As the start of my second week in my new job dawned, I was determined to hit the ground running. I went to bed reasonably early (not something I am usually very good at) and awoke refreshed and ready to face the day. I battled the traffic and managed to arrive at my desk in good time. Yay me! No sooner had I made my morning coffee, than the lights went out. Power cut.
It came back after about an hour, so at least we weren’t sitting in the dark (a tiny bit awkward with virtual strangers,) but there was a further delay before our IT systems recovered. I started to become irritated by the interruption. I had a to do list as long as the M50. Besides, even though we were all in the same boat, I didn’t want to seem like I was wasting time.
The frustration quickly melted into amusement as I couldn’t help smile at the irony. It served as a timely reminder that try as we might, we cannot control everything. There will always be times that despite the best laid plans, everything goes tits up.
As the year draws to a close, I always like to reflect on the past 12 months. This morning’s outage pretty much sums up the entire year for me. 2018 has been one false start after another. It has been tempting at times to throw my hands up and shout “what’s the bloody point?” It has taken no small amount of effort to pick myself and dust myself off.
In the words Kipling, of one of my favourite poets,
“If you can make one heap of all your winnings, and risk it on one turn of pitch and toss, and lose, and start again at your beginnings, and never breathe a word about your loss.”
When you think about it, that is exactly what happens when you look for a new job. You accumulate all your experience and skills, your winnings, and risk it in the hopes of obtaining something better. You sacrifice your security, and your comfort and take a giant leap into the unknown. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, my career hasn’t been the only tumultuous part of my life in recent months. I am very much the type of person who needs stability and routine. If one area of my life is in discord, the rest of it will inevitably follow suit.
I am loath to admit the amount of weight I have put on since this time last year. My fitness levels have also taken a huge back slide. In all honesty, I am very much looking forward to January and the natural reset point it always brings.
As I write this, I have a plan in place to get myself back to a level of fitness that I can be happy with. Tomorrow evening, I am joining a Crossfit gym. I know it probably sounds crazy to start a health kick Christmas week, but I have been putting this off long enough. Plus, I know if I delay it any further, chances are I will talk myself out of it.
It can be difficult when not only have you failed to make progress, but you have actually gone backwards, not to feel like a failure. It is hard not to look back with rose tinted glasses, to a time when you were slimmer, fitter or just generally had it more together. However, if there is one thing I have learned, it is that there are peaks and valleys in life. Progress is definitely non-linear.
With a shiny New Year on the horizon, I take comfort in the fact that I have a plan in place, and that I have walked this road before. I know that following in old footsteps is always easier than trying to forge a new path.
Another lesson that is beginning to take root is that I am not my weight. I am not my dress size or my body fat percentage. Neither am I the job title I hold or my bank account balance. Of course, it is easy to “know” these things on a rational level. It is another thing entirely to actually feel it.
I spent more than three decades allowing these things to define me. So much so that when I was unemployed, albeit briefly, I was surprised that people still wanted to be around me. They sought me out and looked to me for my opinion. They asked me for help and tasked me with projects. The value they placed in me wasn’t tied up in my employment status. Why then did I allow a temporary career set back to impact my confidence levels so profoundly?
I know it’s hackneyed, but I firmly believe that things to happen for a reason. Events of the recent past are not far enough behind me yet, for me to have perspective in my rear-view mirror. Their lessons will only begin to take shape in time. In the meantime, I am very hopeful about the future. I eagerly anticipate a few months of relative calm in which to get to work on myself.
In truth, we never know what is around the corner. As prepared and ready as we think we are, there is always something which could potentially upset our little apple cart on the horizon. All we can do is keep going. Keep putting one foot in front of the other in the general direction of our goals. Keep hoping the lights don’t go out. Be well xxx