Yes, another New Year post for the blogsphere. No new concept here, just my own reflections on the closing year and the new one.
I love the holidays: selecting gifts, planning activities, decorating, making special meals, etc. I really do. But today I was finally able to sit down with a mug of tea, a bowl of ice cream (vanilla with maple syrup and peanuts, for the foodies), some quiet music and think about this past year and start thinking about the next.
2011 was a turning point for me. A little background: I quit my office job in 2010, after a very painful period. I spent that year travelling, thinking, I started therapy and just plain tried to put myself back together before going back to the workplace. In the beginning of 2011, I started looking for the same type of job I had before and it took me a few months to realize that I was doing a lot of sabotaging myself, because I simply couldn't face that reality again.
That was a very painful moment for me. My career was very important to my sense of identity. I felt I couldn't go back yet that everyone would look down on this decision. It sounds silly now, but I felt I couldn't talk about this decision with anyone, specially my own family. I could see their reaction, their disapproval and disappointment so clearly in my mind. Yet, in the end, I found nothing but support. I was never quite able to make an announcement but it slowly trickled around. Even now, writing about it, I get choked up and teary from how hard it is.
Once this was clear in my mind, I had to figure out how I was going to earn my keep. I knew that I wanted jewelry making to be my focus but, at the moment, it just isn't enough to pay my bills. What else could I do? I can tutor young people, I can teach languages, I can translate. I can do a lot of other things, but these are my focuses at the moment.
In 2011, I saw my Etsy sales grow impressively, as I invested in marketing and new pieces. I started working with gold, including my sister's wedding ring, and I registered my own domain and got my own website working (www.beatrizfortes.com - shameless plug), which was incredibly exciting. I also was accepted for a jewelry project book and pitched an article for a jewelry magazine.
There is so much to do in 2012! It is going to be an exciting, busy year.
First of all, I must continue to nurture my business. I want to make more pieces, beautiful new designs and learn new techniques. But I must continue to advertise, grow a customer base and keep my existing clients as possible as I can. I must also take a lot of decisions and actions that come from being self employed: find a decent health plan, re do my retirement figures, straighten out several tax and registration issues, etc. Not exciting but absolutely necessary.
Since translating is going to be an important part of my income, I want to take a full course on it. However, it is expensive and a big commitment (2 years) so I am still hesitant. I am trying to pick up some projects to help out (so if you know anyone who needs to translate anything to or from Portuguese, let me know! And I swear this is the last shameless plug).
In 2010, I spent 2 weeks in Penland School of Craft. I now see how crucial that time was in helping me grow confident in my skills and how much I learned there (a lot of it wasn't technical skills at all). I can also see how much more I could have taken away, but my broken state of mind didn't allow me. I want to go back in 2012, if at all possible. I am counting my pennies for this.
Finally, I am going to strive to make my peace with letting the world know about this new path I am taking and how proud I am of what I have achieved so far.
And I want to lose 10 pounds.