Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted, as it seems to always be with the ‘life’ posts. But things have been on the sunny side and I must say I’m in a much better space than I was 6 months ago. It’s funny how time feels like it flies when you’re feeling well and healthy. But just two or three months of being in a dark place can feel like a year or that it’s dragging and you don’t know when/how you’ll ever get out. I don’t know what fixed me. I’m tempted to say it was travel. Because before I went to NZ, everything was crap. But when I returned I had new found motivations. Truthfully, just as it was a snowball effect progressing into depression, I probably snowballed out of it too.
I think it all started with making the decision to quit my job – or the corporate world. I know I jump around a lot career wise, but it seems very obvious to me that the office life is not where I belong. The decision was bold and strong, and of course I had a slight ‘did I do the right thing?’ moment in the week following. But my gut said yes, my brain said yes, and my heart said yes. During my final week of work, I received news that my work permit for Canada was approved. Plans started to fall into my lap. And it felt refreshing to have plans!
January 12 2017 was my last day of work – come to think of it, it would probably be my last day in an office. I had just under a week to pack for NZ and I wasn’t sure how I felt about my life. I was looking forward to traveling again for sure, Canada was planned for April, but what would I do in between?
TRAVEL IN DISGUISE
Somewhere during my travels around New Zealand I gained a healthier relationship with food, regained a sense of spiritual freedom, and a mentality for trying new things. I noticed my clouds of concerns disappeared too. The trip actually wasn’t as fulfilling as I imagined it would be but I had a good time nevertheless. It was more the fact that I was bound to exploring a new thing or place every day, and was always surrounded by strangers. I tried to continue my daily practice of meditation as well, but most days felt like I could do without it. After all the environment I was in for pretty much the entire trip felt meditative. But there were mornings I bursted out of a tent to the freshest air I’ve ever inhaled while my eyes adjusted to the snow-capped mountains that looked like nothing but stillness and patience. Or when night fell and due to the small population to land ratio, I was able to see so much of the sky at once I owed it to the stars to gaze. Then, is when I felt like meditation called.
Was travel my cure for everything? I’m tempted to say so because the past 5 years it’s been a catalyst in more ways than one. Perhaps not always a cure – at many points I hated travel because I believe it fucked up my life. But when I felt like my life was fucked up, I travelled. What on Earth.
A NEW FOUND BEING
Now you’ll find me at home most days. Actually, always. I’m focusing on my home business in massage therapy full-time and this has given me so much more balance. Perhaps the reason why I felt like I always wanted to go in 5 directions was because I was working 40 hour weeks and not having the place or energy to direct these motivations. I’m not saying I have all the time in the world on my hands now, but I feel hella flexible and free to decide when, where, and what goes. It wasn’t like this as soon as I got back from NZ of course. The first two weeks of returning looked like this:
- Got in touch with the Day Spa I interviewed with in the city before I left for NZ. I was to start work asap, starting with 2-3 days to see how I went
- Got in touch with the two recruitment agencies I worked for before to see if they had any temp roles. I’d be happy to do reception here and there between working at the Spa for the extra money.
- Got in touch with more recruitment agencies I interviewed with last year but didn’t work for. I couldn’t be bothered to interview for any new agencies and I knew I had a good record with these guys
No temp work came up for me in those couple of weeks, and I was feeling a little disapproving of my pay vs time at the Spa. Therapists were paid per client, so the more treatments you could do, the more clients and hence money. I was being paid $30 per 60 min massage and my manager wanted to train me up on all the services so I could obviously get more clients & pay. But heck, it wasn’t busy enough for enough pay. I had maybe 2 clients a day over an 8 hour shift – that’s $60 for an ENTIRE DAY! I wasn’t tied up about money anymore, but work was work and getting that pay for a day’s work was bananas. Plus I was doing all this cleaning/maintenance and helping with reception and wasn’t even get paid hourly for that! Pay aside, my manager was lovely and I enjoyed working with the other therapists. I analysed their work procedures, marketing, products, and how they treated clients. Working in a massage clinic busted out the entrepreneur within me.
ALL HAIL GUMTREE
Yeah, this bugger of a site was the catalyst for my home-business. I took a look at my calendar and calculated I had 3 months to do the best I can with this business. Not a lot of time to a lot of people, but 3 months is a lot of time of change to me. I got cracking.
I prettified my massage studio again, got new towels, disposable massage table covers, face pillow covers, speakers, redesigned my flyers and menu, then posted an ad on gumtree. Calls and messages came in immediately! I was stoked but because they were all male, I couldn’t accept. This was just going to be ‘ladies only’. I printed out flyers and visited community centres and gyms to ask about advertising, continuing to get requests from male clients. I was happy to massage males – nothing different to those I massed in the city right? Just had to convince my mum.
A few days after advertising I had my first two clients, and both were male – Alfredo and Rick. There were both fantastic and by the end of day I was so excited, uplifted, and motivated to get by business going! Mum was happy too, though I could tell she still held discomfort of having male strangers in the house and her daughter massaging them. Naturally.
3 WEEKS ON.. SLOW & STEADY
Business BOOMED in the first week and a half. I was getting awesome clients and learned quickly from the dodgy bunch. By that I mean I had clients wanting sensual massages, ‘extras’, or to be massaged without underwear. This became a pattern with the males, the no underwear thing. WHY?! Why is it so utterly uncomfortable for them to wear underwear!? Yes ok it might feel tight or restraining, but why don’t you wear loose-fitting underwear then?! How are you men feeling the rest of the day with underwear ON?! GAAAAAHHH!!
But patience. I have patience. Eventually though I had male clients who’d remove their underwear but covered themselves with a towel. That was fine as long as I knew they were genuine clients who had no intention of anything sexual. I’m sure all massage therapists should be used to nude as well.
THE SUNNY SIDE
Business is slow this week – not many calls. And I blame the two clients who left me a bad review on Gumtree. But that aside, I think I’ve achieved a sense of balance in life for the first time. (‘Achieving’ stopped finding it’s way into my vocabulary, but let’s just say I feel more in sync with myself than I have in a long time.
- I’m eating clean, whole, plant-based food diet
- I find time to exercise every day – yoga, swimming, running, or strength training
- I’m spending time cleaning the house. Not it’s not a chore, it’s something I actually really like to do. Why wouldn’t I feel great contributing to the environment I spend at least 80% of my waking hours in?
- Running errands, getting the groceries, doing the washing, moving things around the house etc – I feel like I’m lightning 50% of my mum’s housework load so she can rest longer and better
- I’m getting paid to do something physical! Giving massages keeps me on my feet AND enhances someone’s wellbeing. It’s spiritually rewarding, keeps my stress away, and the plus is it comes with moolah 😉
- I get ample sleep (and wake up naturally – no alarms!)
- I barely feel stressed anymore
THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS
I admit this way of life wasn’t difficult to achieve in the short run. Just had to quit my job and get out of Sydney for a bit eh? Nah, as I mentioned at the start of my post, it was a snowball effect progressing out of the deep dark hole I was in. I think the key thing that helped me was being true to myself. If else, I would never have seen a psychologist, I would never have quit my job or travelled to NZ, I would never have stopped trying to rekindle old friendships, and I would’ve denied a positive relationship with food.
Resultantly I embrace life for what it is now, and that’s change. If one thing about my life changes, why shouldn’t another aspect? I can resist change if I want to deal with the consequences, but it’s so much easier to let change win.