It’s been a while since I blogged and now I fear there’s too much journey story to tell.
Don’t panic dear reader I will keep this one short and stick with headlines.
Last time I posted I was in Melbourne taking care of a beautiful dog called Molly, reconnecting with my new bestie’s down under and figuring out what is ‘next’ for my life. I was experimenting with ways to travel the world, how to work remotely and generally musing with the question (that I haven’t yet answered) of how to trip elegantly off the ‘treadmill’ and make the most of my ‘third act’. Whilst talking one of the people I’m coaching, about getting clear about his ‘good life’, his requirements are simple but they do require time and a commitment to making that time available. I think that’s true for me too.
The ‘good life’ and how I plan to create it
Sweet Jilly Designs
When I got back to Bahrain from Australia I was a bit glum and rudderless and so I decided that with nothing to do and nothing to lose I would have a go at launching a fashion line. Sweet Jilly Designs is the result. If you’re a friend on Facebook you know all about this and are probably already sick of it :-).
Bottom line is that I loved that whole process and continuing with this in some shape or form will be a part of my future. Nothing I’ve done before made me feel so accomplished, I loved handling fabrics, enjoyed working with Majeed, my tailor and I absolutely LOVED selling my clothes in the pop-up shop. I also raised money for my favourite cause, The Saturday Biryani Party with Workers. Big tick.
Supporting social leaders
I was also encouraged to “stop whining” (thanks Pennie) and to apply for a job in the charity sector, “like you keep saying you want to”, she continued helpfully.
Chastened by her skilful coaching I googled ‘leadership development in the charity sector’ and applied for a job as a coach for a charity called Clore Social Leadership. I got this faster than I really wanted to, and so I found myself back in the UK in February. It’s a one year contract, coaching 24 (soon to be 36) people who all work in the social sector; people committed to making a difference. I’m learning a lot, working with exceptional people and I know how I’m making a difference. Let’s see how this develops. Big tick (if I can reinvent this a tiny bit and if they want me next year.)
Friends, travel and time
When you live abroad you make a lot of friends, some related to the shared experience of living abroad who drift away but many who are now very close friends, people who understand the ups and downs of the last 10 years. When I was away from the UK and I visited I saw everyone in a packed few days, now I’m back I’ve seen fewer of my UK friends than I expected. You know you have time to see each other so I talk about it but don’t commit to dates. Life here is busy, working full time takes up a lot of time, commuting wastes a lot of time. As my plans develop I want to find time to travel, to make time with friends more of a priority. Time has become something I think about more. I discovered a book called the Life Changing Art of not giving a F**k, here is a blog that summarises the lessons. Sarah Knight, the author is very clear that we only have so much time, energy and money to spend so we need to find a way of doing this wisely. She advises the creation of a “f**k budget” that we stick to, which is basically a list of the things that we really care about. I haven’t made the budget yet, I know that there are things I need to stop.
I was talking to my sister about my emerging plans and my capacity to waste time by not being well organised in a similar coaching style to Pennie she reminded me that I had bought Sarah Knight’s follow up book entitled Get your Shit together and suggested that I read it and then so do as suggested by the title. (thanks Sandra). Work in progress
I’ve taken a step into internet dating, so far not fruitful. Lots of people who ‘smile’ at me and who I don’t really want to smile back at but feel bad at ignoring them. It all feels very peculiar. A young colleague told me she had created strict criteria, I haven’t done this yet. I’ve had one date (no chemistry) and one guy I’ve been chatting to (mainly online ), plus a rather stilted phone call. He seemed interesting until he sent me rather too much information by way of a Whatsapp photo, I haven’t downloaded the subject of the pic is clear, even in the hazy outline. If I was to say this picture should have been entitled Whatsup you will get the general idea. Not sure of the protocol other than blocking or ignoring. Yikes out of my depth already. Note to self: Get out more.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I’m back in Bahrain to get my next collection started so I’m going to see friends and be back with the workers again.
Love to you all wherever you are. I’m grateful for your friendship, my health and the opportunity to design my Third Act.