I didn’t always spend my days taking care of animals, building rabbit hutches, garden beds and showering outside.

Until recently, I spent all my days working for other welding companies; repairing cracks in heavy equipment, building handrails, fixing and modifying aluminum boats and whatever else I was told to do. I would spend 40-50 hours a week crawling around on a dirty floor, in mud puddles and under greasy, filthy logging equipment for a paycheck. The stable income helped me be able to provide a good and comfortable life for my daughter and myself. Nothing extravagant but it was mostly good times. Just the two of us. But as life goes, things changed. She grew up, graduated high school, moved away to university and I was alone. Just me, myself and I.

It was a turning point for me. Sure, I could have continued on the path I had followed for 15 years and been happy with the same old, same old. But I am not that person. I was ready for something different.

I no longer felt the pressure of needing to have a stable income or a big house for myself.  I changed my spending habits, got a small bachelor pad, got rid of extra spending and started putting money aside. With this new freedom, I started contemplating what I really wanted out of life. What compromises had I made to insure a stable and normal life for my child? What had I given up when I decided to be a responsible adult and parent? What dreams had I put on hold? How could I get back to what truly makes me happy?

I was fortunate to be working in a great welding shop where the doors were always open to me…During the last year and a half at this shop, I worked full time for the company and started working part time (and sometimes more) on contracts and ideas of my own. I started making more art pieces out of the scrap metal I found laying around…I made gates and arbours, plant pot holders and all kinds of things for friends of mine. I started building up my confidence but also a business idea was taking shape.

During this transition time, I met someone. A man that owned land and had similar ideas of self sufficiency, growing food and having animals. Ideas I had forgotten about (and almost given up on). He encouraged me to take my business ideas and make them reality. He offered me space on his land to have my own welding shop. It was the first step I needed to propel my business into a sustainable venture.

That’s Awesome! Designs and Services was born from the different projects I had going on in my life.

I am a versatile and creative person and could never settle into doing only one thing all day every day again. I tried to pick a business name that would never limit what I could do or add to my venture.

So, 5 months ago, I took the final plunge. I left my well-paying job (and full access to an industrial shop), packed up my bags, uprooted all my plants and moved 2 ferries away from Vancouver Island and 3 ferries away from the mainland. How do I feel about my decision today?

I feel free. Free to do whatever I want with my days. Free to work on my own projects or other people’s on any given day. I don’t have a schedule. I sit down outside (not in my car) to drink my morning coffee. I don’t rush to be at work on time. I eat dinner when I am done my work. I don’t feel bad for peeing or drinking in the middle of my workday. I don’t have to stop welding just because it’s noon and everyone is having lunch. I can have lunch (or not) after my weld or after I’m done transplanting or cleaning the cages or whenever I feel like it.

I feel happy. This new lifestyle jives way better with my free spirit and organized chaotic way of being. I still am as reliable, dependable and responsible as I was before but I am more relaxed, available, open to new experiences and creative.

Now, without the pressures of living in the “real world” as we call it, I can dedicate myself fully to having chickens, rabbits, an amazing garden and building my business to be what I want it to be.

I can now take my time and really produce great things without the constraints of what my boss thinks it should look like or how long it should take.

These days, my boss tells me that I am awesome all the time. And to take the time it takes to do the best job I possibly can.

But most importantly, the boss reminds me to stop and smell the roses (or pull some weeds) on my way to work.