Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Leap, and the net will appear


On this rather nothingish, middle-of-the-week, middle-of-the-month Wednesday, we are leaping, my husband and I. We have always felt incredibly lucky that for over a decade my husband has had a job that has felt utterly safe and secure working as the director of a web design agency. When I was 29 weeks pregnant with our first child, my husband sent his CV to a one-man web design business and this one man decided to take a risk and employ my husband. Together they built and tended to that small company as it grew to be a much bigger and more successful agency with over twenty members of staff. But eventually, rather than this security being liberating, it became smothering. His job was so solid that to do anything other than hold onto it would have seemed madness. And yet, it hasn't made his heart feel happy; as the company has grown and he has been forced to manage, rather than immerse his mind in the mathematical complexities of game design, this feeling of no longer stretching his brain or of solving problems for himself has ebbed away at him.

A few years ago, as a way of keeping his mind active, he taught himself to design iPhone apps and in the evenings began developing a series of educational games. Our children suggested ways in which they'd like to learn and our friends' children gave him positive feedback that suggested his games were actually really enjoyable. I wrote an article about sewing for a local magazine in exchange for some advertising for him and we gained more feedback, this time from the parents of children we didn't know, saying that his games were good.

And in the evenings, after yet another day where he felt he had only managed the work of others and become a medium between his clients and his team rather than doing the work himself, he would say to me: wouldn't it be fantastic if I could be at home all day designing these apps. And I would agree and we would say 'one day', never really knowing when that day would come. For a while, it was nice having that as a dream for the future...but then it became depressing. It was a dream that we talked about often, but one which it became apparent we would never have the chutzpah to risk following.

And then my husband's lovely father died, not long after two of my husband's young friends had also died. At 34 he had sung and spoken at more funerals than he had weddings (and at each I have never known where he found the strength to do any of those things). His, and my, sense of permanence, of our own mortality or what a life is was shaken and everything seemed to fall down like a row of dominoes and we found ourselves plodding through the worst year of our entire lives. I know that blogs can often look somewhat rose-tinted, but that's perhaps because they rarely feel the right place to share the intricacies of sadness; as Jane Brocket once said, that's something that is rightly reserved for sharing around the privacy of the kitchen table. But as we built things back up we began to wonder...should you wait until you have all your building bricks in the right places and the most stable of foundations to make the changes you hope for in your life...or will you never really get to a place where you have built those foundations properly if their stability is based on caution and fear? And so we have decided to leap.

Three months ago my husband handed in his notice at work. And we now look forward to a year where he will become more immersed in our daily lives. He has longed to walk our children to school in the mornings and to be there to help with homework and make the weekday evenings feel more like weekends while they are still young enough to want to sit and play boardgames with us, or listen to stories being read to them.

My mother sent me a quote last week. It was this:

Hope is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart.
It is not the conviction that something will turn out well,
but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.

This says it all to me. We have no assurances that our plans will turn out the way that we hope they might...but I have absolutely certainty that to try makes sense.

I also recently came across the quote at the top of this post, about leaping and a net appearing. We have found that this couldn't be more true. Nets have appeared from all around us. My husband has been offered a part-time design role at his work in response to his resignation which minimises our risk hugely, friends have offered him web design work if he'd like it, family have introduced him to wonderful contacts, while other family members have offered their unwavering financial support. And our people have listened, talked through our plans and then most importantly smiled and said 'I think you should do it' or 'of course he would make it work'.


I've often written here that an Anais Nin quote gives me the courage to do many things that I'd otherwise turn away from. This has been true of my husband too - it's a quote that years ago meant little to him, but now is one that he too turns to.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

It may seem that we are basing large decisions on the back of inspiring, but somewhat romantic, quotations. And you'd be right. I'll let you know if this was sane or not at a later date, but for now, I will be enjoying sharing lunch with my husband.

Florence x

49 comments:

  1. Sometimes, taking a risk can be so liberating. Hoping your future works out just the way you want it to!

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  2. What an inspiring post. I love the quotes and wish you all the luck in the world. I have always thought that in life you have to try things. Even if you fail you will still be one of those people that tried x

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  3. Yay to you guys, good luck can't wait for more app news x

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  4. Such a brave and bold move, forget the risk, sometimes we have to follow our dreams. My partner and I did just that a couple of years ago, we left stable jobs, our home, and even moved country (all whilst I was pregnant with baby number 4) to start our own business. It is CRAZY, we are broke, but its working, and it WILL pay off, its the best thing we ever did for our future. Sometimes its not enough for the heart to sing, sometimes we have to grab that opportunity to let it soar. Best of luck and congratulations :)

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  5. Go For It!!!! You will be fine!! This is such a wonderful post...My husband and I married late and missed the opportunity to do what you are doing....It is the right thing and you will never regret it....I am so happy and so excited for you both!!!!! When you have to think about every step you see the footprints!!!

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  6. oh Florence, that brought a tear to my eye! So excited for you all and congratulations for taking the leap. Wishing you many happy lunches and school pickups.

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  7. Oh Florence, thanks for sharing. Much food for thought. Life's too short to wonder what if or what might have been. Do what makes you and your family happy.

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  8. Oh the very best of luck Florence and Ian. Your husband sounds like a very talented man and I'm sure he'll make a success of his new venture. My husband sold his business three years ago and has only worked three days a week ever since - our quality of life is something money can't buy. We've never regretted it for a moment and I really hope you don't either. x

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  9. An intimate and inspiring post. Admirable to step outside of your comfort zone as a family.

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  10. I am only just getting to know you through your blog but I found this so moving and inspiring. A beautiful post! Good luck to you and your family in your new adventure.

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  11. How exciting!! I'm so happy for you guys and will be hoping with all my heart that everything goes smoothly. You are so lovely and it's so touching to read about your family. xoxo

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  12. This post struck a cord with me. My husband and I are preparing for a major life change involving a move across Canada, quitting our very secure high paying jobs, selling the house and leaving friends and family behind in pursuit of a dream. We see our friends looking on, thinking we are deranged. We have no clue where this will lead us long term but know that we just have to do it – this life ends too soon to waste precious time in the midst of “safety” when taking the leap could lead to the extraordinary. I cheer you and your husband for taking that leap!

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  13. It takes more guts to do the leap than it does to stand still. I am sure you have both made the right decisions irrespective of what the outcome is. Am very excited for you for your proactive journey xx

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  14. What a lovely post, I hope everything goes well for you.

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  15. Good luck! We made that same leap 18 years ago and our business is still going strong. We're now at the stage of deciding when to retire which is just as difficult a decision as making the leap was in the first place! I love the quotations, especially the last one - I'll have to show that to DH.

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  16. What a lovely and exciting post, Florence. And I love your quotes - where did your mother find that one? I have a book by Carol Lloyd called 'Creating a Life Worth Living', all about career design for creative types. She quotes WH Murray: "Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elemental truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitively commits oneself, then providence moves too." Sounds like that has been true for you so far and I hope it continues to be so.

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  17. I think untimely, shocking and sorrowful events can make us question the status quo and whether it is the life we WANT to live as opposed to the life we "find" ourselves living. As the saying goes, nobody on their deathbed ever wished they'd spent more time at the office. Some things in life are more important. On a practical note, the offers of work and the support of family and friends provide a reassuring (and sensible) safety net. So with that in place, go lunch, dream, create, enjoy, live and laugh! And Good Luck.

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  18. Big risk brings big rewards. The two of you will make it work :)

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  19. I often come here to admire everything. This is a beautiful post, and inspiring. I have 3 children, and have huge responsibilities for 2 different offices...and at times, all I want to do is stay at home and cook, sew and be with the children. They grow too fast, the 2 girls are in their teens and I still hang on to them as if they are toddlers...Recently, a colleague and good friend, out of the blue, she was diagnosed a life threatening disease and it seems that everything will dissaper overnight...it made me think that I should really prioritize everything. It will be a great time for you all.

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  20. Dear Florence,
    Your post is both beautiful and inspiring. I wish you both lots of luck but I'm sure you'll both be fine in taking that leap.

    I lost my Dad in July and, on the same day we were told he wasn't going to survive, both my husband and I were made redundant. Quite a bombshell day! Like you, this awakened a sense of our own mortality and has made us look at things very differently. We are also tentatively exploring what we really want to do next once we finish our jobs this Friday.

    Change is often a little scarey .... but the last quote you made is very true. Have courage and all will be well :)

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  21. Good for you, guys! I really wish you all the best. I hope it all turns out even better than your dreams. Good luck!

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  22. And I thought all I was going back to your site for was the makeup bag tutorial.

    Great support from the Universe is what I wish for you and all who strive to follow the heart.

    You know, I don't have any relatives or friends who could cover my back financially, but I took the leap anyway. I have enough, and my life is simpler and more satisfying.

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  23. Good luck with all your changes. Sometimes the most necessary things can be the scariest.

    One of my past mentors once told me that if you *really, really* want something, you can make it happen. Money might be tight, sacrifices might have to be made, but you'll get there and eventually it will be all good. Sending good vibes and warm thoughts for those days that are a bit scarier than the others.

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  24. Go for it! Such an inspiring post, hope it all works out for you both.

    And love the new quilt - those colours are rich with autumn tones, I love it, and am please that little piece of silk has been used in such a beautiful way.

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  25. I wish you the very best of luck for your new ventures. I'm sure it will be a scary and bumpy road at times, but I hope that it brings you much happiness!

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  26. Just stumbled across your site and really enjoyed all tutorials and such. I did several pins on you for pinterest.com with the link back to your page!!! Keep up the great work!!! Do you sell your purses?? How much?? I could make one but for time. http://tinkartist.blogspot.com Pam

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  27. Thank you Florence for sharing this with us all around the big kitchen table on the web. Good Luck! x

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  28. Bless you for sharing this with us. I admire you both so much for taking this leap and wish you both all the luck in the world!

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  29. What an inspiring story, good luck with the new venture :o)

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  30. Thank you so much for sharing these personal moments and feelings. As they say in Italy "In bocca al lupo!" for your newest adventure.

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  31. Lovelt post Florence and so true. Have taken another type of leap myself lately and I think that this is what life is about. if you never leap, you will have too many regrets. Life is fragile and we need to make the most of it while we have it.

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  32. The title of your wonderful post made my heart skip a beat. You see, yesterday I met up with some old classmates for lunch in the city. There strung across the street outside the Town Hall was a huge net which appeared to be waiting for someone to leap. It was an installation piece, part of Sydney's Art & About this month.

    Yes, enjoy your leap. From my time of life I know that nets will appear for you, even though at times you won't even realise they are there. If you are blessed, as we are, with loving family and friends, you will not only survive - you will thrive. I'm so happy for you.

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  33. Florence I bet you're super excited to have him around more and the children will love him been able to take them to school. My husband so longs to take ours to school but he leaves for work at 0630, he books a days holiday so he can do it!! Good Luck!!

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  34. I wish you the best of luck with the changes in your life. I feel it's good to step outside our comfort zone especially if we are feeling unhappy and aspiring to something different. And certainly given your husband's experience it won't be hard for him to find project work. I am also happy for you that you get to spend more time together as a family, it's nice to have loved ones around

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  35. How exciting. Good luck to you both.

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  36. Gosh, thank you so, so much for all your wonderful comments - it was so lovely to hear your own thoughts and tales of leaping. Thank you so much for all your positive wishes for us - you are so kind and I feel truly lucky to have such dear and encouraging readers.

    I was also sad to read about some of your own struggles - although, I was heartened that even the truly awful events seemed to be shared with a feeling of hope that good things may ultimately come out of things that you never would have wished for or wanted.

    Florence x

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  37. The very best of luck to you all. How wonderful that you are doing it and that those around you can be so supportive.

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  38. What a timely blog for me. My husband and I are going through a very similar thing and I have to admit that I'm the one holding on and holding on until things are 'perfect' before we take our next step. He's a lot braver than I am. On Tuesday night a friend of ours passed away very suddenly at such a young age and with a 1 year daughter and lovely wife left behind. Its making me re-assess my fear. I really wish you guys all the luck in the world. I'm sure the outcome will be great, whatever shape it takes. Thank you for the inspiration. x

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  39. I love the quotes and wish you all the luck in the world.

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  40. Wow, your post makes a man uncomfortable in the best way possible. Thank you.

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  41. Leaps of faith allow amazing things to happen Florence. Good luck to both of you!

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  42. Very best of luck to you all. You are so inspiring and thank you for sharing it all with us.

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  43. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

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  44. Yes, leap leap leap! So inspiring, will be sending this to Mr Kat as he is getting ready to make a leap. Good luck to you and Mr Teacakes x

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  45. I love keeping up with your blog and what you guys are up. This sounds like an amazing adventure and you two are just the people to do it.

    Much much love,
    Vix
    xx

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  46. My husband and I have just read your post and re-read it. 2 years ago my husband's younger sister dies suddenly and he took the decision to become self employed to become more flexible with regards to the children and their needs. 2 yrs on its the best thing he ever did, the risk has certainly paid of and has helps with the healing process. We wish you and your husband all the luck in the world.
    Thank you for sharing
    Jenny

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  47. This is a wonderful post and I must say I aspire to have a family and life like yours. I am currently unemployed due to being bullied and pushed from my previous job and took this opportunity to realise my dream of sewing and design by starting my own company and making clothes and accessories. My boyfriend of a year and a half is in the same position your husband was, working as a games designer and offered another job in a new and growing company but has ended up in management, managing the work of others. I believe life is all about waiting for the right opportunity at the right time, and going for it. Everything happens for a reason.

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  48. I have needed to take that leap a couple of times in my life. I say need because it's not a want, it's a drive from inside. Both times my life has taken an unexpected turn but then afterwards I've been happier.

    It takes courage to take the leap and not everyone has enough. I'm so glad you two do, and I'm certain it will work out for the best.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x