At each stage of our lifespan we are presented with the opportunity to change. These changes are different for each of us, and as we grow older, change is often accompanied by loss.
I’m about to lose my job. It’s a long story, but the Reader’s Digest version is that I work for a large, British NGO in London that just lost a big chunk of its government funding.
As a result of that decision, my entire department is being shut down at the end of July.
After you’ve been through a personal disaster there is usually an upside. It’s the time when you have regained your equilibrium and understood that you learned important lessons. You start making new and better decisions and feel proud that you made it through.
Freeze frame your life. Ask yourself if you are living the life you deserve and want. Don’t tell me your answer yet. Tell yourself that answer.
If you know the nursery rhyme story of Jack Sprat and his wife, then you have an idea of the relationship my wife of 44 years, Judy, and I have. If you’re not familiar with the child’s poem, here is the first stanza:
The desert spreads out below me as I pick my way on the rocky trail. Yesterday’s deep purple of Chinese lantern flowers lining the path has changed to soft lavender phacelia and bright orange mallow.
Life at the speed of two miles an hour lets me retrieve the names of plants buried in the recesses of my brain since last summer’s hikes.
I attended Columbia Business School for one week in 1983. I learned all I needed to know.
Always have an escape plan.
I know, it’s not easy starting over later in life, especially if it wasn’t what you had planned, or you have had an unexpected setback. It may even feel like the end of the world.
How does someone unimagine your job for you? To put it simply: they fire you, downsize you, lay you off (what does that mean exactly?), outsource you, or let you go (where did I go?).
In many ways, baby boomers have a lot to be thankful for. After all, on paper, we are the wealthiest generation of all time. We are also destined to live longer than any generation before us.