sanlive.com

Hello, my name is Sandy.

Shut up and eat your nutrient paste

We've been eating Soylent. Yep. It's not as gross or bland as I expected. Certainly looks like it could be made of people, but tastes like biscuits. The one we got is vanilla Aussielent. It's formulated to Australian RDI (recommended daily intake) standards, which meant nothing to me until I had a serve and felt full. No, actually, I only had half a serve, and it did me fine.

It blows my mind how cheap this is compared to real food. Not that it's fake food, but like... aaah. The whole thing blows my mind. It works out to $4 a meal, but it's not junk food. HOW CAN THIS BE?!?!

Anyway, I... like it? I think. It's only been a couple of days, and I'm not replacing all my meals - no chance of that until they make a NongShim flavour. If you're a protein shake kind of person, this could be for you. But I'm having mine hot and thick like a Horlicks. I hope the hot water isn't de-nourishing my nutrients.

Aussielent soylent powder

This first month of my new freelancing/making/homesteading life has tempered many of the anxieties that plagued me throughout my career. It's been interesting to discover that even accomplished and proven freelancers/creatives worry about being terrible. Award-winning Moby, for example:

"When you're working by yourself you can lose objectivity so quickly and molehills become mountains. I'll be working on a song and if I can't get the kick drum to sound right I'll think I'm a failure and walk around Manhattan, mourning my fate. It doesn't matter that I've made lots of records in the past. All that matters is I can't get one kick drum right. And all I can think about is my career's over and I'm going to have to become a fries chef at McDonalds."

--- Moby (pg 63, Future Music 84, July 1999)

(Thanks, Kohan, for sending me this!)

Anyway, the big lesson I learned last month was that it doesn't matter if you feel like a fake (impostor syndrome) or not good enough (perfectionism). What matters is getting the job done, and having it not be just plain shit. The best part is that worrying about this at all shows you're capable of making something better than shit. Creativity will happen through you - most of the time, you just have to get out of the way and let it do its thing. Otherwise you don't get paid and you can't afford to eat. Not even $4 soylents.

I don't expect to wake up tomorrow feeling like a million bucks forever, but today, I have a slightly better process for dealing with the lows. Maybe next week, it will be slightly better still.

And the highs that kept me going:

  • Learning more about plants - the different types, how to care for them, and what they're suitable for. I'm working on a plants site that I will show you soon.

  • Landing a private gardening job. Self-paced hours and room for creativity. My client wants to grow vegetables and herbs too. As a horticulturist, subsistence gardening is the area I'm most interested in, so you can imagine how stoked I am to veggie up a piece of someone's backyard.

  • Learning how to change a tap. And it not leaking after. (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT)

  • Making progress with making. Very slow progress, but I'm OK with that. I have almost all my materials to make my first batch of stuff. More on that later.

  • Getting a guest article accepted by GardenDrum - wee!! If you love cats and gardens, go read it and let me know what you think: How to design and plant a garden for cats

Mona checks out an ivy nook

When setbacks are things to work around

screenshot of my writing folio site, sandylim.me

My writing folio is up. Wanna see? sandylim.me

I spent three days agonising over what platform to use. Three days. I remember when I'd have a new site up within hours of wanting it - back when we weren't so spoiled for choice of free website providers.

Wait. I take that back. We did have plenty of choices, but not so many good ones. Today, Weebly and Wix make it so easy to instantly publish a nice site. Weebly moreso, because you get a nicer URL with the free account. Wordpress.com is also good, but I didn't need all those features. In the end, I went with old mate Tumblr for the super simple, pleasurable user experience.

HEAR THAT? GOOD USER EXPERIENCE.

For the last 10 days, my feet have been shuffling awkwardly in whichever direction felt best. Lots of trial and error going on here, and overcoming bad habits of self-doubt. Hanging over me is the constant fear that this won't work, that it'll never work, and I'm stupid for thinking it could. I feel like an impostor and wishful thinker.

But people tell me these feelings are normal, and I must stay the course. I dare not look too far ahead in case I get distracted by shiny things, but it seems safe to look back and reflect a bit, so here goes.

In the last week-and-a-bit, I have:

  • Experienced much fear, anxiety, insecurity and worry. It helps knowing everyone goes through this when adjusting to new circumstances, but it still sucks.

  • Also experienced excitement, optimism and what I can only describe as luck. This keeps me going. When obstacles feel less like setbacks and more like things to work around, you know things can't be too bad... or can they?

  • Consulted on someone's garden. That felt very good. I love doing this.

  • Been given a chance to try for a guest blogging spot at a reputable gardening site. It took all of my courage to contact them, so hearing back blew my mind a bit.

  • Tested my latest batch of homemade soap. It turned out better than expected. A couple more trial runs and I'll be ready to make my first soap 'product'. (Shame it takes 8 weeks to know if a batch is good. See you next year.)

  • Started playing games on Lumosity. They're supposed to be good for your brain, but I can't speak for the science of it. At the very least, small victories with cute pictures give me placebo confidence.

The plan for today is to work on my guest blog story and make a fabric & haberdashery shopping list. I have almost all the supplies I need to start sewing. More to come.

Making and writing

vinca seeds sprouting in newspaper

To everyone who has said in the last year that I should freelance, start a business, write more, etc. - you were right. You told me so. I am now a maker and a writer. :)

I left my part-time job yesterday. After finishing full-time work, I thought I could maintain what I had for at least a year or two, but only a few weeks ago, realised it's time to take the next step.

So, my plan - holy shit, I have a plan - will be to:

  • write
  • craft, and
  • get experience in the disciplines I want to grow in.

Just in the last week, I've gotten answers to so many long-standing questions about tax, superannuation, personal management, networking, income, finding clients, and maintaining sanity when working for oneself.

There is more to say, but it's only day 1. So far, I have taken a photo of a bee in my garden, gone for a swim, and tidied the study a bit to make room for things to come. This afternoon, I will work on my folio, bid for writing projects, and read about business insurance.

Welcome to my exciting new life.

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