Art Student for a year and hanging up the bike in the meantime.

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This time last year I was winding up my book, editing and formatting all my 100,000 words, culling to around 92,000.  The end was close and my goal date was to publish by Christmas.  We hit the button on a draft on the 31st of December, I could finally unclench my butt cheeks after 2 years of compiling my story.

Right now...same same but different.

I decided to take up a visual arts course in 2021, mid-year entry, cert III, a teeny tiny 3hr commitment per week.  I was loving it.
A few things brought me to this moment.  If you have read my book you will be aware that I was involved in a bike ride that saw someone lose their life in February 2021. 
The cascading impact on those that were there with me, the person's family and friends, the other vehicles and people on the road that day, it's safe to say it shook me up.  What do I do now? How do I move on from this without dismissing this person's value of life?

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I sought help from my GP, started seeing a psychologist, and took a deep deep breath, literally and metaphorically.  I slowed the hell down and allowed space to enter my life, void, slow time, nothing.  After a few psych visits, I understood that I could keep the $140 a pop and instead invest my heart and soul in finishing my book as therapy, vowing to finish by the end of the year.
With this decision underway, I faced my life story, slowed down and rode my bike for small chunks of time for mental health.  I was still coaching many athletes.
One day, randomly without warning, I found my flow state, actually, I never find the flow state, it just happens and five minutes later it's a realisation that I am in it now.  But yes, this flow state was buzzing and a thought came and placed itself what felt like behind my forehead, with neon lights, suggesting that I should stop coaching.  I truly had no idea this was going to occur, as I processed this concept with anxiety-ridden heart palpitations.  WTF???  If this is true, then who am I if I no longer coach? I had been coaching people in some form since 2005.  

I went home, deciding to cache the random thought and see what came of it over the coming days or weeks.  I told no one.

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Two weeks or so went by and I finally gathered the courage to open a discussion with my husband Norm, I say courage as I was so very unsure of his reaction.  I had spent the last 18 months flip-flopping around with university degrees and other random concepts as I searched for a greater purpose.  
So now I awaited his reaction, as I told him.  
The challenge was, I had no true direction as to what I wanted to occur, all I wanted was to share the concept with someone.

As I spoke my last word, Norm seemed to carry on the sentence with full agreeance, "well then, you should stop coaching."

Of course, what came next wasn't that simple, but it's what lead me to the empty space to do something I had wanted to do since finishing high school in 1991.  By all accounts, I should have studied visual arts (I was accepted into 3 degrees in Sydney) and became some sort of artist, but that went by the wayside and here we are many years later, having another crack.

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Anyways, the Cert III in Visual Arts was good but lacked a true investment, so I applied to do the Cert IV and Diploma in Visual Arts at Oxygen College starting in February 2022.  3 days a week for the whole year, with the option to stay on for the Advanced Diploma for year 2.
I knew it would stretch me, not just in learning and application, but in the way I attend school, tick boxes to achieve, create friendships and have patience and respect for other's views of the world.  All that stuff.  
All year long I had a poster sitting beside my desk, motivating me to stay on course, just this one year, to finish what I had started.  

It said, "I want to see what happens if I don't give up."

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Here I am, mid-November 2022, nearly done, with an end-of-year group exhibition on the 2nd of December, and I never gave up.
I am actually proud of myself, it would have been so easy to quit mid-year and just do it on my own terms, but if you want to get what you have never had, you must do what you have not yet done.  

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I made friendships, learnt to understand others from diverse backgrounds and demographics, applied myself to learning and growing (my brain hurts constantly) and have certainly come out the other end very different from when I started.
For one, I used to ride a minimum of 200km a week, but I soon let it go and stuck to running instead, lucky to ride 100km a month.  At least the bikes stay cleaner for longer.

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And here I am, with a year's worth of work, and I am going out on my own in 2023, promising to keep learning and growing with art being the conduit.  Some may call me an Artist, or a Creative.  But I am also going to ride my bike a lot more, as I free up my school attendance and as I turn 50 in February I am excited to have the privilege to reinvent myself and I can not thank Norm enough for all his support and love.

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Please have a look at my art for sale, as I am an Artist now, this is what I do, it's my jam.


Next year I have a couple of speaking gigs as well, more opportunities for growth and meeting new amazing people.
Vowing to blog a little more regularly, create art, learn and grow and ride my bike more than I have been.

Hoping you have had a year of growth, thank you for listening. xx 

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