I wrote in January about how my one little word for 2014 was Forward. I’ve been putting that in action since then.

I realised sometime towards the middle of last year that I was not happy with my work and it was affecting other areas of my life. To quote a truism, if Mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy, and that was beginning to show itself to be true around my home.

I was not handling things well. I didn’t have the grace and presence of mind I needed when I was being challenged by clients and colleagues. I was resenting the time I was spending trying to catch up with work, whilst also chasing for payments that should have been made already and trying to lessen the impact this was having on my family and day-to-day life. I was still angry about previous mess ups (and not even all mine!).

I realised to go forward, I first had to stop.

Factories used to have a break, an actual lever in some cases, as a way to immediately shut down all production to address a serious problem in the assembly line. Knowledge workers have no such thing. And yet we often need one for so many reasons — health, rest, time to think — but we are expected to be as always on as the automatons and computers we work with. We are people. People need to be able to stop.

In my case, my stop started with me crashing and burning, recovering a little, and then slowly winding up operations to a point where I felt more comfortable. I asked myself what did I truly want to do? Professionally? As a mother? Wife? Human being?

I wanted to teach and help others get better at understanding the rich tapestry of content we weave throughout the web — both its creation and its stewardship.

I wanted to write — both fiction and non-fiction, a desire I had been squashing for some time due to ‘Important Work Deadlines’.

I wanted to spend time with my children. I had worked an awful lot since they were tiny and I wanted to be with them more, participating in their lives.

None of these things were happening right now. So, this year I started making changes. Some of them pretty big and scary. I turned down big client work projects. I decided to work on creating and teaching new classes and workshops to support myself. To write. To play with my children for whole weeks at a time.

And, slowly, to move forward.

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