Two down, one to go of three weekends in a row with no parenting responsibilities. The spontaneous going to see music, taking in a yoga class, late nights and breakfast with friends has reminded me of the days before I had a child.
It’s made me reflect how much the Cheeky Monkey has changed my life. Things are more settled, I’ve moved cities and countries less with only two big geographical moves in the last 9 years and I’m more involved in the wider community.
The marking of time has become more apparent too. The Cheeky Monkey is ten years old. How did that happen? I feel the same (denial I know) but I must be different. I look at him and know I’m getting older too. I feel an urgency to get things done, to take the bull by the horns. Or is to make hay while the sun shines? Idioms have never been my strong point!
As a younger person, my life seemed boundless, the edges not visible to me at all. Now I can see our finite existence and feel the urge to make things count.
I love this awareness. I really believe that if you want to do something, you should just get out there and do it. Don’t wait for the right this or that. Start off small and create the right time, place and situation. It’s possible and necessary if you want to get those dreams out of your head and into the world. Starting in on your dream project doesn’t mean you have to do everything all at once, or all by yourself. Lots of small actions add up over time.
I know it seems easier said than done.
Plunging into the unknown has always been my favourite way of operating. Got a problem? Great, let me help solve it. Want to go travelling to faraway lands? Count me in. Need a buddy for adventures? Please pick me! But risk taking and parenting don’t always go hand in hand. In my time as a parent, I’ve really come to understand the value of the long haul. The past 8 years or so has seen me in a permanent and fairly stable job, the longest stretch of fulltime employment in my life. I didn’t work a Monday to Friday job until I was 27 and even then I quickly requested different hours from 9-5. I lasted two years. I didn’t work fulltime again til I was 36.
To my surprise, there have been benefits associated with this relative stillness in these years since Cheeky Monkey. I’ve got great networks, personal and professional. I’ve been able to spend time with immediate family on a more regular basis. I’ve learned the beauty of putting in time in a place, on a project, with people and reaping the rewards of friendship, support and knowledge, and being in the midst of things not just at the beginning but during the middle and the end too.
It doesn’t mean I still don’t prefer the unfamiliar and new. I do. But I’ve realised I can have the best of both worlds with a bit of tweaking. Working on your dreams doesn’t depend on your situation – it just depends on you putting yourself and your wellbeing front and centre. You can manage big risk if you do this – take a you-centred approach.
I’ve loved my weekends with no plans or responsibilities other than to myself, feeling single and free. For the third weekend though, I’ve decided I’m going to take my Cheeky Monkey out on a date and do something new. Just him and me – single and free can mix it up with responsible and being a mother.
[If you need help getting your projects started, talk to us at Binky. We can help you get your ideas out of your head into the world. Contact us at email@example.com]
The end of the year is coming and Binky will have a little break over the Christmas/New Year period. Over at the Grateful Project, we’ll be starting a challenge on 21 December to take you through Christmas and the New Year with gratitude. So if you haven’t already, join the group and have fun with the prompts designed to help you access gratefulness through the holiday period!
It seems like a good time to reflect on the past year for Binky and what a year it’s been. We started off riding high on the success of our Pozible campaign.
Getting out the rewards to our supporters, processing the images, printing them and sorting out the exhibition venue ensured February and March were super busy. Fortuitously we held our exhibition on Harmony Day once more and were able to donate all funds raised to the Multicultural Development Association, helping refugees with the settlement process. The night was great – many thanks to all those that supported the exhibition in one way or another. We couldn’t do it without you.
We were also lucky enough to come top ten in the Happy Project. Even though we didn’t win, we’ve decided to go ahead and make this project come to life anyhow. Named HeartStrings, we hope to bring this project to you in 2015. It’s a bit under wraps at the moment but we have high hopes of bringing a bit more happiness into the world!
August saw us at the Darwin Festival for our YarnHeart Project – combining craft, gratitude and hearts! YarnHeart encouraged an exchange of gratitude across culture and place, emphasising the elements that join us as human beings – love, gratitude, happiness. The images from this project were amazing, and the hearts received from across the country made their way to the Bagot Indigenous Community for exhibition at the Bagot Festival. It was a huge success. The handmade hearts reside in the community and we hope to be able to build on this project in the future, bringing it to other communities and embedding it in Bagot as well. Unfortunately some unforeseen challenges have meant that not all the hearts were able to photographed. Big apologies to those who missed out – we haven’t given up but some tragic circumstances made our tasks a little bit harder to accomplish.
After a bit of recovery time, we got straight back into another gratitude challenge on the Grateful Project. The group just continues to grow and grow, down to Louise’s dedicated and thoughtful moderation of this wonderful coming together of lovely people from around the world. Each challenge elicits new ways of seeing the world and sharing in the good around us. We have some plans up our sleeve for next year for the Grateful Project and hope it will continue to evolve and evoke.
Finally, if it wasn’t for everyone who supports the Binky crew every day, on the many different social media channels, as well as face to face and more, we couldn’t bring these amazing projects to life. It’s been a wonderful year of trying out new things, meeting new people and connecting. Friends of Binky – Tribe Media, Tiny Owl Workshop, Naked Crackers , G&V Design and Fabrication, Sunday Assembly, Fieldworx – we love you all. Thanks so much for all you give.
As we grow our projects, we’d love to have more people get involved. If you think you’d like to volunteer to help or would like to start your own project for social good – let us know. We can provide opportunities for social media management, project coordination, event management and more.
You can contact us here on the blog, on facebook, or on twitter (@binkycollective). Looking forward to a hella good 2015.
Peace out til January and don’t forget to be excellent to one another.
And we’re off. Our new 31 day grateful challenge starts today, and it has already made me feel so happy. I almost couldn’t wait to share how grateful I am to be alive in this amazing life, waking up to sunshine and birdsong. Oh grateful challenge, how I have missed thee!
Then I came across this wonderful post from Christine Carter in my inbox and just had to share it with everyone. It’s a really lovely read about noting down the good things that happen, even if you are not a journaler! I totally relate – I must have at least 5-10 notebooks with a few pages filled. And when I read them, I realise that in the past I have often written when I am sad. Re-reading my notebooks can sometimes take me to places of profound sadness. So how important to now also remember to jot down when I am happy, and today is definitely one of those days. I also love her tips about texting your kids. I’m gonna try that next week when my cheeky monkey is back from his Dad’s place. I am already anticipating the funny look on his face to receive a message and photo from me!
In the meantime, hop on over to our Grateful Project facebook page, or tweet or instagram #Grateful31 all those grateful feelings. It’s guaranteed to make a difference!