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The mistakes I made in 2011

Posted on 1st January, in Articles. Comments Off on The mistakes I made in 2011

No better way to end 2011 than to make new resolutions.
Or not…

Each new year loads of people write down their new year resolutions. Their dreams and ambitions.
And I admit, I did a similar thing for several years.
But recently I got a mind shift.
No better way to look forward than by looking back.
So I decided to list my mistakes of 2011, rather than what I want in 2012.
And by sharing them with you, I hope to put them to value – for myself and others.

So here we go…

In 2011, I forgot about my dreams.
Let me explain.
In 2010, my girlfriend and I went on this amazing adventure.
It showed us life from a different perspective. We saw the world, met new friends, did new things.
And the one thing I expected by coming back, was to carry on with this new life at home.
But things turned out to be a little more difficult.
We had a hard time after returning home, we were missing the excitement, but maybe the hardest of all was getting used again to being at home, and being unable to decide what it as we wanted to do. 

Result: we ended up doing nothing.
(Well, “nothing” is an overstatement, but definitely not the things we had in mind.)

I guess our fear of failing took hold.
When we were away, there was this strong sense of ‘possibility’ floating around, that when back, I was too afraid of letting go of the idea of possibility to actually realise one of the dreams we had.

An example?
One of my long term dreams was to set up a sort of mini agency of creative minds. A place where these people work together. Call it a group of freelancers, call it a collective, call it what you want.
I have had this idea since 2000, when I launched, a platform for young artists (a short-lived affair…). But it always felt as if the time wasn’t right. Until last year ’ the moment came it felt exactly right.

It wouldn’t be a collective, but more a sort of a place where these people can meet. A sort of co-working spot.
Upon return, we started to investigate. Everything.
We even made it to the bank, with a detailed plan, and were granted the loan to buy that amazing boat that could be turned into a cool co-working space.

And then I chickened out.
Why? I guess it was the fear of failing. No, I know it was this fear of failing.
Of investing in something and risking a lot. Of turning my life upside down*.
(I must add that the recent business failures of my dad and my father-in-law didn’t help in reassuring my trust in ‘entrepreneurship’ in Belgium. Let alone the fact that I grew up in a family that was ruled by my parents’ business: little time for the kids, always busy with work and always worries about the company.)

People who know me a bit will say: You’re definitely an entrepreneur: you built up your own business, transforming a second job into a day job, into a small but good running company. You try and you succeed. You shouldn’t fear.
And I should answer ‘You’re totally right’.
But admittedly, I. Am. Afraid. Of making the wrong decision.

Of finding myself in a situation I didn’t plan.

Of the side-effects of starting such a business.

I once swore my life would be different from the one of my parents. I didn’t want to be self-employed, nor spend as much time at work as they did. I would make time for my children, and my family. I would have a life apart from work.
I would do things differently…

Suddenly we speak 2011. I look at myself, and I notice I’m doing things exactly the same way my parents did.
(Fortunately I don’t have the kids yet, so they don’t miss me when I work late at night.)

That brings me to number 2 of my mistakes in 2011: I definitely didn’t spend enough time with my loved ones.

Instead I spent it in my office, working, and replying to their questions with ‘It is very busy right now… Sorry.’

Yes, I have blooming company. And things look good for the future.

I’m working so damn hard to make sure it doesn’t fail. But at which cost?

I’m not spending time with my grandparents, not listening to their stories, I’m ‘unavailable’ to my lover, and I barely see my parents.

Which brings me to the last thing: my love. And how I wasn’t listening to what she said.
I always have to learn things the hard way, I guess.

I talked about us being indecisive upon return in Belgium, but admittedly, she wasn’t, I was.
And in being so, I definitely didn’t help her.
Before, my decisions were only mine, as I was alone, but the last few years, things have changed.
For those who doubt it: they changed for the better.

But hell, how life changes when you’re not alone anymore. And it takes some time to adjust, I guess…

The thing is: it seems that all of this is about finding ‘balance’ in life.

And how to find it.

There is a thin line between actually achieving your dreams and working to achieve them, spending a lot of time to get there.

And then there is your personal life, and ensuring you have enough flexibility. Enough space.

I’m sure many amongst you will recognize this.

I hold great respect for those who can walk that line. It seems I’m definitely struggling with it.

So my resolution for 2012?
Getting better at things :)

This article was written by Ine Dehandschutter.
She's a freelance photographer & webdesigner, based in Ghent, working worldwide.
Check out her portfolio.
Ine is available for cool projects, so get in touch via twitter or through the contact form.

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