Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not negotiable.

My parents have just spent a wonderful week with us. We celebrated my birthday, we toured around, we played games and walked and ate and most importantly we talked. They came to visit us at a time when our feet are still on this road trip but our hearts and heads are on their way home.

It was wonderful to get a new perspective on our thoughts. My Dad who is living his second chance at life and my Mum who has the gift of really seeing things.

We spoke of our future, we put our dreams into words, we planned for the come-down of those first few weeks back after the trip, we chatted about the roads we've travelled and the paths ahead, we spoke of our family, our business and our life. We started to feel inspired and to look forward to going home and putting some of our new plans into action.

And then all of a sudden, in the middle of their week with us, we started to have so many ideas. Great ideas. The type of ideas for our lives and our business that we had when we first moved out of the city. We will become more self sufficient, we will teach, we will build, we will write, we will redecorate, we will design, we will get more extreme, more social, more involved...

And then one afternoon sitting around the table my Mum suggested we work backwards. Simplify. Instead of making huge changes and pulling our lives apart and putting them back together again, we needed to start closest to home.

What in our lives is not negotiable?

Its almost like that food pyramid that is on the back of the cereal packets. What is most important to us goes down the bottom of the pyramid and we work upwards from there. Like a personal permaculture.

For me its pretty simple, my top three non negotiable parts of my life are: My family. Great food gown and prepared and eaten by family and friends. A creative outlet.

It wont work if we build this business up so that it demands so much time that we aren't able to be with the girls. It does not make sense to be so busy growing great food to send to market and then opening a tin of tomatoes and a packet of pasta to feed our kids for dinner. It will make me unhappy to have so many commitments that I have no time to create.

Sure I have other priorities like the environment, like a lovely living space, like a great social life, like exercise and community and time alone, but I would give up any of these for my top three so they have to come second.

So that's what we're doing now. We are looking at those parts of our lives that are not negotiable and working hard on them. We are making plans that enable us to spend lots of time alone with each member of our family and together as a five as well. Plans to grow our home kitchen garden (as opposed to the farm paddocks), to add some more animals, a pizza oven, a better stove/oven, some more recipes to our repertoire. And timetabled time to write, sew and make. Time to work on my thing without feeling guilty, that I should be doing something else.

Once we have made plans for the big three we can look at the next layer of importance.

Does this make sense? Are your three the same as my three? What three parts of your life are not negotiable?

Travel safe. xx


  1. Isn't this such a great way to look at things! My top three have to be family (and that includes our four kids and six dogs), time to really be outdoors in the wild places, and time to be creative. Happy planning x

  2. Your Mum is brilliant, Kate. What a sensible, wholistic approach. It's no wonder she raised such a great daughter.

  3. Wow Kate, you really have been taking a long, hard look at things and come up with some great answers.

    I'm sure once you get home things will really fall into place and you'll be able to put into action all your plans, ideas and projects.

    What three things are important to me?

    My Faith
    My Family
    My creativity

    Claire :}

  4. I like your mums approach - very wise. My top 3 are the same as Annie above but that outdoor time needs to include exercise for me - otherwise I am very grumpy to live with!

  5. Ooh, this is interesting. I like the way you are thinking. One of the great things about being away is you get some perspective on your life at home and how you can make changes or improve things. Perhaps it's hard to do this when in amongst the day to day stuff. I love a plan, dreams, new ideas..I'm looking forward to hearing more about yours, in the flesh! xo

  6. I like this idea ... I will need to think about this one overnight but I think your mum is one very wise woman!

  7. I definitely have a top 3 - Health, Family, Fun.
    I don't really care if I have nothing else left.

  8. SOunds like a wonderful plan to me Kate! And yes i agree , when I think about my life and the changes i want to make or the things i want, i have too thought about what are the non negotiables What things are the most important to me.
    And the best way to make change and achieve what we want and a life we want is in small steps, not one big giant step that is too huge and uncomfy and unmanageable.
    I think your thinking, and as often we are in sinc sort of , maybe about different things but the same thing really

  9. hmmmm, that's 'food' for thought isn't it. my three non negotiables look the same as yours with exercise being level with creativity. so you are homeward bound now i guess. that must be such an exciting thought! sweet dreams.


  10. Yes this makes complete sense. Very wise words.

    My top 3 are my family, connecting with nature and having a creative outlet.

    There are so many other aspects to my life that I'd like to concentrate on too but I am realising like you that the top priorities are sacrificed when I spread myself too thing. I believe in that saying "you can have or do everything but not just at the same time!".


  11. Talk about asking the right questions at the wrong time(for me only im sure). I have a top 5! How can I reduce it? I think im in trouble here....Big, wondrous post, x

    p.s. I think ill revisit and re-read this one over the next week, maybe then ill be able to summon a positive answer

  12. That sounds like a great plan Kate.

  13. It makes so much sense. For if the basics/what's most important to you isn't a happening thing then really there will be no desire or drive to do all those other aspirations.
    I think we forget that sometimes, I know I do.
    My family is my biggie, their health & happiness, my husband's/our business and my creativity/tiny business.
    Wow, maybe we can all keep each other in check, let's try to get the balance right.

  14. I wonder if you needed to get away to be able to see the bigger picture? I know in my busy life, and the even busier lives of my teenage children, there is never time to sit and talk, and think. Always an activity or a job to do. Are these the unexpected benefits of your road trip?

  15. Brilliant stuff! Gosh your Mum sounds a little bit special. I don't know what my top 3 would be, feeling a bit lost in the fog of exhausting mothering.

  16. 3 years ago I opted for early retirement...why? For health reasons. So to answer your question
    #1 is health for without my health I couldn't care for my family.
    #2 is family.
    #3 is 'me time' which covers a broad, creating and, growing food.

  17. Thanks for the inspiration and food for thought! I've been pondering some life changes, maybe this is a good start to begin forming decisions!

    Love the blog! :)

  18. It makes perfect sense. I've been thinking about this of late, realising that the most important thing to me, my family, is not getting the best of me because I'm so pre-occupied trying to set up a business & make plans for the future. I decided it's time to simplify so I'm taking my things out of stores & getting back to basics..well, trying to. I think perhaps writing the plan, just like the pyramid & sticking it up somewhere might help to keep focused. Your plans sound so exciting, good for you! Coming home will be the beginning of great things..x

  19. Mine are family, health and fun. Your Mum is very wise:0)

  20. Family, Health and Nature. My family, our health (which cover physical health, mental health & nutrition), and nature, being outdoors (we love and spend so much time at the beach). X

  21. I am going through similar thought processes right now, and my DH and I have been having similar discussions. And coming to a sort of similar place to you, though not identical, but obviously this works differently for everyone. We are working on it and it is starting to feel good. And doable. So good luck, very genuinely!

  22. I've found myself thinking about this post so many times today - thank you Kate (and Kate's mum!). I think my 3 are: family; gardening/growing; and making/creating... (though I'm still thinking about it!). wishing you happy travels on the way home xo

  23. Wow, gorgeous Kate. TOTALLY INSPIRED by this post, thank you. My top three things - you're freaking me out lady - are exactly the same as yours. Please teach, Ad & I will come. We have a hundred questions for you & Bren. Belated happy birthday too, lovely. Been following along a bit quietly xx

  24. I really like this approach to planning. Your mother is a gem. You've got me thinking. Family is a pretty obvious one... but now to dig a little deeper.
    Thanks for sharing this post - such great wisdom. Thanks Kate's mum.

  25. A great post yet again Kate and one to ponder on. Love the concept of the reverse pyramid. You have left me with lots to think about. cheers Wendy

  26. I love reading your blog, I feel the same way about my life, Yes I agree family is not negotiable and Yes I love good food too, and work... that is the question??? I guess just having the balance in life that is what makes us happy and satisfied :)

  27. you know - I think my big three are the same as your big three.

  28. I'm so inspired to go and sit in the sun and think my three over. Thanks for inspiring me.xx

  29. This is a great post Kate. You have alot of people thinking. My three are very close to your three. My family comes first, then I would like to grow more to feed my family (but that is going to have to wait until we move in and I know what I have to work with and what I have to do to achieve this) and of course crafting - that is not negotiable (but will never come about family)
    Another thing that I find hard is starting all over again every two year. New house, garden to establish, dreams, friends. I never really know what I am going to have or where I am going to be.

  30. As I read this I was just thinking that the way to build is by doing what you do best and inviting people to be part of the dream by insiring and encouraging them to achieve their dreams too. Much is achieved and people are contented, some will contribute much and some a little.

  31. Such a great post. Goo Bee! And go you guys for doing such important thinking. It's funny that to ask these questions is so fundamental but we don't automatically do it.

    My non-negotiables: The health and well-being of my tribe and my need to attempt to make the world a better place.

  32. Fabulous post - very thought provoking. As this year draws towards an end, thoughts of "what next?" have been swirling in my head. Nice to refocus on the non-negotiables. Mine are the same as @Sweet Pea : 1)my health (after spiralling into chronic illness several years ago, the climb back out has been difficult. I now know that without my health, everything else in my world suffers - including my family. 2) My family. 3) "me" time - time to feed my soul with creativity, gardening, learning etc.
    Safe travels. xxx

  33. Oh I love that. It's like reverse engineering. Start at the end product and work backwards to see what has to be done to get there. Love it.

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