Journey of Life

the place formerly known as control your destiny

Tag Archives: Change

Countdown to a new beginning

In preparation for my soon departure for  a new life in Copenhagen, I have had to take a hard look at what I wanted to bring with me. This was a little difficult to begin with because at the back of my head this little voice kept interrupting and telling me that “one day this may come in handy” every time I picked up an item. So to begin with, the sorting process was nothing more than moving items from one place to another.

As moving date continued to creep closer, panic started to set in. Not just because of having to decide of what to bring and what to throw/give away but also because of all the other practical things that has to be sorted out like arranging final bills from utility companies such as phone, electric, water etc. All of a sudden I felt completely overwhelmed by the whole thing and I remember speaking to my Mum on the phone telling her that I was getting a little stressed by the whole thing, which she instantly saw as a sign that I had changed my mind about moving back home. I reassured her that this was not the case at all and also that I have finally realised that for the past few years I have worked very hard to convince myself or justify to myself that staying here was the right decision but in all honesty; what kept me here was fear of having to start all over again, fear of change and fear of being seen as a failure for coming home again.

I also spoke to some close friends in Denmark one of whom told me that she’d never understood why I had stayed on my own here for so long. When I told her that I had mostly stayed because I had managed to convince myself that coming back would be admitting defeat, I got a bit of a bollocking (in a nice way!) and she gave me some much needed perspective.

I then started to sort through things with a different frame of mind and with every item I sorted through, I had to ask myself whether or not I would truly miss it if I gave it away or threw it out and all of a sudden, getting rid of stuff became very easy. A couple a weeks ago I had around 350 CD’s that I was convinced I would never part with in my life. Now I have given away about 200 of them. I suspect that most people at this point would call me a complete fool for not putting them on ebay or selling them in some other way and, in their shoes, I would have no doubt reacted in a similar way. However, having to go through that whole process of selling stuff made me feel even more overwhelmed. Instead I gave the CD’s to someone who I know are very passionate about different kinds of music which to me meant they went to a good home. I did copy all of the music onto my laptop so in a sense, all I have given away is the packaging!!

All my crockery, cutlery, knives, pots and pans and my furniture has also found a new home, although they haven’t quite left yet. I have gotten rid of every item of clothing that I hadn’t worn in the past three months which also became the deciding factor for a lot of my other stuff.

I am not trying to advocate minimalism in any shape or form but for me, getting rid of stuff was a liberating (although emotional) experience and I feel lighter.

Yesterday my brother picked up the keys for my new home in Copenhagen. When I finally made the decision to go back he started looking for accommodation and every place he found appealed to me but the first two didn’t go as we might have hoped. The third one did, however, and I am so happy and grateful it did.

So far I have only seen photographs of it but I already feel at home there. I love the simplicity of the place and even more the Scandinavian feel to it that I have missed for so long but managed to suppress in my endeavour to convince myself that going back would be a failure. I am looking forward to shopping for furniture for it (the ones in the picture are the previous owner’s) and I am looking forward to making it my home. Most of all, I am looking forward to waking up, the first morning there although I may be a little confused as to where I am.

As I am writing this, my current flat/apartment is beginning to look very empty which on one hand makes me feel calm and peaceful but on the other hand makes me realise that, in less than two weeks, I will be saying goodbye to an almost 15 year chapter of my life and at this point I have absolutely no idea how to feel because I have gone through so many emotions daily and yet despite all of these emotions the underlying feeling throughout has been that I am doing the right thing. For once, I am going with my gut instinct.

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What’s the worst that could happen?

It has taken me 10 years to finally realise and admit to myself that, the only reason I chose to stay in a job I never really enjoyed doing, was to satisfy my ego by keeping a job title it could be proud of!

I started in financial services 10 years ago, not because I particularly wanted to work in this industry but a job ad persuaded me to apply and from there, I very naĩvely got myself sucked into the “promise” of making a lot of money with a title and status to match.

Reality turned out to be a hell of a lot different, at least for me, much to the disappointment of my ego who’d already planned out exactly how to spend the abundance of money soon to come our way!

What got in the way was a desire to do what I felt was ethically and morally right, even at the expense of a large commission cheque! Looking back I realise what a useless salesman I really was (and still am) especially compared to some of the people I started out with, who did manage to make a lot of money.

During my time in financial services there was an internal battle raging between my ego and my desire to do the right thing for whoever happened to be the client at the time. I went through countless sales training courses and, interestingly enough, I did extremely well within the training environment when practicing the various sales techniques but as soon as I was back in the real world I failed miserably at using any of the techniques I’d been taught because, to me, it felt manipulative and simply wrong. From a “successful” sales point of view this was to become my downfall along with my stupid and stubborn idea of treating people how I’d like to be treated!

As I am preparing to close this chapter of my life I realise that, from a sales point of view, I was a complete and utter failure – mediocre at best! However, during this time I have managed to go to sleep at the end of each day safe in the knowledge that I never sold/mis-sold anything for the sake of personal financial gain. Perhaps if I had, my life would have turned out to be a little easier for me!

Whilst the promise of abundant wealth failed to materialise (largely due to my inability to park my conscience at home) I did have an abundance of lessons thrown my way along with encounters with people I would have otherwise never experienced.

There were times at which I hoped and prayed for a better and easier life especially during the past 10 years, which has been the most difficult part of my life so far. I have no power to go back and change anything nor would I want to. I have also come to realise that everything has a price and in my case, the price for my desire to do the right thing turned out to be the loss of my job disguised in a forced resignation. However, I am inclined to think that this may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise and a much needed wakeup call for me to move on. Time will tell.

As I am approaching the final pages of this chapter of my life I am filled with mixed emotions. I am slightly anxious at the possibility of being without a job soon but at the same time there’s relief of finally breaking free from the claws that has kept me in this prison for the past 10 years.

It’s a leap into the unknown and whilst I am no fan of Dr Pepper – “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Introspection

When I first started in the financial services industry a friend told me “this is not your talent”. Those words have stuck with me ever since but at the time when he told me this, the title of “Financial Advisor” filled me my ego with pride to the extent that I paid no attention to those words and have suppressed it ever since. At least until now. Those words have come back into my awareness and I am paying a lot more attention to them now. I have come to the conclusion that he was, in fact, right 10 years ago when he told me this. It is not my talent.

I could start a journey of regretting the fact that I have wasted ten years of my life trying to suppress this fact but realise that this will do me no good whatsoever. I have learned a lot in this time (mostly the hard way) and I have finally begun to accept myself for who I am without a fancy job title to validate my own worth in this world. Whilst the need for approval still rears its ugly head from time to time, it is losing its power. I still very much shy away from conflict which I suspect is because conflict poses a potential risk of disapproval which means I still have more work to do.

As for work, I have made the decision that it’s time for a complete change from the dog eat dog world I am in now. I don’t have that attitude of being hungry for the business (a typical management phrase) nor do I want to develop that attitude in the corporate context. The job title means nothing to me anymore and I want a job in which the reward evenly matches the level of responsibility which is not the case at the moment. I want a job where I can switch off when I go home with enough energy left over to focus on finding a way to support myself through writing, art and web design (and whatever else I can add to this list). I know this will take time and this is fine. I have woken up to the fact that there are no “get rich quick” schemes around, unless of course you win the lottery. It is not even riches I am chasing. I just want enough to support myself without having to face the slavery of 9-5.

I know I have a lot to learn which is fine too. I like learning and now that I have let go of the urgency of getting to the finishing line, I can take my time with it while enjoying the process.

I often day dream of a life in which I am supporting myself through working from home doing something that feels joyful and worthwhile and at the same time provides value to others.

I dream of a nice little house by the sea where I can write away while looking at the ocean. I suspect that this kind of view could easily serve as a distraction but I am willing to take that risk.

I have noticed how my views on life have changed, specifically in recent years. I remember a time when material possessions (the big house, flashy cars, all the latest gadgets etc) and social status were goals I dreamed of achieving, hoping that one day it would all become a reality. Now I am more interested in a life where I have the freedom to work on my terms and according to my values and beliefs. I realise that this level of freedom has a price tag that at this point I don’t have the financial resources to acquire. However, this doesn’t stop my desire to work towards it. I also realise that I am still very much depending on employed work and i am sure that once I find a job without the level of pressure I am currently experiencing, I will have more energy left over to be able to work towards this dream.

I am also starting to see the benefits of a more frugal lifestyle where less is more. I have stopped accumulating stuff since I moved back to Oxford and now and again I still feel the need to have a clear out after which I always feel more relaxed and at peace with my surroundings.

It’s funny just how quickly I have grown to love the act of writing. Or has this love for writing always been there? Did I suppress it in my quest to fit in with society? I remember when I was around 6 or 7. I would spend hours in my room pretending I was writing my own newspaper. This was before computers became part of our everyday lives, so I was hacking away on an old typewriter I had borrowed from my Gran. I loved the sound of it and loved watching the words appearing on the paper. It didn’t matter if I was copying the words from an actual newspaper or if I was making it up myself. It was the process and the act of doing it that brought me joy and this is very much the case today. Now I am writing on a laptop but I still enjoy the sound of the keys on the keyboard and seeing the words appear on the screen. Whether or not I suppressed the love for writing for so long is of no importance anymore. I have reconnected with it and it makes me feel good.

Had someone told me 5 or 6 years ago that I would spend the majority of my spare time writing I would not have believed it. That said I did spend a great deal of time creating music which gave me a huge sense of enjoyment and I could happily spend hours doing it regardless of the end result. I gave up on the dream of becoming a musician when I realised that I would never have the courage to actually perform in front of anybody and in truth, I never had the desire to perform anyway. It is the creative process that I really enjoy and it’s the same with writing. It is the actual act of doing it that provides the enjoyment.

There’s still a practical/logical part of me that keeps telling me not to waste my time thinking and dreaming that some day it may lead to more than just a re-discovered passion or hobby. I try my best not to pay attention to this voice and I know he is the part of me that fears change. I am also beginning to understand that he is the one often causing self doubt with the question of how.

I have not got the answers to all of the “hows” but I do know some of the basics required to at least make a start.

  • Conceptually I know how affiliate stuff works and whilst I have yet to fully grasp this, I think this may have a big part to play, at least to begin with.
  • I know I have the ability to write in a way people can relate to, at least to some extent
  • I am good at coming up with ideas but need to learn to follow through on these and not give up at the first hurdle
  • I can design a website from scratch and make it look good. (Well! At least I think so.)

I still have a lot to learn in term of turning a website/blog into a format from which I can generate enough to support myself and I know this will be a journey of work and effort on my part. However, I am beginning to question whether or not I am using a tunnel vision approach in that income can come from a multitude of avenues and does not have to be restricted to just a blog or site. Maybe this is the kind of mindset one develops after too much time in employed work!

I am not expecting anything to happen overnight and I am going to take it slowly.

The point is that writing really is something that, in a lot of ways, have saved me from complete insanity. Even as I am writing this now do I feel more peaceful and grounded than before I started. My shoulders and my neck is aching a bit from having sat in the same position for the past hour as I have been writing this and yet I am still going. Also, I have not noticed the passing of the last hour nor have I felt distracted. To be so engrossed in something that time and space is of no importance, to me, is just pure joy. This is why I want to escape from the prison of 9-5. This is what makes me smile and what makes my heart sing. This is my why.

If you are still with me…Thank you for listening

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