This is terrible to say, but when I took my first restaurant job at 17 years of age I worked with a woman who was almost twice my age, a part-time server & part-time musician, and I thought to myself... I will NEVER be in my 30s still waiting tables like her. I thought this woman had failed at starting "real life"... you know, when you begin a "proper" career. I held on to this thought as I continued to work in restaurants over the years, a job that tends to suit the more transient lifestyle I seem to lead. And as the years went on, looking at those (increasingly slightly) older women was making me anxious. Time was ticking... I really needed to settle down so that I could establish that career I held in such high esteem.
So after immigrating to Australia in my mid-20s and finally receiving my permanent visa, I excitedly made the transition from temporary server in a restaurant to career job employee in financial planning. I was so excited to have finally started "real life", grown up life, that it took a little while for the feeling to settle in that this transition didn't actually make me feel any better. In fact, I was feeling more restless than ever. I had the best boss and lots of little perks, not to mention evenings and weekends free! I could afford to get my hair cut on a regular basis at my favourite salon! What was there to complain about?
These days I live in Sweden, I'm 33 years old, I rarely cut my hair and I'm back working in a restaurant part-time. Two or three nights a week you'll find me trying to take orders in Swedish, pouring Italian wines, clearing dirty plates and wiping up spilled drinks. You'll also find me working with some of the best people I've met since I've moved here. During the days you'll find me at home cooking, styling & photographing food, and working on the zillions of things that I'm learning as I create The Glorious Kitchen. I've come to realise that I'm actually really thankful for this part-time restaurant job that I (mostly!) enjoy. It allows me the days to grow as a food photographer, as I prefer to shoot in natural daylight. It gives me the time to learn all those zillions of things like editing in Lightroom, creating quality Pinterest photos, tweaking my Squarespace website and developing relationships via Instagram. It provides the opportunity to work on developing my craft and creating in ways that make me feel incredibly connected to my life and my happiness, and still be able to make some consistent money.
MONEY. That's one of the toughest part in all of this. I studied financial economics at university and worked as a financial planner, I really do understand the importance of money. But right now I've chosen to focus on growing and creating, with an almost daily reminder to myself to trust in what's ahead even though I can't see it yet.
If you are also embracing a similar stage in your life, here are some tips I can offer to help you keep moving forward (because the uncertainty of this can feel terrifying):
1. Focus on creating from an authentic place and you will tap into an abundance of energy that propels you forward to keep you creating on a daily basis. By authentic I mean creating something that feels real inside of you even if you can't quite make sense of what it is or how it will be useful to anyone just yet. And then take advantage of that energy and work on your projects, recipes, photo shoots, writing etc daily. Use this energy to learn and grow and develop your craft as you work through all those tricky and overwhelming things that can really slow you down in the beginning.
2. If you're not able tap into this energy and everything feels forced, reassess where you're at, try a different approach even if it seems totally "off brand" and take a temporary step back if need be. Don't hold it against yourself that things aren't working yet or that you expected so much better of yourself. I really truly believe that when we're working from a real authentic space, everything starts to flow much more effortlessly. It just may not look exactly as you expected it to.
3. Nothing happens overnight. I remind myself this everyday. I stopped expecting something massive to happen to tell me that I'm going in the right direction. Just keep working and learning, putting one step in front of another.
4. Start Manifest Journaling. I've recently started using this technique to help me focus more on the big picture and finding things to be grateful for everyday, instead of allowing myself to stress and worry about all the unknown that lies ahead. I watched Kelly Bennett's Youtube video to get me started, but feel free to shoot me any questions you have about this!
5. Eat healthy on a budget. Eating well can definitely get pricey and many trendy recipes are super elaborate and time consuming to make. I value eating well above almost all else, so my goal is to create recipes that use simple ingredients and are straight-forward to make so that we can still feel great about what we put into our bodies even when we may not have the time or the cash to afford it all.
Please feel free to share this! And don't forget, you can search #gloriousonabudget on Instagram for my budget friendly recipes or meal ideas, and use the hashtag to share your creations. You'll find the full recipes here in my blog and in the recipes section of my website.
THAI GREEN CURRY WITH VEGGIES & TOFU
The perfect comfort meal, spicy & warming packed with antioxidant-rich veggies and protein-filled tofu. I love to pick up authentic green curry paste from my local asian supermarket, but you can also find other versions at your regular grocery store. Top it off with fresh coriander and lime wedges for an extra burst of flavour.
serves 3 - 4
jasmine or basmati rice
2 garlic cloves
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 tbsp green curry paste
1 can 400ml coconut milk
½ cup water
1 tsp honey
1 small zucchini
1 red pepper
200g firm tofu
50g baby spinach
1. Get the rice cooking, follow packet measurements and instructions.
2. Peel & dice onion, mince garlic and peel & grate ginger. Then add them to a large saucepan on medium heat with oil, sauté for 5 - 7 minutes until onions are soft.
3. Add in the curry paste and combine well, fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and water, bring it to a boil. Stir in honey and squeeze in half a lime, simmer for 5 minutes or more while you prepare the veggies and tofu.
4. Slice carrot and red pepper, and dice zucchini. Slice tofu in half widthwise and dice into cubes. Add carrot, red pepper, zucchini and tofu to the curry sauce. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 7 - 10 minutes until veggies are just cooked (don't turn them to mush!). Stir in the spinach and leave on the heat for 1 minute until it is slightly wilted.
5. Serve veggie curry with rice and lime quarters. Enjoy!