I spent the weekend in a marquee and feel like someone took my brain and gave it a massive jolt of inspiration, squashed in a ton of useful information and left me buzzing with excitement about all the possibilities out there for the future. Not one someone, many someones and all down to the genius idea that was Folksy Summer School, the brilliant speakers they lined up and the lovely crowd that showed up. They laid on so much for us to enjoy but being a swot, I stuck to the classroom. I knew I wanted to capture all I could from hearing such a range of people speak about so many aspects of setting up, running and growing the kinds of businesses I love to see flourishing all around. Go, go cottage industries! Twitter and Instagram should link to a lot more if you want to see other perspectives about a really special event - the hash tags are #folksyss and #folksysummerschool.
I signed up with limited expectations really, my friend was going, I thought it sounded fun and would be helpful if I ever got around to trying one of my fantasy ideas of selling handmade loveliness but that it maybe wasn't quite the right time for me. I've got a lot whirling around at the moment and I didn't already have a creative business idea fixed in mind. I am so, SO glad I went, it was just the right time for me. I left with a real belief that some of these fantasies could be captured, shown the light of day and with elbow grease and self-belief built in to something worthwhile and fulfilling.
I'm standing at the start of a new path. I don't think we ever have the control we like to believe we do over what our path will be or what will show up on it but I'm more conscious of that mystery than at any time in than ten years. I'm stepping out in to the unknown, excited and scared almost in equal measure. Two and a half months ago I decided to give up my current career in academic publishing. It was an instinctive decision at the end after a long period of uncertainty: part burnout, part a sense that I wasn't doing all I could be doing. I realised that there had to be more than feeling like I was working my heart out for something I wasn't feeling rewarded by anymore. No next step planned, just holding on to the belief that to know what you don't want to do is a good substitute for knowing what you do want to do.
The past months have been challenging, a battle between loving the decision I took and fearing that I failed and walked away from something I should have carried on with. I've worked my way back through that to a place where I know I made the right choice to step out and find what the future will hold for me. Worked back to a place where I can quieten the doubts when they creep in and feel proud that I took this decision for me. Part way through I found one shining beacon of joy to light the way. I applied for and got a wonderful part time job to start at the beginning of September. I'll be doing the office work for a community arts charity and just can't wait to get started.
I wish that was balm enough for my agitated brain but the questions about what else? What Else? are always lurking at the edges. The bunting bedecked classroom certainly made a lot of suggestions. I felt at home with this community of positive people, ideas bubbling over every which way you looked. Folksy Summer School brought many more lights to shine on my dark and mysterious path. I thought one of my many scribbles from the day had been something about "you can't control the path you are on but you can control the way you walk along it" I can't find that at the moment in my copious notes, it might well be something I've read from someone's blog or a famous quote. Whoever's words I am stealing without credit, sorry and thank you! I do it with gratitude for a concept that speaks deeply to me. With twinkly fairy lights and flickering candles I'll keep exploring and endeavour to walk along my path with a more certain step and a happy heart.