The last time I blogged it was my birthday.
Now I knew that things were about to change in my life as I was going back into a full-time paid role and I was about to make a few life changes after pressing the re-start button but dayum! After the amount of intense work I put into developing my SpiritedStrength blog and web site that I’d launched weeks before, I hadn’t envisaged not having the head-space to come continue blogging, even at a slower rate. What a ting.
I’m writing this while I’m on a flight to Atlanta – the first time I’ve had to take a full breather for months and I’m so glad I took my laptop with me. I woke up out of a nap (watching 5 minutes of the in-flight move Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sent me deep into the land of nod), and was reflecting on the past few months then thought: blog! So here I am again. As my writing juices are erupting I’m having bursts of couldda-shouldda-wouldda – every sentence of this post really could have been a blog piece in its own right. To get things started again though, I’m going to give you lots of my new via headlines to bring you up to speed on a whirlwind tour.
What on earth have I been doing?
- Celebrated a low-key and self-affirming 43rd birthday
- Went on the most relaxing, inspiring, fun, re-invigorating retreat for Black gay men which included a surprise belated-birthday celebration. Food, fun, frolics, spirit, nature!
- Started an intensely challenging and rewarding full time, national, strategic learning & development role that is physically and mentally all-consuming yet totally enjoyable and rewarding
- Moved into the cutest studio flat complete with the shocker add-on – a shared external swimming pool = after 14.5 months of living transiently
- Started back up my Spanish studies again (still struggling like hell)
- Started my running again and gained a place in next year’s London Marathon
- Stepped up my Buddhist practice and began chanting more often
- Sent Bertie to the graveyard (my trusted old 96 reliable albeit worn ’96 banger) and started a new relationship with Isaac (a 2011 confident performing beauty) in light of my national travel. 350 miles in a day has been a regular feature of late..
Leading the way with all of this has been work. I started this 14.5 month life-transformation with my rules of engagement;
Big Chunk Principle 1: Work for an employer you’re proud to be a part of and make sure your work inspires you to get our of bed in the morning *wanting* to go to work
I knew that my profession and the level I’ve achieved meant I would always be in a role that is full-on and challenging, so I wanted to make sure that in my next one I was i) inspired by the company I worked for and where ii) I really felt I was enhancing people’s life skills and professional performance through leading strategic human development programmes. I have landed a role which provides that in abundance and don’t want to look a gift-horse in the mouth. However I’ve got to tell you the 5am rise to run before work when in London, toggled between the alternative 5am rise to travel to parts of the UK I didn’t know existed, continuous hotel stays, constant people challenges, strategic brain scratching conundrums, organisational culture shift challenges and office politics have left me with barely space to remember my name on many nights & weekends, let alone feed the other wonderful things I’d stoked up in my time away from full-time permanent work.
Which brings me to
Big Chunk Principle 2: Understand what makes you feel like you’re inspired, growing and happy- find out what it is again and DO IT. In abundance!
This pertained to my personal life. I really did get back to me in my time-out – and I loved it!!! Best ‘sabbatical’ ever! Big Chunk Principle 2 was driven by me desperately needing to have more of a work-life balance. But knowing that I’d have a job that doesn’t lean easily towards it. But that I’d fight hard to get a life. But that I’d be ok with my personal life taking a slower slice for a few months while I got myself fully settled into a new role and did the work-focus thing…My Twitter activity nose-dived, my Facebook became flying spurts only, partying died, going to the cinema ground to a halt, and the most I was able to do outside of work was the running, gym and Spanish…not great. But I’m ok with it as I can’t live in an unrealistic bubble. Work and my career are real. Big Chunk Principle 2 is still under the surface – I’ve merely allowed it to take a back seat for a SHORT while.
And here we are, Xmas/New Year holiday break and the intensity of the new job resulted in me not having a day off since I started on the 1st September 2011. I desperately need to get off the whole merry-go-round for a minute, take stock of all that is in my reach and make some smart decisions about how to achieve that balance now that all major aspects of my life are in place and wanting nurturing. I gave myself 6 months max to allow work to tip the work-life-balance scale – and I’m at the point that I need to walk further towards the middle after an intense 4 months.
Hard to tell how though – right now I’m sitting here with my plane crew – a bright fresh graduate on his way back home to
Georgia after working in Spain for 6 months, a senior citizen couple who are returning home from a missionary trip to Uganda – the couple are holding hands, reading the bible together and making conversation and gutsy quips that are cracking me up. Half of the plane is taken up with two loud missionary groups from America’s South and their banter sounds like a scene from the Alice sitcom they used to show on the telly back in my childhood – it’s giving me bare quah-quah-JOAKES! I’m feeling relaxed and comfortable on a 10-hour flight, doing my people-connection thing as always and constantly loving the energy that I get from it. I’ve been living the SpiritedStrength model:
SpiritedStrength = daily life driven by: • heart • realness • liberation • purpose • learning • happiness
with such full gusto throughout the past year and importantly, still through the up-turn of the past four months, so I’m glad in review, I’ve remained true to it. It’s a bit of a shame that I’ve not felt like sharing via my blog for a while however one of the determinations I have is to DEDICATE that space and give the dedication to unloading via my blog again in 2012 so you’ll hear my about my adventures in work and play. Truss me pan dat!
My 2011 has been so turbulent its quite overwhelming viewing it in retrospect. The week before Xmas last year I had just moved in with my brother, his wife and The Alien (my 4-year old terrorist nephew). The home I’d moved into with my ex when I rented out my flat to put the life-transformation plan into play, was not longer to be my home. The relationship that had so much potential and promise broke down. I wasn’t in full time permanent work – by design – but also admittedly with some career direction frustrations; my health was at an all time low and I was in the midst of a life-transformation that on paper looked to many like it was sinking (I saw some folks’ faces…bout you think I’m a hippy and going mad huh?!…KMT…& don’t even let me start cuss bout my ex’s outlook). In my spirit I knew my fundamental happiness goals were merely going through the wash and would come out just right. By the end of this year, everything I’d determined and took patient, focused actions towards for the past 14.5 months came out in full bloom and all of the major areas in my life are as I’ve wanted. Being in control of your karma is a great thing. That’s what I was thinking. And that’s what made me reach in the plane’s over-head locker, grab my laptop and write this piece.