People have long bought into the notion that youth is good and ageing is bad. Some alter their outward appearance to maintain an image of themselves when they were younger. But while you may reach your physical peak in your 20′s and 30′s, is that when you should peak as a human being? Because if you do, it’s only down hill from there, right? That’s many decades of a slow decline because most of us will live into our 70′s or 80′s if not longer. Do you want to keep looking back reliving what was, instead of looking ahead to see what the future holds?
But what if you embrace the idea that you only improve with age? Then every year brings new adventures, new confidence, new skills. They weren’t kidding about this wise woman/man stuff. I find as I get older, things that mattered desperately when I was younger are no longer that important and I am able to put things in better perspective. It is a truly liberating feeling to follow your heart and not really care what other people think. I just saw a trailer for a wonderful new film called Advanced Style. These are some wonderful women who are following their hearts and expressing themselves through fashion. I hope to be like them when I grow up although I have a sneaking suspicion they may always have been like that. All of us have a desire for self expression and growing older has given me the courage to act on it. My current form of self expression is trying to build and juggle two businesses. I did not plan for this to happen. I didn’t sit down and think, “I want a business, what should it be?” They evolved organically and although it took a lot of work to get them started, they are both growing. Growing slowly, because that’s something else I’ve learned along the way, it doesn’t have to happen in an instant for it to count as a success. A major lesson for someone so impatient that I read the ending of the book first and then fill in the middle bits. What I bring to the table now is the experience from many decades of life lived. I’ve been fortunate enough to have very interesting life experiences and they have all shaped my outlook. And so most days I am happy. I procrastinate a fair amount but also gets lots done. I can’t remember what I did before I became this busy. Sure I have days where something sets me off and I have a good rant about it as well as the days of self doubt where I wonder if I’m just crazy to be doing what I do. But I have a wonderful family and friends who will very patiently listen to me and support me.
But most of all, I am proud of who I have become. It’s been a very long time coming but I think I can truly say that I am comfortable in my own skin and with the place I occupy in the world. Okay some of us learn a bit more slowly than others. But who cares as long as you get there in the end. It’s not a race, it’s your life. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
So I went to visit hubby in Prague over the weekend. I’m not a huge fan of flying but one of the things I like to do is buy books at the airport. I always arrive pretty ridiculously early at the airport so have to wander around killing time before they even announce my gate. That’s the perfect time to get lost inside one of the book shops. I am not a sophisticated reader, I tend to read chick lit with the occasional real book thrown in there.
So I found myself on Friday looking for a book. Now as my head is currently full of thoughts about my Kinomi nuts, I found myself drawn towards books by entrepreneurs. I found Super Business by Fraser Doherty. He is the young man responsible for Super Jam, a jam made with just fruit and fruit juice which I had been buying at Waitrose. On a quick aside, I found another fundamental difference between my hubby and me. I always choose a book by the synopsis and the cover. He says he never goes near a book that has a synopsis on the back. So there you go. Anyway, back to the book. According to the synopsis on the back, he started his business at 14 with his gran’s jam recipe and he’s now stocked in all the large supermarkets. This is his story on how he achieved that. So I bought it, and read it on the plane and finished it the next day (it is a short book).
There is so much useful advice crammed into the book that I’m going to have to read it again. Maybe not the parts where he tried to perfect his jam recipe, but the parts where he talks about how to sell your brand and things you can do to promote your product. I have bought my share of books by business people over the years ( I fly a lot) but this one may be the first one I’ve actually finished and want to use. Maybe because it’s not full of jargon but just a straightforward account of what he did and why he did.
Thanks to Fraser, I am working on a Kinomi page for my website and have started to think more about how I can promote the brand. Maybe flying’s not so bad after all.
I’ve been running my cooking classes for about a year now. Sometimes I have students, sometimes I don’t, but I figure it’s important to keep doing it so I do. But a very interesting thing has happened as a result of my classes.
I have hinted in past blog posts about the flavoured nuts I do for my students being very popular. Well, it’s official. It’s now it’s own product called Kinomi which is Japanese for tree nuts. How did I get here? Let me backtrack a bit. In December when I participated in the last Underground Market, I took part in a Dragon’s Den like panel which gave feedback on new products. My flavoured nuts were very favourably received and a distributor saw real potential in them. So we started working together to see if they could really be a product. I discovered very quickly that my brain is not set up to process spread sheets. I can read them (sort of) once they are done, but no way could I put one together. Thank goodness for inhouse help in the form of my wonderful husband whose brain is structured that way. I realized I could spend 2 days working it out for myself or I could ask him and have it done in 5 minutes. Knowing when to ask for help is a humbling but essential part of setting up a business.
So many times, I thought the project had reached a dead end, the numbers didn’t add up and I was ready to give up. But J from the distributor wouldn’t give up, showing me how to look at a problem from different angles. Ultimately, we came up with a product that is very cool looking and will hopefully appeal to people.
I wish I had a photo to post of the actual product, but I am still waiting for all my supplies to arrive. I’ll write more about it later as this could easily turn into something too long to read. Watch this space.
Are we all creative beings? Why are some people seen as creative and others not? Is it a question of talent or perception? Is having a creative outlet a productive way to work through your emotions good or bad? Will being creative make you better in touch with your feelings? These are questions that have hit me this morning and I thought I should write them down. I don’t have answers to any of these things and I’m sure someone out there has done a lot of research into this already. But what if it isn’t that complicated? I’m not saying that we all have the potential to be a da Vinci. Obviously some people are more talented than others. But what if we could all create a little something to call our own, something that gives us joy whether the world acknowledges it or not.
What is it to be creative? I think it is an honest expression of your emotion at that moment. Easier said than done, but what if from early childhood, we were given the tools to discover what our creative voice is? Whether it is through art, music, building, cooking, writing, sport, any activity that taps into your emotions. And what if there wasn’t a standard you needed to reach, just a level of self satisfaction. When my kids were little, they went to a school that was called “the gifted and talented school”. The premise was all kids are gifted and talented in some way, it’s the school’s job to figure out what that is and nurture it. I’m not sure they were really that successful, but it is a great premise for a school.
Because I was never any good at art at school, I went along thinking I wasn’t creative. It turns out that I am but producing a drawing of a school building on a piece of paper is not how it manifests. Also something else I found out as an adult, you can be taught to draw. Now I know there’s a huge difference between being able to draw an object and being an artist but if the act of drawing gives you pleasure and provides an outlet, then why not? Of course if you then think you should show it in a gallery, that could be a problem. But my dad has a friend who does just that. He loves taking photographs and sometimes when he gets back from a trip, he holds an exhibition. He rents space, has the photos blown up and mounted and invites his friends to come along. Obviously he has the resources to do this, but it gives him great pleasure. The photos are good, but mostly you see his passion and delight.
I guess it’s a long shot to think that you could implement something like this in the classroom and maybe it’s not practical given the current class sizes. But really, while it is important to learn to read and write and reason and all that academic sort of thing, ultimately, isn’t it more beneficial to have a society of emotionally well rounded people? People who can channel their emotions into something that gives them pleasure and is not harmful to them or any one else? I think with this blog, I hav added writing as one of the ways that I create. What’s yours?