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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?

 


First step on the journey to a simple, sustainable, meaningful life

First step towards a simple, sustainable life

28 Aug 14
Megan
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one comments

What’s the first step to move towards a simple, sustainable, meaningful life?

Know where you are now and know where you want to be.

How do you do that?

By taking time out to reflect on your life and considering what is going well and what areas you’re struggling with. This allows you to actually consider whether what you are doing actually fits in with your passions, and can help to guide you in the areas where you will be able to improve.

When reflecting on your life you’ll most likely find that there are things you are doing that you’d really like to increase doing and other things that you don’t really know why you are doing it at all.

Reflecting on my life I’ve been able to see that for me, my family and friends, my health, and being able to help others are three of the big things that are important to me. Since starting on this journey I try to combine these three into most of my daily activities.

Celebrating with my family and friends earlier this year when we launched the Foggy Frog Kickstarter campaign

Celebrating with my family and friends earlier this year when we launched the Foggy Frog Kickstarter campaign

Once you have an idea of where you are and where you want to be. It’s time to get started and take the first step towards your goal (where you want to be).

This step will be different for everyone because it will be based on where you are and where you want to go, but we’ve shared a few ideas below to help get you started.

Simple ideas to use as a first step towards a simple, sustainable, meaningful life…

 

Depending on where you are and where you’re heading you may decide to focus on simplifying your physical environment, your timetable, or your spiritual/emotional wellbeing.

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  • Declutter your wardrobe (or your medicine cabinet, bathroom or laundry). Start with a small area in your house and physically clear it out keeping only what you’ll need. If you’re worried about throwing out something you’ll need later, pack them away and if you haven’t used them in 3 – 6 months get rid of it by donating, recycling or other means. You’ll find when your physical environment is more open you”ll feel calmer and more organised.
  • Declutter your timetable by modifying, cutting back or removing activities you don’t like doing or don’t really need to do. Say ‘No’ to all new commitments that don’t fit with your definition of what you want your life to be.
  • Meditate for 1o minutes each day. This will help you clear your mind and help you to realise what is most important to you.
  • Plant some herbs. Growing your own food can be very satisfying but also very time consuming. Herbs can easily be grown in pots inside if you don’t have room, are not too expensive, and are great for encouraging you to cook simple homemade meals.

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Fresh veggies cut from our veggie patch.

Fresh veggies cut from our veggie patch.

As we start our journey we’ve begun with a bit of each of these.

Personally, I have added meditation into my daily routine, I’ve begun decluttering our house, and have a veggie patch and some fruit trees in the garden. Thanks to my illness I have had to cut back on a lot of my activities and I’m very careful about adding new activities to my schedule without considering my values and my life goals.

Janelle has begun decluttering her wardrobe, and will be sharing this journey with you next week. She is adding fruit trees to their garden and sharing responsibility of looking after our veggie patch.

We’d love to hear about your journey and what first steps you are considering taking towards your dream lifestyle.

Let us know in the comments below or contact us directly.

Which area of your life do you most want to change?

What’s one small step you could take today to start moving towards the change you want in your life?

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.