Monday, 23 November 2015

New Normal

It's now just over six months since I had my triple coronary bypass operation and coming up to three months since I was made redundant. In what was already going to be a momentous year for me and the family (Mandy's 60th Birthday, Natasha's Graduation, Our 30th Wedding Anniversary and my own impending 60th Birthday), these two sudden and unexpected events have brought me up short and made me question what I do, how I do it and - critically - why I do it.

Unsurprisingly, it has taken all of these six months to get my head (and my heart) into and around these questions. In many respects, I have been given several gifts - more time, better health, incredible support, counselling and reflective space being just some of them - so I have not felt the need or the impetus to get back to the busy. In slow time, I have tried to shift my thinking from what do I NOT want to do any more (it's quite a long list!) to what really matters to me and what I want my 'New Normal' to be in the time I have left.
Truth to tell, having experienced the rest and peace that these six months have afforded me, I can visualise - and would be quite happy to start - retirement. Financially, that's not an option quite yet. But what is emerging looks like an initial 5-year Plan followed by another 20 years which will mostly be about standing on roundabouts, shouting at traffic...

Received wisdom nowadays is that 60 is not a great age to find oneself out of work and looking to find more. But here's where 'Niall's New Normal' has already kicked in; I'm not stressing or worrying myself about it. Life is - literally - too short to do that any more.

Things happen for a reason. Things present themselves when you are open to allowing them to so do. The Universe offers opportunities that you will miss if you're not paying attention, if you're not listening, if you're not present - if you're too busy trying to get back to how things were (and what caused the problem/s in the first place). Letting go and endings are as much a part of moving forward as are shaping futures.

As I have been clarifying my thinking about those futures and how I want to operate, how I feel about 'stuff' and how I think I can be useful, events have opened up which have been relevant and attuned to those thoughts. I have finally caught up with Jamil Quereshi's talk at September's 'LearningLive' conference. Much of what he said resonates strongly for me - particularly about changing thinking to change feeling to change action and how important it is for our lives to have meaning and purpose. I have been able to participate in several other conference, learning and networking events recently, mostly through my Personal Learning Network, professional associations and social media communities, all of which have spoken to me in significant and timely ways of how I can be in #newnormal - and out of these interactions are starting to emerge potential professional opportunities, none of which involve having a full-time, role and salary-defined responsibility, but which could be autonomous, developmental, fun and rewarding. That seems to me to be a good start for now...

Watch this space!