My year of living dangerously.

"The ace of spades" © David Martin 2011 (Sala Boli on Flickr)

"The ace of spades" © David Martin 2011 (Sala Boli on Flickr).

This photo is the work of another photographer.
Originally uploaded by Sala Boli Discovered on Flickr by Kell from Blackcurrant Photography. 
Please visit the Flickr stream of the photo's creator to see more of their work.

Risk taking comes in so many forms. Some people seek adrenaline pumping activities, others turn to chemically enhanced fun or gambling in some form. Some people pursue their dreams by jumping on a plane to explore another place (I wish!) or by putting themselves in harm’s way to help others.

In 2007 I took a risk and chose a job that was the complete opposite of everything I’d ever wanted for myself. Working for the man. Doing a job I felt lousy about because I felt anyone could do it. I  was an artist! It felt so wrong for me but it was slim pickings & the agent assured me it’d be good for me in the long run.

For the large part, my last job was exceedingly good to me. I learnt many professional skills, I had stability, I had good managers, great colleagues & I was paid well for working very hard. The pay often embarrassed me. It seemed far too much at times.

After a few rough years dealing with illness, family breakups & Jason’s Dad’s suicide, we enjoyed ourselves. We started going to restaurants, buying clothes, buying gifts, taking trips. We even took out a loan to get married. I recently worked out I must’ve personally spent $100 a week on takeaway coffees, food and magazines. We were having fun living in the moment.

I look around my house now and see little evidence of the $ we had (though my waist likes to remind me of the food). We did have some lovely trips away though and I don’t regret those at all. Though apart from getting married and spending time with Jas I wasn’t really all that happy and he wasn’t happy because I wasn’t.

So at the start of 2010 we took an even bigger risk. We halved our household income & I went back to school. In pursuit of training, fulfillment & happiness.

It was tough, it still is.

I didn’t qualify for study assistance because Jas earned a little too much. Unlike banks etc the Govt don’t ask what’s going out…only what comes in. Not having study assistance was one thing, but it also meant I couldn’t get a healthcare card or concession so I often had to just tough things out when I was unwell.

My workload was heavy, so in order to make the most of the sacrifice we made to send me to school I concentrated on school, not on looking for work. Which was working out until I couldn’t pay my fees anymore. Having to ask for help is something I’ve always struggled with so having to ask for help to do something so important to me was really hard.

But I passed, all adversity aside. I have new skills, I have pride in myself, I have photographs I love and a passion for chasing light & capturing it for others.

See, I didn’t go to school with the intention of starting this business. The dream is here but there are no funds. There never were. I’ve sold things I love to buy materials so I can try and sell my work. This business wasn’t part of the short-term plan but one to build, brick by brick. And build it I will… but now, I need help.

I don’t see it as a failure to not do it full-time as I knew I would have to work again. To take another risk, and hope someone else is willing to take a risk on me.

Now I sit here looking for employment that makes me happy, where I can make a difference. Looking for the proof that these risks paid off. Thinking of how nice it’d be to have money again. To not think about how a trip into town for coffee costs the same as our evening meal…..Daydreaming of a posh dinner and a trip to the day spa. Or some Indian takeaway.

Knowing that this year of living dangerously has changed me and that I will really value what those little bits of plastic & metal in my purse can do.

Knowing to be carefully selective, not desperate and to honour the sacrifices made by those that believe in me.

Trying to keep on smiling 🙂


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