Let’s start at the beginning… back in July 2018.
I had just chucked in my most recent corporate job and turned 38; I was sick and tired of being employed by other people and I knew it was time for me to be the boss.
But what to do?
I lied. I told everyone close to me that I was going to work with my husband on our family business. I lied to keep my friends and family off my back and to stop their constant questioning.
I needed to buy myself some time to think…
I am married to a beautiful man, Matt, who is the personification of FOMO. He’s an absolute social beast and hates missing out on anything; and he is so much fun because of it!
We’ve been together for 18 years, almost half my life, so as you can imagine he’s a pretty massive influence on me.
For a long time, I felt like I needed to be just like Matt. That his ‘normal’ had to be mine, especially when we were younger and we were super social and going out all the time.
For a long time though, I felt there was something not-quite-right with me, because I didn’t love it as much as he did.
It felt wrong, I felt wrong and that I was somehow lacking because I didn’t feel comfortable in every situation and I would quite often feel like not going out at all.
It was hard to reconcile my love for hanging out with my hubby and my mates with the realisation that I had a limit and that that limit was becoming more defined.
With the break I afforded myself in 2018, I had space to explore what I wanted to do next, and it was during this time that it occurred to me that there’s nothing wrong with me at all!
That it’s Okay that I need time to myself sometimes and that being alone actually recharges and replenishes my capacity to be social.
I’m not 100% sure why this realisation came at that particular time. Maybe because I suddenly had time to think? Maybe because I made a loving decision for myself? Maybe it was the wisdom of age? Maybe it was all of these reasons and more?
When I look back on it now, it seems like such a simple thing and I think “Well of course, it’s Okay, why wouldn’t it be Okay?”. What a relief. A HUGE relief!
But I really didn’t believe that for such a long time and I used to beat myself up over not having the endless energy to socialise and constantly be around other people.
This self-awareness brought freedom, confidence, understanding and it brought back the fun when I did socialise. It was a major turning point for me.
And it led to more thinking. About how to spend that alone time. How do we, as modern women, working women, mums, carers, friends - and all the other hats we wear - spend our downtime? How do we make space for ourselves? How do we encourage each other to say it’s Okay to do that? How do we make sure we get enough of it?
I felt I was spending far too much time vegging out on the couch and a Netflix binge would leave me feeling a bit down on myself.
Because I love reading, music, film and those kinds of pursuits, I thought “Well, what’s another thing that I like to do to pass the time when I’m solo and recharging? Something that I enjoy doing that gives me those good, warm, nerdy, happy-to-be-at-home in my PJs kinda vibe”.
Jigsaw puzzles were the thing that came to mind. They’ve long been a secret pleasure of mine. And I thought “Yeah, that’s pretty perfect because you can do them on your own, they give you some mental stimulation but they’re not too taxing, and you feel like a relaxed genius when you’ve completed one”.
So that was the beginning of Okay Lady.
I decided to create a Puzzle for women who felt just like me. A Puzzle that’s pretty and designer-y (that’s totes a word), that supports other females and gives them permission to be Okay with needing their downtime too.
My jigsaws encourage you to embrace missing out; to find the joy in it and realise that you’re not missing anything at all and in fact you’re better for having done it.
That stepping back makes you happier and that when it’s time to re-enter the world you’re back to your real self.
My jigsaws are for those times when you’re super busy and there’s heaps on. When you need a reminder that if you give yourself that time to replenish effectively, you can cope with the mental load so much better and you’re way more likely to keep your authentic self while doing it.
I’m never more me than when I’ve had that downtime. And I want to be me all the time.