Tag Archives: 2014/15

turning thirty

Turning Thirty: Reflections, Visions, Plans

11 Jun 15
Megan
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I turned 30 last weekend.

Those of you who follow us on Facebook or Twitter would be aware that my husband’s 30th was only a few weeks earlier. We decided to do a joint party on my birthday (it was Saturday) and invited friends and family to join us. We had an amazing day with close to 50 people joining us to celebrate.

I put a lot of effort into planning the party so that it would be aligned with my values and life goals.  By that I mean that I attempted to plan the party to be as close to zero waste as possible, and to be focused mainly on spending time with family and friends.

I created a large stack of cloth napkins which did get used, however when the cake was cut paper napkins were still used to distribute it.
cloth napkinsThe napkins I made were from leftover material in my sewing collection, mainly the scrappy bits too small for anything else.

Most of the food was homemade finger food with cocktail pies, pasties and sausage rolls purchased from the local bakery to supplement the food supply.

Reusable and compostable We used as many reusable items as possible and what wasn’t reusable I aimed to make compostable (cornstarch cups, bamboo plates, paper straws).

Although I did my best to pace myself in the days leading up to and the day of the party, it was still a much busier week than I would normally have and I have spent the last few days recovering. I’m starting to feel better now (Wednesday – 4 days after the party) but pain levels and fatigue levels have both been rather high the last few days.

Before I go further with this post, I just want to apologise for the large gap between posts lately. Both Janelle and I have been very busy working to put together the Back to Basics Workshop which will be starting in the next few weeks (You can still join if you’re interested).

Turning Thirty: Reflections

Large life changes are always times to reflect on where you have come from and consider where you want to go moving forward. Turning 30 is one of those times.

Looking back over my life I have always had pretty clear ideas of where I though I would be by the time I turned 30. Although some of these things have come true, my life is nothing like what I had imagined (as you’d expect).

My childhood and teens were spent making friends, spending time outside and getting to know the world around me. As I moved into my 20’s it became more about getting to know myself and becoming clearer about where I wanted to head.

During my 20’s I married my long term boyfriend, we bought our first house together and moved in, and got our own pets.

Early 20’s were focused on finishing study and starting my career as well as focusing on my health by exercising regularly at the gym.

Late 20’s my vision of myself, my career, and my health all changed when chronic pain and fatigue became a part of my life. My goals had to change to fit into my new reality. I could no longer be the ‘gym junkie’, the active outdoors person I was before…

Turning Thirty: Visions

Although part of my vision has stayed the same, I still want a family and to work in community engagement and sustainability,  most of it has now been modified.

How do I see my 30’s going?

I will have a family (biological or adopted) and will be working in community engagement and sustainability field by consulting and providing services through this site.

I will find balance between work, social, and me time. This will include time for meditation and rest and some form of exercise (at this point walking and very basic yoga).

By finding balance and pacing well, I will recover to a point where I can enjoy travelling with my husband and family.

Our life will be as simple, sustainable and meaningful as possible.

Turning Thirty: The Plan

To make my vision come true I will need a plan. The plan is to answer the following questions:

What would make my/our life meaningful?

I’ve already begun answering this question by completing the 100 Goal Challenge last year, but through participating in our Back to Basics Workshop I’m going to review those goals and reassess what is meaningful to me.

I will also have discussions with my husband about what is meaningful to him so that we can make our future plans together.

How can I simplify my life?

A simple lifestyle is key to living well especially with chronic illness. By identifying areas in my life that I can simplify I should create more room to do the things that I meaningful.

Steps I’m already taking towards this are:

  • Hiring a cleaner. Over the past few months I had been doing the cleaning myself again. To begin with I managed to keep up and do a good job, but I’ve found that as I’ve begun adding other meaningful activities into my life (like work), I no longer have the energy to do the cleaning as well. For the cost of $75 a fortnight it is worth having someone come in and clean for us.
  • Simplifying my wardrobe. I’m finally getting to a point where I’m happy with my wardrobe. Through my decluttering efforts I’ve removed over half the items in my wardrobe that were not comfortable, didn’t suit my lifestyle, or were worn out and stained. My next post I’m going to share in detail what is left in my wardrobe.

How can we be more sustainable?

Because sustainability is one of my key values, this is a question that I’m constantly asking myself. I’m attempting to move us from single use and disposable items towards ones that can be reused over and over. Buying quality items that last (instead of large quantities of items) is also key to aiming for a more sustainable house.

This area is one that causes a bit of tension in our house though as my husband doesn’t necessarily understand my strong focus on this value. I’m not saying he doesn’t believe we should do our part to help the environment, it’s just that he thinks I take things too far a lot of the time. For example, he rolls his eyes each week when I take out my keep cup to use when we get takeaway drinks, and he doesn’t feel comfortable using my cloth bags for vegetables or asking the butcher and baker to use my containers (instead of plastic bags).

Another part of being sustainable is to be financially secure/independent/whatever term you’d like to use. This is something that I’m spending a lot of time researching at the moment. Security is one of my husband’s biggest values and so making sure we have enough money to live the lifestyle we want to and achieve our goals is very important to us.

Financially speaking we want to make sure we have enough saved for retirement (so we don’t have to rely on a pension that may not be around), we want to be able to travel and buy nice things when we want to (we have a large lego collection, good quality camera and camping gear, and my husband maintains his bikes), and we want to be debt free.

In general we are doing well in this area (our mortgage is our only debt) but, given I’m pretty much not working at the moment (I don’t bring in any regular salary), I’m not having money put into Super for me and we basically have to live off my husband’s salary. To me setting ourselves a financial plan for the next 2-5 years and belong is a key step to achieving our goal to live a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

Next week I’ll be sharing my simple, sustainable, and (almost) minimal wardrobe with you.

Do you have a clear vision for the future and a plan to get there?

Have you got a financial plan in place to help you achieve your goals?

 


#May12BlogBomb

#May12BlogBomb A Vision for the Future: Living with ME and Fibromyalgia

12 May 15
Megan
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Today is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) Awareness Day.

#May12BlogBomb

Last year, to help raise awareness, I wrote a letter to my illness over on My Chronic Life Journey as part of a blogging campaign begun by Sally Burch over at Just ME (#May12BlogBomb).

This year I’m participating again. The theme for 2015 is ‘A Vision for the Future’.

Like Sally, I feel that May 12 Awareness Day is about helping others who don’t live with these conditions to better understand what life is like for those of us who do. (Not that awareness raising should only occur on one day of the year.)

What I’m hoping to get across today is that, although we may have many challenges in our day to day life that ‘healthy’ people don’t need to consider, we still have the same hopes and dreams for the future.

So, now that I’ve provided some background information let’s get on to my response to the theme…

Visions, hopes and dreams

Although bad health may limit my ability to undertake many activities people consider to be ‘normal’ for someone my age, I haven’t let this steal my hopes and dreams for the future.

Turning 30 this year has led to me thinking more and more about where my life is heading and what I have achieved so far.

I have achieved so much with my life so far that I am proud of, including:

  • Completed my Arts and Science degrees with honours in the science.
  • Worked with individuals, communities and businesses to create a more sustainable future.
  • Raised funds to publish a picture book for raising awareness of invisible illnesses (due to be published later this year)
  • Married the man of my dreams
  • Travelled interstate and overseas for work and holidays (before getting ill)

Although I’ve achieved so much, there is one dream that always seems to be just out of reach for me… Having a child and starting a family.

This is an ongoing issue for me, and something that my husband and I have been discussing quite a lot lately both with each other and with my doctors and specialists.

Although my dream was always that my family would at least be started before I was 30, that is not going to happen. If everything goes well, I may have my first child while I’m 30 but even that seems unlikely.

There are so many additional concerns to consider when thinking about starting a family when you live with a chronic illness.

  • What impact will my conditions have on my ability to conceive and carry a child to term?
  • What impact will pregnancy have on my symptoms? increased pain/fatigue/nausea?
  • How will I cope when the child is born?
  • Will any of the medications I’m on affect my pregnancy/child?

All of these questions are ones I’ve been asking myself, my family, and my doctors and specialists.

We’ve been unable to get a clear answer from any of the doctors or specialists which makes it hard when trying to make an informed decision.

My husband, rightly, has concerns about my health and my ability to cope with pregnancy, birth and child rearing. I’m also concerned about how my body will cope with it all but to me it’s worth it if I’m able to fulfil my lifelong dream of becoming a mother.

The closest we’ve had as a response from the doctors is that the pelvic pain, currently thought to be caused by Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, should not get worse with pregnancy given that I’m having success in reducing it with the pelvic physio’s advice and guidance. In regards to my ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia, none of my doctors or specialists have had enough experience with pregnancy and these conditions to be able to say what may happen.

So, as you can probably tell from all of this, my biggest vision for the future is to be a mother.

My vision does include other things, such as increasing awareness of invisible illnesses and helping others live their own simple, sustainable and meaningful lives, but being a mother is definitely at the top of my list.

What is your vision for the future?

Don’t forget about the opportunity available to you at the moment to join us for our first ever online workshop to help you take the first step towards your own simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Read about it here.

Workshop

Workshop Opportunity – Back to Basics

29 Apr 15
Megan
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one comments

Are you looking for a simple, sustainable & meaningful life?

We’ve taken the plunge, and are planning to share our journey with you and help you start your own journey via a 6-week online workshop.

The workshop will cover the following topics:

  • What makes life meaningful for us?
  • Identifying our values, passions, and life goals
  • What does it mean to be sustainable?
  • Are our current lifestyles sustainable?
  • Developing an action plan towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

What do we get?

This 6-week workshop will begin 1 June 2015 and will consist of regular emails with guiding questions and activities and group discussions via Facebook.

At this stage we are also planning to run at least one webinar during the 6-week period.

Everything will be available for you to access in your own time, and you will have lifetime access to the LiveKen Community via our closed Facebook Page.

How much is the workshop?

The workshop costs a minimal AUD$25  AUD$19.95** and you can sign up using the link below.

** We’ve reduced the cost to make the course more accessible for you.**

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Once you’re payment has been received, you’ll be sent a link to access the Facebook page and you can introduce yourself to the other participants before the workshop commences on 1 June 2015. mid-June.************We’re working extra hard to make the course contents as exciting and useful as possible. As a result we’re postponing the start until mid-June. This gives you another few weeks to sign up for the workshop*****

I look forward to sharing this journey with you and hope to see many of you online in June.

Enough: 2015 year of gratitude and contentment

13 Jan 15
Megan
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one comments

[dropcap color=”orange” background=”green” style=”rounded” size=”small”]E[/dropcap]ditor’s Note: This post was first published on My Chronic Life Journey. As part of making life more sustainable, I will be slowly encouraging followers over at My Chronic Life Journey to join us here at LiveKen and consolidating the two sites.

Happy 2015 everyone!

Let me begin this post of with an apology for being missing in action for the past few months. For those of you who like our Facebook page you’d be aware that I’ve had to take some time off to focus on myself and trying to get things in a way that I can sustain and maintain my lifestyle.

In 2014, I focused my efforts on being the Best ME I could be. I focused on working out what my limits are and (more importantly) what I’m still capable of physically, mentally and spiritually.

It was a busy year and with your help and support I was able to raise the funds necessary to publish the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang picture book (to happen this year). I also identified my physical boundaries and worked on pacing myself to maintain and even slightly improve my health throughout the year.

In the last few months, while I’ve been missing in action I’ve been focused on simplifying my home and my lifestyle so that I can focus on what is important to me.

This year, 2015, I will be continuing my journey on simplifying and creating a sustainable lifestyle that doesn’t impact negatively on my health. I will be sharing this journey with you through this site and our sister site My Chronic Life Journey. I’d love to have all of you join me on this journey.

I have realised that in my home and in my life I have enough, if not too much, of many things. I have enough people around me who love and support me. I have enough health to appreciate what happens around me in my life and can do enough to keep me happy. I have enough physical items and would actually like to reduce the amount dramatically as less clutter means more time and energy to focus on what is important. Most importantly, I am enough! I would like my health to improve (I’d love a complete recovery) but realistically I am enough and I don’t need to try and change who I am to make others happy.

My focus this year is on being grateful for what I have and doing what I can to help others have enough and be enough to be happy with their lives.

Do you have a focus for 2015?

Are you ready to join me on a journey of gratitude and reflection? 

Where are we now? - We're at the start

Where are we now? The start of the LiveKen Journey

14 Aug 14
Megan
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one comments

If you’ve been following us over the last few weeks you’d know that we are working towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life and we are wanting to share this journey with you.

About a month ago Janelle and I shared with you where we both came from and what our previous experiences had been, but where are we now?

What have we been doing and where are we going?

To put it bluntly, we’re at the start of this journey…

We have begun the research and experimentation we feel we need to do to work out the answers to the questions:

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  • Where are we coming from?
  • Where are we wanting to get?
  • What do we need to do to get there?
  • Where are we going to find support and guidance?

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This research includes reading inspirational stories (see the links below in – Where are we getting our inspiration?) and reading books and articles that describe what it is we are trying to achieve and how others have achieved it.

Although we’ve begun researching and taking actions, we are still at the very early stages of identifying what a Simple, Sustainable and Meaningful life means for us. We are trying to work out how we are going to achieve our goals while taking into consideration the other people in our lives; our partners, our friends, and our extended family.

We will be working to clearly define our goals over the next month or so and will be sharing this process with you here on the blog.

As mentioned above, we have already started taking action to move towards the lifestyle that we want:

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  • We’ve begun decluttering our homes and our schedules.
  • We’ve almost completed the illustrations (just need colour) for the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang picture book. The first step in our Foggy Frog Campaign for invisible illnesses.
  • We’ve started being more sustainable, with homemade cleaning supplies and a veggie garden set up.
  • We’ve begun identifying our expenditure for our budgets so that we can have a clear picture of where we are starting from.

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Where are we getting our inspiration?

I think that for as long as I’ve been in the workforce I’ve had a niggling desire to make these changes, but the final push for me was my chronic illnesses.

Since being ill, I have been inspired by many people including Leo from ZenHabits, Courtney from Be More with Less, and (more recently on a financial note) Mr Money Moustache

Both Janelle and I also receive inspirational posts regularly from Mind, Body, Green.

We are inspired to follow our passions and ignite our dreams so that we can live the best life we can and make a positive impact on the world.

Our background is in environmental science and sustainability is one of our strongest values, but the journey we are on is one that anyone can take and that can be adapted to suit your own dreams and values.

Where are we wanting to go?

This is something we will answer next week, when we begin to question what a simple, sustainable and meaningful life is for us.

We’d love to hear what you see it as for you as well.

LiveKen’s hopes for you in the Next Year

07 Aug 14
Janelle
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No Comments

Last week Megan spoke to you all about our goals, both within the business and personally.

This week we thought we would take some time to share with you what we hope you achieve with us.

Start Thinking

I know it seems too obvious, but that is all we would like you to start doing.

Just start thinking…

But don’t just think about nothing.

We would like you to think what it means, for you now and for the future to lead a simple, sustainable and meaningful life. Remember, this is not a race you do not need to have an answer straight away and it does require some real thought – it’s not as easy as deciding want you would like to eat for breakfast.

Also for most, it’s not just singular – do you have a partner? Children? A family? Then you will need to think about what it means for you and discuss this with your loved ones and find some time to learn what it means for them.

Once you have thought about it quantify it – say it out loud, write it down – make sure YOU understand what you mean by a simple, sustainable and meaningful lifestyle.

Steps Forwards

After identifying what a simple, sustainable and meaningful lifestyle is for yourself start to think again.

Do you have areas that need work? Can you identify problem areas that are holding you back? What steps can you take to move forward towards a more meaningful life?

And most importantly start taking these steps in your own life on your journey to a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

Share With Us

We would also love to hear your stories as you discover what is important to you and your journey to them.

Also there will be opportunities for you to share your story here with us and to join, our growing community, through feedback and discussion groups.

Most of all we look forward to your feedback on our journeys and to share with us your ideas and suggestions on leading a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

My Personal Targets for 2014/15

Now, like Megan last week I will share with you a few of my personal targets for the coming year.

I have decided to set myself some general targets and a few specific ones at this point of time in my journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life, as I am still determining what this means to me.

This is after all a journey and we are never, hopefully set in ours ways and as we grow and learn we need to change and review our targets. What follows are some of the goals I am setting for myself;

Reduce the energy I waste on worrying about things that continue to be out of my control and to accept things that have happened and to not waste time dwelling on them.

Re-direct my energy into activities I enjoy, like this journey.

To take time for myself, learn to say “no” and stop apologizing – I have recently realised that I am a bit of a push over!

To get myself fit again – everyone has decided at one point or another that the couch looks better than getting up and doing something and this has been myself over the past year. Its time I started to get back some of that energy I have lost to eating too much chocolate 🙂

Reconnect with the enjoyment I have when I bake – I shall hopefully share some of my time in the kitchen with you all.

And finally the one I am very excited about – start planning my wedding!

What are your targets for the year? Have you thought about setting yourself some goals?

What do you hope to achieve and learn with us on your own personal journey towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life?

The first step forward is to start thinking about what is meaningful to you and if you are focusing energy towards what is meaningful to you. If not then why, and does something need to change?

Please share with us your targets for 2014/15.

LiveKen sets Targets for 2014/15 – Looking Forward

31 Jul 14
Megan
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one comments

Over the last few weeks Janelle and I have been having a think about what we’d really like to achieve in the next 12 months and how that can fit in with things here at LiveKen. As a result we’ve set ourselves and LiveKen targets for 2014/15.

LiveKen Targets for 2014/15 (as a business)

We  obviously want to make sure LiveKen is a viable (read profitable) business.

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  • Increase readership here at LiveKen. It’s a new site so we don’t expect miracles but we do want to bring in new people who are interested in what we have to say.
  • Publish the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang Picture Book.
  • Raise a minimum $1,500 through donations towards the Foggy Frog Campaign, which I’ll go into in further detail in future posts. $1,500 would allow us to develop a educational workshop for schools about life with an invisible chronic illness.
  • Look at options for adding adverts (looking into Google Adsense) to the site and for joining affiliate programs, such as Amazon Associates.

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We will be making sure that with each of these options we align with the LiveKen values. For example, through affiliate links we will only recommend products that we have reviewed ourselves and believe will be helpful.

On top of this we would like to develop a small support/action group, beginning with our friends, that focuses on simple, sustainable and meaningful living.

This group is still in it’s infancy (currently comprises of the 2 of us) but we have so far come up with the following activities that we will be involved in:

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  • Shared gardening areas. We have space in our garden to have a veggie patch while Janelle doesn’t, so we will be sharing gardening tasks and produce from the garden.
  • Sharing practical tips for living a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.
  • Homemade cleaning supplies. We’ve started with laundry detergent.

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Shared Veggie Beds

One of two veggie beds already set up in the garden. There is space for more when we feel confident looking after them.

Our (Joint) Personal Targets for 2014/15

In our personal lives, we will be working together to set up budgeting for both of our households and working to declutter and simplify our own lives and houses.  We will also be working with our partners to really determine what is meaningful to each of us so that we can work out how to focus our energy there.

We will continue to share our journey here on the LiveKen blog in the hope of inspiring others to do the same.

My Personal Targets for 2014/15

Thanks to my chronic illnesses, the targets I have for myself may seem almost insignificant to those of you who are healthy, but for those of you out there who are facing the difficulties of living with chronic illness here are my personal goals for 2014/15: [checklist style=”green”]

  • Continue to work on finding a balance in life and work towards returning to work.
  • Build up to being able to walk/ride at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Complete my current unit for my University degree (last assignment due next week) and then focus on completing my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment by April 2015.
  • Go on a wonderful holiday with my husband to somewhere we can just relax on the beach for a week or two.

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So, there you have it. Those are our aspirations and targets for this financial year. Next week we’ll be sharing what we hope you will get out of joining us on this adventure in 2014/15.

Until then, use the comment box below to let us know what you think of our goals and targets here at LiveKen.

What targets are you aiming for in 2014/15?

What would you like to see more of here on LiveKen?