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What are your dreams? What holds you back from pursuing them?
I'd long dreamt of more space. I wanted the children to have the childhoods I'd read about in books - adventure, woods, lakes, fun, and a healthy amount of mischief (not that it was ever really lacking!). I also wanted a substantial plot to grow fruit, trees, vegetables and the rest (and grow old looking out at that bucolic scene). You see, it took me realising I might not make it to "old" to jolt me into action.
As the pandemic loomed, crested, and squashed normal life, we felt the frustrations many did. But that wasn't enough to spur action. I’ve always been somewhat conscious of how ridiculously temporal it all is. Still, I was caught up in the rat race that city life seems to inculcate. I wanted to earn as much money as possible to splurge on expensive Michelin-starred dinners and Maldivian over-water villas. Life was a constant cycle of looking forward to the next holiday or the next champagne brunch but rarely about enjoying the present.
It's interesting how we can postpone life, isn't it? And Covid placed many of us in a suspended reality. Then came a gut punch of actual reality - months spent fretting about whether I'd be alive in a year, let alone 10. I was fortunate. Early action and an end result that was better than many poor souls’. Aside from leaving me with a deep empathy for those around me (and in my broader network) who I've seen bravely soldiering on through debilitating diseases, it shook me awake, violently. I was blessed, for sure. That was both humbling and embarrassing at times. Why me? Why was I spared?
I felt I should do something with the blessing. Life would not wait for me to be ready, whatever that is. It was time for action.
A year later, I sit here in my living room in England, sipping a hot tea and writing this as the dog snores like a 120kg truck driver after driving all night. It wasn’t easy giving up my consistent stream of work in Singapore. My husband and did our sums. We could just about swing it, and we did. The war, high shipping costs, a heated market, and interest rates haven’t helped, but tough times don't last; tough people do. And of course your kind support for Lula J helps a lot. I’ve always meant for the brand to be an independent small one, with a personal touch. I hope we’re doing that and, as ever, would love to hear from you!
Beyond the business, we have been blessed with the house of our dreams. Not the biggest or swankiest, but something bright, clean, cosy, inspiring, our own land around us, and something hopeful, something fresh. A canvas on which we paint, but also imprints on us. Changing seasons, birds on the bird feeder, my daughter hanging upside down on a tree branch, the smell of the wood burner. Temporal things. In the moment things. Things to make life worth living. Things that remind me of this second chance at life, really living. Now. Now. Now. In the moment.
Don't be me. Don't wait until it might be too late to pursue those dreams. It won't be easy. And I know there are still many hills to climb as we build friendships, skills, lives and businesses somewhere new. But that's life, right? The now, the journey.
Lots of love,