my world dramatically.

I see this as my 'selfish' phase. I selfishly chose to half our household income, chose to focus solely on the things I considered important and that would make my life less stressful and happier. I started to tackle all the tasks that for the last decade had been put off until 'tomorrow' a tomorrow that never comes.

I educated myself on how to write a blog, how to run a website, how to code HTML and CSS, how to be a social media manager.

All of which are a vital part of operating a successful business in the modern world.

I wrestled with the realities of my health and how it impacted on my dream of a 'sewing business' and just what did a 'sewing business' really mean to me? It certainly didn't mean what most people imagined.

I constantly deflected well meaning suggestions of how I could make kids costumes or fun t-shirts or custom made garments for customers that want champagne results on a beer budget.

I was tempted by the allure of several volunteering opportunities in areas that were close to my love affair with historical costume but didn't touch the core of it, however might open doors for me.

I questioned if I truly did love costuming seeing as I never seemed to prioritise it enough to really make any true headway. And I came to understand my habit of self denial when boring responsibility clamoured for attention, and that I need to build time into my life to truly pursue my passion.

I felt guilty every time I turned away from opportunities that might open doors for me because I wasn't ready for them yet.

back lacing bodice sans-modesty panel I felt guilty as I watched my husband struggle with his own health issues and the responsibility of managing our financial obligations on his own.

I felt guilty as I listened
to my mum who is a pensioner, tell me about her own financial struggles and know that her food bill would be cut to pay for her heating this winter and I would not be able to help her.

I swallowed my fear and embarrassment and publicly shared many of my struggles with my readers, things I haven't even shared with those who do know me. Especially my struggle with clutter, and holding onto stuff for that next phase of life when I'll be sewing or I'll have more storage options or better organisation (when really I just need less stuff).


And whilst I'm really not sure if right now today if someone walked into my home they would see any real difference to how it looked when I was working full time, the difference is there.  And although there is still a great deal to do I can see an end in sight.

While this phase of my life has not exactly been fun or balanced, in fact from the perspectives of some this phase of my life has been very secluded, it has actually been expansive in terms of my skills, of knowing myself better, of building a network of supportive people in my world, and creating solid foundations for my future and a happier life.

I had to stick with this phase of my life, because I knew the instant I didn't that my world would fill up as it always does and the next phase would take over. I wanted to chose that phase, instead of it just happening to me like I used to let it.

My struggle with clutter starts in the sewing room.

I knew that by clearing out all the clutter in all of the areas of my life, not just the things, but the stresses and expectations, the dead weight, the unnecessary, the bad habits and thoughts, that my life would change. That the life I dreamed of having could become possible.

And that's were I'm at now. The transition to the next phase is under way.

16thC Gown | SottanaI want to thank you for sharing this adventure with me and I hope you will stick around for the next phase too, but I understand that the direction I'm going to isn't everyone's cup of tea and if I end up boring you I won't take it personally if I don't see you around as much any more. But for those of you that love costumes as much as I do you're going to get to share the next phase with me and we are going to have an absolute blast!

You may recall the chemise I made from the National Garment Cutter. I'll be sharing a LOT more from the NGC in the future but that's a whole other story I promise to share with you soon.

The future is full of the promise of bright, shiny, sparkly costumey goodness and I'm practically jumping out of my skin with excitement.

#FinishItFriday

What phases of life have you finished? Do you hold onto things for future phases?

11 comments:

  1. I think you know my life revolves around crochet, but I can't wait to see your sewing projects. I especially love historical pieces and wish I could create them, but alas, my skills won't allow me to make a decent pillowcase.
    Leaving "work" permanently can be a scary and depressing thing, but it's often needed in order to start a crafting business. And personally, I have to struggle with people who think I don't have a job because I don't go to "work", despite often putting in 14-hour days while still putting dinner on the table. It makes for stressful days where I aimlessly work and work, but never really get anything done through all the interruptions.
    By clearing out your "clutter", you've done one of the best things possible: You've made a main path for yourself to walk. And walks are so much better when WE choose where to take them, right? Maybe sometimes we take a side-trail that leads in the wrong direction, but at least then you can say you chose to go that way. Sorry for all the cheesy metaphors, but... I think you're powerful enough to turn that path into a whole darn road.

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    1. I hear you on the whole 'don't work' thing. I am often left unsure how to give a concise answer to the question of how I spend my time. 'Blogging and decluttering' doesn't really encapsulate the entirety of it. I've had my plan, I've just not been very good at articulating it.
      People also tend to think that just because you're at home you are 'available' and I am constantly apologising I can't do stuff because I'm too busy.
      Your metaphors all work, but my only gripe about them is they sound like it's as easy as putting one foot in front of the next and that's all there is to it. I wish! I'm so glad to have met you and can't imagine not knowing you now, but had I not started blogging our paths likely would never have crossed.

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    2. I'm sorry. I didn't mean for it to sound that way, but you're right: It does. Forget metaphors. What I meant is that you're choosing to reach for a goal in your life... Even if those goals are hard to reach or cause you uncertainty, it's so much more rewarding to work for a goal that you set for yourself, and at least have the *hope* that you have a chance at your dreams. Some people get stuck in a rut and live out the rest of their lives regretting what they could have done, because they never bothered to step foot on that "path".
      I'm glad to have met you too, Stella! I'm wishing you luck on your next phase.

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    3. Ooops, sorry, I didn't meant to say the metaphors weren't appreciated, just a little daunting. I was just blabbing on and I actually found them encouraging. :o) Let's encourage everyone to find their path =D

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    4. Please don't apologize! After re-reading it, I thought it did sound like I was saying it's easy... I just wanted to agree and clarify what I said. I didn't mean to diminish any part of your journey with my comment.
      I like your plan. We all have a path to walk, but some of us need help finding it.

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  2. Stella, when did you read my diary??
    I think most everyone can relate to struggling with stress, and how to get more meaning out of life than just going to work everyday, and collapsing in exhaustion! I know I do! Teaching is one of the roughest jobs in the world! The system ties both your hands behind your back, tells you 2 entirely opposite things to do at the same time, and expects miracles! And, teachers do them!!
    Anyway, sorry, this is about you!! My heart hurts for you, that your hope of children hasn't been fulfilled.
    But, I'm thrilled with you for this next new phase!! You are going to be so much more content, I believe, when you are pursuing your true passion, instead of what you "ought " to be doing!!
    Getting rid of clutter has opened up room for this next adventure!!
    PS. Why are the sleeves tied onto that gown, not sewn??
    I pray many blessings from God for you.
    Love, Melinda

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    1. I don't think I could teach children. I taught adults how to use computers. Adult education is completely different because the students want to be there.
      PS: it's a 16thC gown and that's how sleeves were worn, it would show off the amazing chemise or under-gown you had on.

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  3. I understand what you mean with different phases, when looking back you see them more clearly. I have had so many things happening in my life that it would make a long list to count them all. I once counted that I have lived in 12-13 different cities (depending what you count as living vs. visiting) of which two abroad. I have had a regular job (which I quit!), I have had short working periods, so many working places that fitting my cv on one sheet is a problem... I have studied 20 years of my life (including primary school of course) - that's at this point over half of my life, in 5-6 different schools...

    The phase I have now is being unemployed mother who can finally do what she wants (when having the time)! And I certainly hope this will continue, even though it would be great to turn that unemployed to full time entrepreneur, but we will see. :)

    I like your idea of having selfish phase and clearing out all the clutter, definitely healthy for you. :)

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    1. After doing more then 15 years of contract work I totally understand what you mean about the CV, I think if you move a lot as a child then it's harder to do only one job as an adult, it gets boring.

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  4. Ah, the phases of life... I totally feel you on these changes and backing away from opportunities because you're not ready. I'm happy to be a blogging friend to see you through to your next phase and revel in your happiness =)

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  5. I love your thoughts on life and how it's all about trade-offs and phases. Very rarely can you do everything and so you have to prioritize; there's no way around it!

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