Redundancy and rock bottom

 

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Originally I thought this would purely be a travel blog, a record of where I’d been and what I’d done for my friends to read, and to be a bit of light entertainment.  Somehow it has grown in to something more than that, something I’d never originally intended, its becoming a record of my personal reinvention after a difficult  redundancy.

Being made redundant left me devastated.  I’d always thought I was the “good”  employee, trying hard to toe the corporate line and be a responsible person.  I had a job I loved, believed in, was committed to and had recently finished doing further training for.  I fully thought that I’d be there for a long time to come, contributing to my organisation and community.  I had inspiration, ideas and initiative and the energy to bring them to fruition.  However it was not to be, and the end was rapid and deeply unpleasant.

In the months following I went through a parade of emotions which I’m sure anyone going through something similar would recognize.  I was furiously angry at the unfairness of it all, then fell into a funk of self recrimination.  Why didn’t I see it coming?  What if I’d done X, Y or Z differently?  What was wrong with me?  Then came the  overwhelming grief.

It sucks being made redundant in your fifties.  I’d had the legs knocked out from under me and my confidence was gone.  Some of the experiences I’d gone through at my previous organisation had left me unable to face applying for new positions at my level. I just couldn’t face an interview panel, partly because of the inquisitorial nature of the process and partly because I still hadn’t forgiven myself.  I did apply for a couple of jobs in my profession that I could have done with my hands tied behind my back but didn’t even get to the interview stage anyway.  I had a strong feeling that my professional reputation was destroyed, even though there was no direct evidence of this.  So I tried applying for junior level jobs – admin type stuff.  Nothing.  Self esteem at rock bottom.  I felt fragile, raw and broken.

What to do?  Running away seemed like a good idea.  So we did.  We went about as far as we possibly could, travelling to Europe and the UK via Dubai.  And we stayed away for as long as we could at the time –  4 months.  There was many a cafe table conversation in the sun to the tune of “if you were still at work we wouldn’t be doing this!”  It felt wonderful, especially when imagining certain people still schlepping away back at the evil empire.  I felt free, alive like I hadn’t for a long long time.

Coming home again was hard.   The evil empire was a large employer in my small town, and often in the news.  The CEO lived nearby and I had to pass his property whenever I went anywhere.  Everywhere there were reminders that I still didn’t have a job, so I wasn’t a “real” person.  Still at rock bottom.

I realized that I wasn’t going to get over this without some help, so about this time I got some therapy and that’s when I began to scrape myself back off the floor.   The realization hit me, that no matter what,  I did my  best.  I can now look back past the sadness and anger,  with the knowledge that with every ounce of my being that I honestly did do my best, and with that knowledge came the beginnings of healing.  It was only then that I could put the whole thing into perspective.  Until that point I was tossing the situation around in my mind ceaselessly looking for reasons,  and driving myself nuts.  Friends and family kept telling me I needed to move on, and forget it but I just couldn’t until I could understand and gain that much needed perspective.

Just how I did that will be the topic of my next post……

 

2017: New Year New You – how to live with happiness and #heart

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So, it’s New Year and the internet will be full of posts about New Year New You.  Gym owners will be rubbing their hands in glee because they’ll be making a year’s rent in the next month out of year long memberships used for one week in a flurry of New Year guilt.  Here in the Southern Hemisphere  we have the luxury of summer holidays coinciding with the New Year period.  Long sunny days beside the beach/river in which to dream and plot about the forthcoming year…..

Since I’ve finally figured out that my One Word is #heart it’s made the process a whole lot easier.  This year I will filter every decision past #heart.  This year I figure that if  I make 80% of my decisions from the heart I will be doing well.  In fact it should make for a very happy year and I can’t ask for more than that.

I’ve deliberately set vague goals – every time I get specific something weird happens in the Universe (technical phrase there…..) and the gremlins get in –  which happens so frequently  it’s uncanny.  Goals just aren’t working for me.  For 2017 I’m setting intentions instead.  My intentions are to grow my online audience, increase my cashflow and improve my health.  And that’s it.  Easy.  Or not – do I hear the gremlins sniggering in the background??  Any improvements at the end of the year I’ll take as a win.  And of course all of these intentions will come from my #heart.

I’ve learned something from long walks in the hills – one of my favourite things to do.    If I set out with a gentle intention of going for a walk, rather than roaring off to get “exercise” the momentum gently builds and I go far longer and faster than I originally intended.  I don’t need to thrash myself to get there I just need to relax and walk and enjoy.

So, in that spirit, here’s my advice (and what I’m doing this year):

  •  Don’t set goals, set some intentions which are important to you and come from your heart.  You’ll know them when you find them – they’ll resonate with you.
  • Pick two or three that are the most important to you and deliberately make them vague (hence achievable!)  Don’t get too strung up on lists and targets.  Just know where you want to head and aim for it.
  • If you take the long view and assess at year end any course correction appears as minor in the grand scheme of things.
  •  Don’t forget to regularly check on your intentions.  I’m sticking mine to my laptop keyboard where I’ll be constantly reminded.
  • On 1 January 2018 pat yourself on the back for all the things you DID achieve.  And yes you survived another year!