A Quarter of the Way
It’s day 14 and I’m over a quarter of the way through my 50-day challenge so I thought I would reflect on my journey so far.
So what’s happened? I’ve started a blog, gone to a part of London I’ve never been, eaten sushi, eaten haggis, watched Alien, bought coffee for complete strangers and on and on. The aim of the project is to have tried something I haven’t done before each day for 50 days but there was a secondary aim; to get into the habit of blogging and to see if I can produce the required material to keep one going and if it was something I would enjoy. Well so far, it’s yes and yes. I’m really loving what I’m doing.
When I’m asked what I would do if I had all the money I needed my list includes travel and writing. To me, writing was an add-on to my life and not something I felt I could integrate with my work. I thought the only way I could write most of the time would be to get an amazing publishing deal so I could spend my winter months in a warm climate while I write. I considered my writing to be a hobby when it is in fact one of my great passions.
I would say our parents’ generation is the last that could expect a job for life, or even a career for life. But no on foresaw that so there was no warning that it would be different for us, and if there was we weren’t listening. I remember being asked as an actor aged 24 what I thought I would be doing in 10 years.
‘I’ll still be acting,’ was my response.
Not. I was working in a drop-in centre.
10 years after that I was project co-ordinator in a substance misuse commissioning team and
And now, 10 years after that, I’m a coach, a facilitator, a writer (yes, I admit it I’m a writer).
None of that was intentional, except perhaps the acting and the coaching, in between times I just went with what came along because it made sense or served me in some way, usually financially. I’ve seen this in the lives of some friends, some family and most people I coach, we called it ‘going with the flow’ or ‘doing what needed to be done.’ I’ve heard people reflect on how they started a career, got a job, built their family and stayed in that job because it pays the mortgage or because they could manage their childcare around that job or just because it was expected of them. Then they get here, to midlife, their kids are grown up, their mortgage is paid, they’re approaching that milestone birthday so they start to question the quality of their lives to date and assess their successes. Or they realise that time has raced away and they haven’t done that thing they told themselves they would do by the time they were 40. Some, if they’re brave will see this time as an opportunity to try again, to start a new chapter. Others will decide that it’s too late for them and retreat back into their lives, accepting what is. And then there will be some who want to make the changes, to do what they need to do to re-find the person with the dreams and the fire and the courage to live their passion. And that’s what I did.
A few years ago I took time out and lived in Salvador, Brazil for six months so I could write my novel. I came back to London and went back into the rat race for a year because, if I’m honest, I got scared.
So what am I learning through this challenge?
Thanks for asking. I’m learning that I can be brave, that if I set my intention by knowing what I’m going to do each day, I’m subconsciously creating the mindset of how the day will go. Some activities have challenged me more than others, a couple, the colouring day for example, seemed a bit dull on the surface but revealed an underlying area for attention like the need to remember to take time to relax. I’m also seeing myself in a new open and expanded way.
Last week, I was asked what I would do if money or time were not a factor. And I realised that I would be doing what I’m doing now; maybe the project would be on a larger, possibly more exotic scale, whatever that means.
So what I’ve also learnt in the past couple of weeks is that I can create the lifestyle I want. One that energises me enough to jump out of bed each morning. I can create it I just needed to make that choice and commit to doing whatever it takes to make it happen.
No, I don’t have a private income.
Yes I still have to work.
But work and passion don’t have to be mutually exclusive in fact if they are both necessary to be truly productive and to live authentically. I haven’t got here by myself; I couldn’t have so I’ve had many teachers and coaches who have shown me how and I would love to share that with you.