As lockdown began to ease and going back to my other job was getting all the closer, big decisions had to be made. If I was to go back to teaching fulltime, there would be no chance that Sweet Life could carry on. Anyone who knows a teacher or is one will understand that there is no time for a side job – absolutely no chance. Don’t get me wrong I hold lots of fond memories from my time teaching, but if you fall out love with it, it’s not the place for you.
All this made me reflect on what makes me happy. We spend, what 70% of our time at work? A lot of time to spend wishing for the weekend, or wishing for the next holiday. Especially in teaching, you go back after half term and say ‘only 7 weeks until the next one’ and I kind of got fed up of this countdown mentality – literally wishing my life away for a break from the career I chose. Leaving security and all you have known is very difficult decision. Knowing each month that wage is going to be put in your bank regardless is comforting, but happiness and really loving what you do was what I found with Sweet Life and I wasn’t ready to let that go. So, it was time to be brave, or in some people’s eyes perhaps stupid, and leave no regrets, no what ifs. I handed in my notice and to which some asked – what are you going to do now? Sell sweets to tide you on? Yeah, I am sure Haribo are just selling sweets to tide them on…
Don’t get me wrong, running a business really is no walk in the park. Not everyday is sunshine and rainbows, them days do come where you think is this a legit way to make enough money? You work 7 days, can’t take long holidays and worry about if someday sweets might become extinct. However, I wake up every day wanting to go to ‘work’ and carry on growing something I am proud of, I don’t get that Sunday blues feeling and I get to give people that sugar fix after a busy week – rewarding in a different sense.
A particular conversation sticks with me that I recently had which revolved a lot around ‘What about your pension? What about holidays? What about sick & maternity pay?’ And my main answer to that is ‘What about everyday happiness?’ I feel that acknowledging the fact the path you have taken is wrong for you is brave, and taking a chance on something that isn’t safe is risky but exciting. What I have come to understand with my journey is that not every journey is ‘mainstream’: go to uni, get a job, get a house, get married, have a family. Every journey is unique and special in its own way, and I don’t believe you should settle for something because you might get a good pension when you are 78. I feel lucky I got to meet someone as special as Carl, who inspired me to take this step and choose everyday happiness over half-term happiness, choose live for now not for later. Some people will never understand the decisions you make in life, but if they make you happy that’s all that matters.
Coming up to one year into the Sweet Life journey and looking forward, I hope I can inspire someone who feels stuck to step out of their comfort zone and take a chance. As for me a year in, this is just the beginning and I really believe in my ability to create a real sugar high. Willy Wonka, watch your back. Amy approaching.