It’s probably a bit of a sad reflection on my life that, about 7.45 am every Monday when I walk into the office, I ask a colleague: ‘is it Friday yet?’.
Shortly after asking the question, I regularly observe that we spend more than half of our lives, wishing life away. Monday through Thursday we look to Friday (and to the precious Saturday and Sunday), going through the motions of living a life, working or studying or parenting, but not really focusing on the now… we’re always focusing on the weekend or the next holiday or grand event or, occasionally, counting the days until some undesirable event passes.
And so, over the last few months, I’ve realised just how valuable it is to love your work (or your study or your parenting or whatever) and how soul sucking it is when you let someone steal from you your love for what you do. That’s been me for the last 12 months.
On top of that, this year I’ve had parents who’ve both been quite ill (my mother is extraordinary, having just beaten her FOURTH bout of cancer), a sister who decided to chuck in her job without a backup plan (always have a backup plan peeps!), a brother who is about to be made redundant, various other family members who are or have been unwell, a non-smoking colleague who died of lung cancer at 34, another direct report who struggled with the passing of her stepfather, a friend who lost a very close family friend and various other little niggling annoyances that have just added to the almost disaster that has been 2015.
I’m sure, if I asked an astrologer or a psychic, that there’d be a reason for the crazy but, to be frank, I’m not sure I want to know. And there have also been lots of great things happen this year (although this list is a little harder to write). But every day I’ve gotten out of bed and shown up to work I’ve asked that same colleague (she must be SO bored with me!) ‘is it Friday yet?’
One of those great things this year (aside from my mum beating cancer #4) was a trip to Edinburgh and getting to spend some time with my eldest niece. During that trip I was moaning about my life to my niece over some stellar cocktails at the Shard… and my niece told me to pull my head out of my ass (not quite in those words, but that was the effect). So I started a workshop writing course and I hoped that would give me a bit of a new lease on life. Sadly, it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love the course but it didn’t make up for going to work every day at a large corporate, dealing with the politics and feeling like I was banging my head against the massive concrete pillar that sits just behind my desk. I feel like I beat my head against that pillar so much that I occasionally check my forehead for bruises… but, I digress.
Finally, on one day in September, I decided I’d had enough.
I remember that day well, it was the day after my birthday and the day my boss decided to dump a whole lot of vague negative feedback on me and let me stew on it for two and a half weeks while she went on holidays. I remember sitting in a meeting room for about 10 minutes after she left, teary, feeling absolutely blindsided and wondering what she was talking about. And, just a sidenote here peeps, my day job is in HR and, to be frank, HR people should know better. No surprises people, no surprises!
That very same afternoon I started looking for a new job. And, yay me, it took me one day over six weeks (suck on that boss lady!) to be offered a new role. Come December 2015, I’ll be in a new position, with a new employer and I just know I’m going to love it. I’ll be doing what I’m great at, in a place of learning and curiosity, with some great people. And, while I might have had to take a pay cut (which is probably fair given I won’t be managing eight people anymore!) I’ll have more time to write. Yippee!
Now, you might be wondering why I’ve just given you a massive rant on my life.
This year, with so many loved ones being ill and my career taking a brief divergence into WTF land, it’s become really clear to me that life is too short. We all say it, we all know it but we don’t often live it.
So, I’m here to ask you to stop wishing your life away. Enjoy every step on your journey. Take time on a Monday to smell the roses. Take a sushi making or ceramics class on a Tuesday. Spend time with your loved ones on Wednesday (if appropriate, you may want to actually hump a loved one on hump day). Do something special for yourself on a Thursday. Stop waiting for Friday or Saturday or Sunday to arrive before you live your life.
And, with these words of limited wisdom, I leave you. I’m going to get myself a coffee and start working on my WIP. But I’d love to hear from you. What incident or issue in your life has made you sit up and take notice that life is passing you by? What special things or experiences do you value in your life? What do you do for fun?!
Photos (of the office, the stellar cocktails and the steps…) are all mine.