Dreamers, Builders and Shippers

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I was listening to Jonathan Fields talk to Vanessa Van Edwards on his The Good Life Project  podcast the other day, and she said something that I am still thinking about 5 days later, something that has actually helped to bring me back to my blog:

People are either dreamers, builders or shippers.

Dreamers are the ideas people – their greatest joy in life is to generate new ideas and projects – but left on their own, things may never get past the initial landing page. Builders are the people who love the process – research, data, measuring, drafting and editing – but left to their own devices, their amazing product may never make it out into the world. Lastly, there are the shippers – the people who love to get something out there. Their product won’t be perfect, but it will be good enough. As you can see, a team made up of a balance of these qualities would be a winning collaboration.

What was I, I wondered as I headed down the highway on my morning commute. And then it was completely obvious: I’m a shipper. I love getting something out there. Ideas are great, but they come in their own time, not in mine. Researching, drafting, editing and re-writing is something I have to do, but I don’t love it. What do I love? Sitting down, tapping out a download from some magical heart and mind synergy and pressing publish.  Sharing it on social media. Having conversations about the ideas I have written about. I love all that. Then I thought about the writing that is in my world at the moment – academic writing (all about research and planning); writing for work (heavy on process, reliant on approval); my book (needs heavy editing and redrafting) – and I realised that I am not doing any simple, joyful writing, just for the fun of it, which for me, is getting something down on the page and out in the world.

So here I am – because for me, a realisation leads inevitably to an action :). And my realisation was that I miss the writing I do here, that without it, I am not the writer I need to be. Here is where I have complete freedom to say what I want, how I want and when I want – then to just. press. publish.

So, lets catch up. I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing over the last 4 or 5 months, and you can tell me what you’ve been doing (you know I love to chat).

Firstly, I’m still studying. I studied Sociology and Politics over summer, which was fascinating and inspiring, and now I’m halfway through the first semester doing Digital and Social Media, and Writing for Work, which is totally useful and interesting. At the end of this semester I will be halfway through my degree. Doing a degree as a grown-ass adult with children, spouse and work as your accompaniments, is not for the faint-hearted. It is absorbing and fabulously challenging and enlightening, but it is also big ask. Immensely worthwhile but a serious commitment.

I also have a new job – just before Christmas, through a series of coincidences and conversations, I was interviewed for a marketing and media coordinator position for TAFE NSW, which for non-Australians, is the biggest technical and trade school in Australia – and got it. That in itself is exciting and a hugely steep and deep learning curve – but the added twist is that I have to drive 1 hour 40 minutes to get there. Yes. Why would I do such a thing? Because I see it as the price of admission, an opportunity to get the kind of experience I would not get otherwise. These kinds of jobs are rare in the regional area where I live, and they let me work three days a week, job sharing with another woman, who also has school aged children and lives in the same valley as I do, with a slightly shorter commute.

I would like to take a break in transmission to acknowledge some awesomeness:

I want to send a shout out to the Bear, who amidst his own mid-life emotional re-arrangements, has stepped up to Domestic God status, cooking, cleaning and kid wrangling like a legend. I have some serious backing from my family – my parents pick up my kids from school and take them to various after school activities; our honorary family member Harry sends them off to school two mornings a week – and I know how rare that kind of support is these days when family is far-flung.

Even with all of that wonderful support, for the last 4 months, it has felt very much like all work and no play.  Interesting, yes, challenging, yes, terrifying, yes. Fun? Not so much. Everything I undertake is purposeful and for very good reasons. However, something changed last weekend. I went away with my writers group friends to a little writers festival, put on by a local writers group where I did things for the fun of it. We talked and laughed and dreamed – and by the time I left I felt juicier than I had for a long time. The two immediate things that came out of that weekend is that I am back here, writing for the joy of it, and…we started a choir.

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At dinner over the weekend, I mentioned to my friends that I had always wanted to sing in a choir, but I was too scared to go by myself. For me, singing is a great joy, but also a great vulnerability – I was told as a child that I couldn’t sing – so the thought of singing in front of people fills me with fear. So, my friend Lisa, who sings and plays whatever instrument she can get her hands on, looked at me and said, Well, let’s make our own choir then. Who’s in? The result of that conversation is that 6 of us from the writers group had our first rehearsal session yesterday, and it was fun, and not humiliating at all. And, most importantly, it was for no other reason other than for the pure joy of it.

So, my friends, my message to you, is take joy into account. Yes, there are some seasons where lots of hard work is required, and that is perfectly appropriate – but allow your seasons to shift, and make time for fun wherever you can.

Are you a dreamer, a builder or a shipper?
What season have you been in? Is it time for a shift?

19 comments

  1. I have been thinking of you and wondering how you were going. It is a huge life you are having right now and I’m so grateful that blogging still seems to be a part of it. I love seeing you occasionally on Instagram and knowing you are still out there with your enquiring, exuberant mind and wit. I’m sorry I don’t really fit into Mr Hugo’s paradigm, I am all three, depending on which side of me needs an airing. Or maybe I should just leave it for others to say, perhaps it’s something too hard to know about myself? I am still meditating. Every day. I got back into the studio and produced two paintings after a quick trip to the old growth forest of Tasmania. And now I’m preparing our nest to receive one of the dearest people in my life who lives in Wyoming and who, along with her husband, is coming to see us next week. We will be showing off our beautiful country and traveling with them around it… Big hugs to you, great hearing from you. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Ardys,
      How lovely to share whole descriptive sentences with you 😊 Instagram has its place for sure, but is not wholly satisfying imo! I must say, it took me while to figure out if I was a builder or a shipper, and of course we all do all of them, because I do so much building, and I do bring large projects into being from concept to manifestation. However, when I really look at what brings me joy, at what restores me, shipping is it. When I paint a room, I just want to go straight to painting. Fortunately I painted with a ‘builder’ who understands the importance of building 😜 When I write an essay, I am exhausted, because of all the ‘building’ that needs to be done. However, you could easily be a balanced individual who is happy to do all three!
      You are doing lots of travel – how wonderful 😍 I look forward to seeing your pictures!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sara, so wonderful to hear from you. David and I were just talking about you, wondering how you are. You sound unbelievably busy, but it’s all with good things, and you are blessed with a wonderful support system. Very wise, I think to squeeze in a bit of time for “play.” The time spent with your writers group and now choir sounds terrific and you are even back to your blog. Amazing! Just when you were done with the very hard work of raising little children, with the children a bit older and more self-sufficient, you of course decided to challenge yourself again, pursuing a degree, and then this job opportunity presents itself and is too good to turn down. I hope your energy takes you through to finish the degree, and that you will then have a little more breathing space. Who knows what challenges will come your way after that, but I think life will ease a bit once that is done. I have gone through very busy periods like yours at times in my life, and I’m glad I persevered, finishing my college degree when I was expecting my second child (thanks to the insistence and the help of my mother), and then completing a masters degree when my four children were older. And there were years when I drove 45 minutes each way to my teaching job and an extra hour and a half twice a week to the city to teach English as a Second Language to adults. But, like you, I was younger then and had more energy than I do now. One thing I will tell you if you haven’t discovered it already. During all that driving, I listened to books on CD that I took out from the library–some serious, some just for fun, and I actually enjoyed my time in the car.

    Now I am at what you refer to as a season shift. In two months I will retire from my job as a teacher after 24 years. (And I started teaching late in life, after being a stay-at-home mom and helping in David’s business for many years.) When people ask me what I plan to do, I answer, “Whatever I feel like doing.” And that is what I am looking forward to–that freedom. Among my group of close friends, I am the last to retire, and I can’t wait to join them in lots of enjoyable activities. I also plan to take care of myself, going to water exercises at the local park district, etc. No more papers to grade–that is, after the huge pile of papers I will be grading in the next two months. Of course, I will spend as much time as I can with my children and grandchildren, when they have time to spare. I will hang around a bit more with David, but I have told him not to expect to see me in the house all the time, and anyway, I know I would just distract him from writing, researching, etc. In my view, he is totally a builder. As for me, I guess I am, like you, more of a shipper, although I would create another label I fit into–a consumer.

    Take care of yourself amidst all this activity. Stay well. Again, so good to hear from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Diana, it makes me so happy to read your wonderful comment, and also to know that I haven’t been forgotten by yourself and David, because I too think of you both, often.
      I think what I am doing now is a fairly common path chosen by women in our culture – a late(r) dedication to education and career – but as you know well, it is not an easy choice, and can really only be done with the support of family and friends. Last weekend, another goal clarified for me: I want to be Dr Sara Runciman – which will necessarily require many years of study.
      Another thing that has happened is a power shift in the domestic realm between the Bear and I, and truly, I am so happy to relinquish it.
      I love the sound of your next stage, and that you are moving so gracefully from one to the next. I think that’s key, don’t you? So often we get stuck in one stage, when really we need to be a bit more fluid. Anyway, so lovely to hear from you, it really has filled my heart ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I love both quotes but the last really resonates… I have never been competitive, I’m happy to do just for me but get joy when I share something in a way that someone else is inspired to take away a piece, and make their own creation of it. Which is how I’m inspired… by taking a piece of someone else’s inspiration. I guess sharer is like shipper…
    I feel like I have just emerged from that slightly uncomfortable stage of getting used to my new timetable, and it’s now starting to have an easier feel to it. Every day we appreciate the joy of living the life we want to live, and worked so long and hard towards. Such a simple life but rewarding if one is so inclined.
    Lovely to see a blog post from you ♡

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you’re right Dale – sharer is like shipper 😊
      Thank you for mentioning the discomfort that happens in a change of season – that is definitely a thing 😊 We think it’s going to be a seamless transition, especially if it’s something we’ve been working towards and dreaming of for a long time, but the truth is, it’s often a culture shock, and a rude one at that. Still, if we push through, it comes good, as you’ve found out!
      It feels good to be back, thanks for being a faithful reader ❤️

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  4. Sara, your new goal is so wonderful. I seem to remember that you were wondering if you would be up to engaging in academic pursuits, and now your confidence and evidently your enjoyment of those pursuits has grown so much! Isn’t learning the most fun? What will your degree be in?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Thank you for reminding me Diana! I was filled with doubts at the beginning, I always am. I start in spite of fear rather than in the absence of it. My degree is in media and communication with a writing major, and then I am doing every possible elective in sociology because I love it soo much😊

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  5. So lovely to catch up and hear what you’ve been up to. I love your courses- my university degree was in sociology. Just love it. And how wonderful to hear how supported you are in life, all around. For the past almost 9 months, I have been intensively focusing on my healing work- kicked off by an unhappy gallbladder. It was merely the tip of a massive iceberg. The process has been amazing, hard, beyond worth it, and I still have my gall bladder. And experienced a Kundalini awakening along the way, a few months back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Susan ❤️ I remember that you were having trouble with your gallbladder last time we were chatting in this way. Yes, wow, hasn’t the past 4 or 5 months been great for sorting shit out? Not always pleasant (ha!) but very effective! I’m glad you’re out the other side now 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Welcome back Sara, I’m glad to see you’re finding some joy among the hard work. I suspect I’m a dreamer, because I love new ideas but I’m not so great at follow through – though I have a little builder in me too. I’m struggling to act now that spring is here, I guess that’s why 🙂

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  7. So you’re back in business, Sara–good. I missed you. Now I don’t have to wonder what you’re up to. You’ll tell me..I am by inclination both dreamer and builder. Shipping has always been my weakness, but I;m aware of that and try to watch my step when it’s time to get a shipment off.

    You’re half-way to a degree. Hard to believe isn’t it? Well, we all know time does that scary thing–it flies. I’m happy you overcame your doubts about singing and you’re in that choir, Over the years I’ve seen you gaining self-confidence, trying things, taking more risks.

    I continue my blog. Sometimes I ask myself, “Why in heaven’s name are you writing a blog?” and think of quitting completely or like you taking a break from it. But if i go a month without writing something, hopefully inspiring,once again dreaming and building, I get the itsky-pitskies. So I do my research and go through my drafts and press publish. Then I wait to see what happens.

    I look forward to talking to you soon…. .

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    • Dear David – yes, I am back in business – or rather, I have been in business, but now I want to have some more fun 🙂 Blogging is such a funny thing, isn’t it? Sometimes we wonder who on earth we are talking to and why, but there must be something else to it. The freedom to write for an audience but without the structure and constraints of our workday writing perhaps? Definitely the relationships we form through writing – relationships that would never have come into being otherwise. Now I’m considering how to write here in this part of my life, and that’s still unfolding, but I’m more glad than I can say to be back here chatting to you like this. Just for your interest, because I love talking about the weather with you, we have had a brutal, hot and dry summer with bush fires and heatwave after heatwave until we thought we couldn’t handle it anymore – and now it’s a beautiful cool, wet autumn, although just to the north of us have had devastating floods. Australia huh? The land of extremes.

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  8. I’m late to the party here but am so glad I took the time to go through my inbox carefully, or else I would have missed your post! You always have insightful, fun, and interesting things to say so I for one am very glad to see you back here. 🙂 Your life right now sounds like it’s at a great turning point—one in which work and play and joy and focus are all coming together into one harmonious whole. On my end, life has been tumultuous but I’m learning to be more graceful about both the good times and the bad. Though many things have happened at work and I’m now looking for a new job, I’m also winding down on a two-week vacation I took, which was really the much-needed breather I needed to get the pep back into my step. I also relate with you so much on the writing stuff…. writing for work and business just isn’t the same as writing for play and it wasn’t until I published something recently that I remembered why it is that I still continue to blog (however occasional that might be). So here’s to being shippers and for balancing all the big things in our lives so we can continue experiencing the little joys. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh no Lillian, you’re not late to the party – just in time actually!
      I think you’re right – I am at a big turning point, in lots of ways.
      I totally understand, being a stop-start blogger myself – I think I just need to take it all a bit lighter, a bit less seriously, and keep it fun. Actually, I could apply that to all of my life :).
      Good luck with the upcoming changes, and enjoy your holiday – a bit of much needed breathing space!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Sara – as is my tradition, here is my belated reply. Thanks for your blog. I first read it in Nepal = such a lovely coincidence as I recalled the role your blog played in connecting me with heart and home, during our time living in Nepal 2015. Some weeks later – I re-read it from my little typing space in the lounge room at home and the richness of the messages sinks deeper.I get the full benefit of of reading and re-reading.your blogs. Two sentences leaped out from the page:

    a realisation leads inevitably to an action 🙂

    take joy into account

    Thanks for these.

    My past 4 months? we have been traveling as a family (Germany, Thailand, return to Nepal). It was a journey of challenge and significant learning – and lots of great activities and joy as well. The personal leanings are still settling and filtering through – and thus the words are not flowing easily to describe the journey. It (articulation and understanding) is still a work in progress.

    What season? Autumn literally and also for me perhaps. A time of soft light, change, quieting and shedding. I look out the window at home right now – morning sunshine beauty and tumbling golden leaves. It feels like a time for significant change – a new era. Age-wise, energy-wise, prospect-wise. So this transition is requiring conversation, heart and patience.

    Your world sounds the right kind of busy – fulfilled, supported, purpose and importantly blessed with gratitude. Living rurally I know the realities of the 1hr40min drive and those special work opportunities that are worth the investment. One of my current & significant transitions is the work realm. I lift my gaze from the localities of my life here in our small rural valley to consider return to work in a meaningful way. And I am surprised at the distances I am considering – both in km and also leaps of faith.

    Hoping the sunshine of Autumn is shining on you.

    Regards, Kate

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    • Dear Kate, how lovely to hear from you <3. Are you, or have you been writing about your travels? Apologies for not knowing this – I need to be disciplined about how much time I spend on wordpress (and everything else!). I wonder if it's travelling with small children that made you put challenge and significant learning first in your description? 🙂
      I really am so glad that you benefit from what I write; it's not why I write – that is more like the release of an internal pressure – but it is of great value to me to be of service in some way to the world.
      Yes, I know you understand about rural living and the balance we attempt to bring between a sustainable, natural lifestyle and wanting to be part of the bigger world. I think we must be of similar ages, and a yearning to use our skills and take up opportunities, however far flung, becomes much stronger, especially as our children get older.
      Blessings to you and your family, Kate xo

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      • Lovely to continuing the conversations on this lovely rural Autumn morning…the challenge and significant learning had lots to do with traveling with small children yes – and always always my own personal prompts, dilemmas and inner journeying.

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